Monday, September 14, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Area effort aims to halt drift into dropout ranks
The Kansas City Star, Kansas City, MO - September 11, 2009
When people gather this month to contemplate the area toll from so many high school dropouts, they are going to meet Vanessa Camacho. The 20-year-old embodies so many of the complexities that make understanding and numbering dropouts a vexing problem. Camacho was drifting away from school long before anyone counted her as lost. And, like many dropouts, she is just one step away from pulling herself out of their ranks. In a series of public forums, Kansas City’s Youth Advocacy Office is using grant funding from the national America’s Promise Alliance to build toward an area summit on dropout prevention.

Polk Program Gives Drop-Outs Another Try for Diploma
The Ledger, Lakeland, FL - September 13, 2009
A new program by the Polk County School District is working to get high school dropouts to drop back in. The Drop Back In Academies, owned and operated by the private company Alternatives Unlimited Inc., give students who have dropped out or are at-risk of dropping out of traditional schools a chance to still earn their high school diploma.

School officials drop in on dropouts
El Paso Times, El Paso, TX – September 13, 2009
Denise Reyes was stunned speechless when Operation Outreach came calling Saturday morning. Her mother was caught off guard and in her pajamas. Reyes, 17, was a little overwhelmed when the mayor, the school district superintendent, some district employees, five television cameramen and four reporters showed up on her doorstep. She was one of 80 school dropouts who were targeted Saturday by Operation Outreach, an effort to get young people back into the classroom to finish their high-school educations.

Juvenile Justice

Juvenile justice department project in Anderson about 'more than a bench'
Independent Mail, Anderson, SC – September 12, 2009
Brittany Allewine was 5 when her father was killed. “He was electrocuted when a machine he was working on touched an overhead power line,” said Allewine, now 16, on Saturday. “So, I guess I know a little bit about what hard times are. Losing my Daddy was hard.” Allewine was one of about 20 young people who participated Saturday in a service project of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice office in Anderson County. The project included the building and placing of two benches at bus stops in Anderson County and the coordination of a clothes closet for those in need of free clothes.

DJJ puts youngsters to work
The Index-Journal, Greenwood, SC – September 13, 2009
There are lessons to be learned through volunteerism and giving back to the community. It’s a lesson young people across the state learned on Saturday, as the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice put on a statewide service project called "Restoring Carolina Through Youth Service.” In Greenwood, youth participated in a food drive at the Food Lion on South Main Street, collecting canned goods and other food items, which will be donated to the Food Bank.

Forum to focus on at-risk girls
The Republican, Springfield, MA – September 8, 2009
Educators, social workers, service providers and anyone who interacts with at-risk girls are invited to the fifth annual "Through Her Eyes: The Experience of Girls and the Juvenile Justice System" conference. The event, with a theme this year of "Empowering Girls Through Social Change," focuses on how to best meet the needs of female juvenile offenders in Western Massachusetts. It's scheduled to take place Oct. 8 at the MassMutual Center.

Foster Care

'Uncle Roger's' tutoring program improves foster children's skills
DesMoines Register, Des Moines, IA – September 12, 2009
Elisha Hobbs graduated from a Des Moines high school with a 3.5 grade-point average. But her reading skills were at a fifth-grade level and her math skills were even lower, according to tests by a private tutor. The holes in Hobbs' education were discovered by a Des Moines activist who is investing thousands of dollars of his own money to pay for professional tutoring in reading, writing and math so foster teens like Hobbs can go to college if they choose.

Lawyers sought to help Southwest Florida children
News-Press, Florida – September 11, 2009
In Florida courts for abused and neglected children, attorneys represent the Department of Children and Families, the Guardian ad Litem, and parents, but rarely is one there just for the child. Judge James Seals, who presides over Lee County’s dependency court, and Alicia Guerra, supervising attorney for the local guardian program, which provides court advocates for children, are trying to recruit pro-bono lawyers for children with complex legal issues and teenagers aging out of foster care. “There are certain times where children do need to have a lawyer, and no one’s available,” Seals said. “The state does not provide lawyers for children like they do for parents.”

DSS worker excels to help others in foster care
The Sun News, Chester, SC – September 8, 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. She helps kids in the same office where she once was a name in a case file in the community of Chester.

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