Monday, September 21, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Modesto volunteers push staying in school
The Modesto Bee, Modesto, CA – September 20, 2009
More than 125 volunteers took to the streets of south and west Modesto on Saturday morning in the city's first education walk. Splitting up into small groups, volunteers knocked on several hundred doors. Organizers hoped the person-to-person Diploma in Every Hand Walk would motivate youth to stay in school and graduate high school.

School Drop-outs Get Home Visits, College Station, TX – September 17, 2009
Community volunteers spoke with 50 students and their parents during the second "Stay In School Blitz". Since 2007, Bryan and College Station and Texas A&M employees, have teamed up with Bryan Independent School District employees. Some of the volunteers are part of the Bryan/College Station Family Solutions, which is the organization that jump started the blitz in October 2007. Thursday volunteers loaded buses and visited several Bryan neighborhoods to encourage middle and high school drop-outs not to give up on their education. Students who decide to go back to school attend Flexible High School in Bryan. For many students going back to school is a life-changing experience.

A solution to a tough problem
The Sun Chronicle, Attleboro, MA – September 21, 2009
Kerry Chemelowski never attended a regular high school, but the city resident can now call himself a graduate. Thanks to a federal grant, area school dropouts have a new option to help them get the equivalent of a high school diploma and a foot in the door for a job or college.

Juvenile Justice

Why Reforming the Juvenile-Justice System Is So Hard
Time, New York, NY – September 16, 2009
Among the kids, it was known as Rug Burn City, a reference to the injuries they sustained when guards at the Gossett juvenile prison in upstate New York routinely pinned young offenders face down on the carpeted floor. The restraints were supposed to be an infrequent last resort, but according to a damning recent Justice Department report, they ended up being used regularly as part of a culture of intimidation and control, sometimes for the slightest infractions, such as speaking out of turn, slamming doors and not properly making a bed. It may not be easy, but reform advocates like Gladys Carrion, who took over as commissioner of the state's nearly $4 billion Office of Children and Family Services at the start of 2007, think they know what the broader solution is: changing the culture of a juvenile-justice system that currently uses a correctional model — detaining youth in facilities with varying degrees of security up to prison-like settings — to one more focused on treating the traumas at the root of their bad behavior.

Rick Braziel: The time to act is before the dropout gets arrested
The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA – September 21, 2009
Classrooms around Sacramento are coming back to life as the summer winds down and a new school year begins. As parents, we all have big goals for our children, and a good education is the foundation needed to realize many of those dreams. Beyond the fiscal impact, studies have shown that increasing graduation rates by 10 percentage points would prevent 22 homicides and more than 1,100 aggravated assaults in Sacramento County each year. The importance of a high school education cannot be overstated. Fortunately, a lot can be done to bring dropout rates down. First, kids who start school ready to learn are much less likely to fall behind and off track.

Choice bus teaches importance of staying in school
Rockingham News, Rockingham County, VA – September 21, 2009
Monique is 19 years old. Her home consists of a hard, cold cot and a toilet/sink combo. She’s told when she can sleep and when she can eat, and last week, local middle and high school students had the opportunity to briefly step inside her world. Monique is a real-life prisoner whose story is featured in the Choice Bus program, a reality check program that gives students an inside look at the consequences they could face if they quit school.

Foster Care

Reinventing the McMansion
Time - September 28, 2009
What do we do with our McMansions now? The housing market may be showing signs of life, but it's mostly limited to modest homes. The 4,000-, 5,000- and 6,000-square-footers — the ones that dot the landscape of countless American suburbs, replete with vaulted foyers and Palladian windows — are still finding precious few takers. But maybe that's O.K., because the Great McMansion Repurposing has begun. In Idaho, the nonprofit Housing Company is looking for a 4,000- or 5,000-sq.-ft. house to turn into a home for kids aging out of foster care.

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