Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Former high school dropout heads to UC Berkeley on full scholarship
San Mateo County Times, San Mateo, CA – June 13, 2009
High school dropouts who get addicted to drugs and mixed up in gangs typically don't wind up attending UC Berkeley on a full scholarship. But Alex Alex Garcia has dedicated his life to defying the odds against him. Four years ago, when he was 20, Garcia was sitting in the San Mateo County jail for the sixth time, headed to prison, when a guard told him he would amount to nothing. These painful words made Garcia determined to turn his life around. He was fortunate to enough to avoid prison, and instead was released into a drug-rehabilitation transition house in Redwood City. Last month his life took another positive turn when he received the national Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

District aiming to curb dropouts
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Pulaski County, AR – June 14, 2009
The Pulaski County Special School District is planning to use about $1 million in federal stimulus money to establish a Jacksonville-based academy for ninth-graders who have failed a grade and are in jeopardy of dropping out.

High school, the sequel: Adult ed grads wiser, grateful, career-ready
Las Vegas Sun, Las Vegas, NV – June 15, 2009
High school dropout rates are tied to a community’s economic outlook. The bleaker the forecast, the more likely that students quit school to help their families pay the bills. This high school graduation season, something else is at work. Although Clark County School District officials say they’re seeing a steady increase in students who have left their traditional high school to care for younger siblings or find work, at the same time more adults have returned to school to improve their chances of finding employment in a tough job market. The district’s Adult Ed program is responding, offering classes from dawn to dusk in more than 40 locations, including at Desert Rose Adult High School, the program’s only bricks-and-mortar campus.

Juvenile Justice

Intervention leads to drop in juvenile cases
Greenwich Time, Hartford, CT – June 11, 2009
Early intervention into the lives of troubled children has resulted in a 30 percent decrease in juvenile justice cases over the last four years, according to a new report that credits community services and increased departmental cooperation on the state level. The report, released Wednesday by the National Juvenile Justice Network and the Bridgeport-based Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, says that, since a class-action lawsuit was settled in 1997, Connecticut has made massive changes and is now a national model for reform.

Alameda County Pioneers Restorative Justice for Youth
New America Media, Berkeley, CA – June 15, 2009
Members of the circle arrived one by one on a recent Friday evening at the Berkeley home of Leavy Perkins. She is the great grandmother of Dante Green, and had raised the young man from infancy. Green, 19, was the reason they’d converged, and he greeted them with a smile and warm hug before the members took seats around Perkins’ dining juveni table. The Circle of Support and Accountability—COSA--that gathered at Perkins' home has been meeting weekly for the past six months, beginning when Green was a juvenile offender locked up in Camp Sweeney, a juvenile detention facility.

Foster Care

Savings plan benefits teens leaving foster care
USA Today, Bay City, MI – June 14, 2009
Rob Hilla entered foster care at age 12 after his mother left the family and the quadriplegic uncle who took him in died. At 14, he got into trouble and spent time in the juvenile justice system. Now 22, he says, "I've been able to turn my life around." He moved from his hometown of Detroit, where street life tempted him, to Bay City, Mich., where he has worked as a restaurant cook and a house painter. He's taking college classes in auto repair. He's also building a nest egg. Three years ago, he joined a program for current and former foster children, ages 14 to 24, that matches every dollar he saves up to $1,000 a year.

Milpitas students rally to help foster youth join graduation ceremony
Mercury News, Milpitas, CA – June 11, 2009
Students at Milpitas High School have begun a mass mobilization to fight for the right of a fellow student to walk in Saturday's graduation ceremony. After reading on MercuryNews.com Wednesday evening about Shontale Taylor — a foster youth who, unlike most of her peers, is poised to complete high school but has been denied the right to participate in the ceremony — a fellow student took action. Stanford-bound Ivy Nguyen, who didn't know Taylor, launched a Facebook campaign on her behalf and by 10 p.m. had reached 100 current and former students.

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