Monday, September 20, 2010

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


The Christian Science Monitor, Houston, TX – September 11, 2010
As back-to-school season gets into full swing, Houston students who aren’t back can expect an early morning knock on the door Saturday. It might be the mayor, the superintendent, or a group of volunteers showing up at the door, and they’ll know exactly which credits a student needs and a variety of options for how to get them.

Times-News, Jerome, ID – September 13, 2010
The 22 chairs in the computer lab were empty on Tuesday but Gary Dalton’s dreams for future students filled the room the way books and papers are shoved into high school lockers.  “I’ve never met a student I didn’t like,” the 62-year-old “J” Center teacher said, a big grin on his face.  Chosen to be the guide and teacher for the newest piece of Jerome School District’s’s Northside Junior/Senior High School, Dalton has worked with credit-recovery students for the past two years and taught English for 20 years.  He said the alternative school is for those 20 years or younger who didn’t finish high school and want to recapture credits in a nontraditional way — something he said isn’t necessarily akin to “straight little rows.”

The Republic, Indianapolis, IN – September 12, 2010
High school dropouts and those at risk of dropping out could get their diplomas and a jump on college through a new charter school in Indianapolis.  The Excel Center is a product of Goodwill Education Initiatives, a nonprofit branch of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana. It targets students ages 18 to 22, but those enrolled in the first class of about 300 range in age from 16 to the mid-50s.  Students attend classes when their schedules permit, such as evenings or on Saturdays, and can take classes online.

Juvenile Justice

Dothan Eagle, Dothan, AL – September 19, 2010
It’s not always the right choice to follow the popular crowd.  Twelve-year-old Jennifer Coleman recently learned the importance of picking your friends as a teenager as part of a 10-week program at the Alfred Saliba Family Services Center called Parent Project and Positive Action.  Unlike the rest of her classmates, Coleman volunteered with her parents to enroll in the course.

The Crime Report, Chicago, IL – September 14, 2010
Steve Eiseman, 57, who just retired as deputy chief probation officer of the Chicago’s Cook County Juvenile Court, developed programs that have been considered models for other juvenile justice systems, says the Chicago Tribune. The Jump-Start initiative, started in 2000, helps teenagers from 16 to 18 who have dropped out of high school or are on the verge of doing so. About 4,000 juveniles are on probation or supervision at any given time and no more than 5 percent will finish high school. To combat such grim statistics, teens in Jump-Start are immersed for 10 weeks in interactive classroom activities — taught by specially trained probation officers — to build reading, math and social studies skills.

Foster Care

The Herald, Monterey County, CA – September 13, 2010
A few months shy of her 18th birthday, Christina Leon confided in her school counselor about the abuse she was facing at home.  The counselor referred Christina and her mother to social services. The day of their appointment, Christina's mother dropped her off and told the social worker, "I don't want her anymore. You deal with her now."  Thus began Christina's brief and bumpy road in the foster care system, one that ended in February, when she turned 18. The California Fostering Connections Act would extend foster care help to young people until they turn 21, a bill that received strong bipartisan support in the Legislature and is waiting on the governor's desk for his signature. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has until the end of the month to sign or veto the measure.

Gross Pointe Today, Michigan – September 18, 2010
Judge Maura Corrigan is on a campaign in this political season, but it has nothing to do with getting re-elected.  For years the Supreme Court Justice has traveled the state trying to raise awareness of the crisis in foster care in Michigan. Now she is teaming with the Save Our Children Coalition and the Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care to get the message out.  Judge Corrigan, of Grosse Pointe Park, will speak at the first meeting of the East Side Regional meeting of the Faith Communities Coalition on Foster Care Thursday, Sept. 30 from 7 to 8 p.m. at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, 16 Lakeshore Drive in the Farms. St. Paul Catholic Church is also involved in urging concerned citizens to attend the meeting.

Memphis Flyer, Memphis, TN – September 16, 2010
An abandoned bank building is rarely considered a sign of progress, but a former First Tennessee branch in South Memphis will soon become just that.  A partnership between First Tennessee, the South Memphis Alliance, and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative will turn the building into the Dream Seekers Center, where "aged-out" foster youth can find shelter, support, and the resources to start living on their own.

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