Tuesday, September 08, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Communities in Schools battles dropout epidemic
Houston Chronicle, Houston, TX – September 2, 2009
Back to school — three words that conjure memories of anxious moments about a new teacher, football games, crowded lunch rooms and hallways crowded with jostling students. At Communities In Schools Houston (CIS), back to school has a much deeper meaning. Placed on school campuses throughout Houston, dedicated CIS staff and volunteers work with children at the greatest risk of dropping out of school in order to remove obstacles to learning. Some kids face daunting challenges such as having an incarcerated parent or teen pregnancies, while other kids might just need a little extra support in school or a positive adult role model.

Taco Bell Raises $1.8 Million to Fund Teen Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs
Reuters, Irvine, CA – September 2, 2009
Taco Bell raised $1.8 million in a one-day nationwide fundraiser held in April to benefit Taco Bell Foundation for Teens and their key partner and beneficiary, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. More than 2 million customers visited Taco Bell restaurants on April 23rd to participate in the fundraiser. Franchisees and company-owned restaurants pledged 15 percent of the day's gross sales to help further the Foundation's mission of raising awareness for the graduation crisis, and supporting programs at Boys & Girls Clubs designed to help at-risk teens. The money pledged from the fundraiser will help enhance and expand the national Keystone initiative, the largest and most dynamic teen program within Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Keystone Clubs help young people ages 14-18 become productive citizens and leaders by focusing on three key areas: Academic Success, Career Exploration and Community Service. Since 1995, Taco Bell Foundation for Teens estimates its programs have helped more than 500,000 teens stay in school and on the path to graduation.

Juvenile Justice

Justice Department Announces $129 Million in Awards to Support Youth Mentoring
Reuters, Washington, DC – September 2, 2009
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today announced more than $129 million in Recovery Act and Fiscal Year 2009 funds have been awarded for mentoring services to help prevent at-risk youth from becoming involved in delinquency. The grants will also preserve and create jobs throughout the United States. "The Recovery Act has allowed us to invest further in the future of today's youth by providing mentoring opportunities to help children reach their full potential," said Attorney General Holder. "These grants will help steer young people away from criminal activities by providing them with healthy life alternatives, positive role models and direct contact with caring adults."

Kids, Courts and Schools Conference looks at ways to help at-risk youth
Mt. Vernon Register-News, Mt. Vernon, IL – September 3, 2009
As cuts in funding may have reduced the money for programs that help at-risk youth, what didn’t get reduced are the number of youth that need intervention and the programs. The 16th Annual Kids, Courts and Schools Conference will target ways to prevent juvenile delinquency and ways to help troubled teens become responsible adults. The conference will be held Oct. 1 at Rend Lake Resort & Conference Center at the Wayne Fitzgerald Park in Whittington.

"Step Up" Program Helps Students Get Back On Track
ABC Alaska News, Anchorage, AK – September 4, 2009
Known for its high drop out rates, the City of Anchorage has developed a program aimed at keeping students in school, as well as on track. This year, ASD has teamed up with Juvenile Justice and the city to develop the program called “Step Up”. Instead of going to a correctional facility or continuation program, “Step Up” gives students another chance to stay motivated towards school and earn credits, eventually working there way back into the Anchorage School District.

Foster Care

From DSS custody to DSS worker, this Chester lady comes full circle
Herald Online, Chester, SC – September 6, 2009
Kiki Hopkins doesn't just tell kids and young parents at Chester County's Department of Social Services what can be done to succeed. She lived it herself. Long before Ki'Juana “Kiki” Madry Hopkins worked at DSS helping kids as a child protection case worker, she was one of the children in DSS foster care. When her name was Kiki Madry, and she was a seventh-grader in the 1980s, her mother went to jail after drug problems. Kiki, youngest of three kids, and her older sister lived in foster homes and group homes. Now, Kiki is a college graduate working on her master's degree.

Mentors help foster children
Herald Tribune, Sarasota, FL – September 3, 2009
The always-expanding Next Step program has helped teenagers like Mercades Kennedy, 18, enter adulthood with its mentoring and tutoring services. "It was wonderful," Kennedy says of the experience transitioning out of foster care. "I couldn't wait to get my own place and not have people over me trying to make decisions." Mentor groups consist of mental health, legal, financial, education or business professionals who are available as a support system for two years.

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