AT RISK YOUTH
Poor academic performance, negative peer relationships, trouble with
the authority, self-destructive behavior, substance abuse—all these are
telltale signs of an at-risk youth.
Often, this problem is a
consequence of several other negative factors, such as poor living
conditions at home, social discrimination, bad influences, or even
brought about by internal issues such as depression, anxiety, low self
Early intervention is critical to help an at-risk youth. If left
untreated, the problem will persist into adulthood and it will greatly
affect his or her later life. If you are a parent looking for a way to
help your teenager who is at-risk, WE can help you.
Working With At-Risk Youth
It's easy to see how many young people fall into
the at-risk category.
The availability of drugs and alcohol, the easy
access to motor vehicles and the internet, rave parties and the like
provide teens with a host of opportunities to get into trouble.
apart from the tragic human cost, politicians and others can see the
economic cost of damaged youth.
Putting At Risk Children on the Right Track
There is more than one way to make a soup. Similarly, there are many
ways you can do to help put a wayward child back on track.
At risk youth are unlike most troubled youth, that most of them are
misguided youth who needed lots of support, encouragement and the right
blend of opportunities that will coax them back on track. How do you
help an at risk child?
Building significant, positive and sustained relationships
One major shortcoming when dealing with an at risk youth is the
inability of caretakers, teachers, and even their parents to have a
significant, positive and sustained relationship with them. And this is
without doubt one of the many things these teenagers truly need.
All teenagers, and not only the at risk ones, need positive,
significant relationships with people whom they can build a sense of
trust and reliance and whom they know they can communicate their
happiness, their frustrations, and dreams without fear of consequence.
This is one reason why most kids are reluctant to form this kind of
relationship with their parents, or any adult that fills the role as a
guardian, for the fear of reproach and repercussions such as being
grounded or deprivation of benefits like allowance or use of a car.
According to Richard Titus, a high school teacher who had 19 years of
experience with kids, he said most teens would rather approach their
teachers than their parents to talk about their problems in life. He
said that these teens are often confused and they needed someone
dependable to show them the way, to provide encouragement and support
and to champion their cause.
Yet, teacher to student relationships are not so easy to sustain.
For the majority of public schools wherein class sizes number almost to
30 kids per class, and the teachers' time limited, teachers can commit
only a few moments of their time to one specific child.
To address this, parents should open opportunities for this to
happen. Some institutions are better equipped to meet this obligation,
like private schools more so than public schools. So whenever possible,
if your child is at risk, put him or her in an environment – a private
school to be exact – where positive and meaning relationships can be
built and sustained.
Putting them in an environment conducive for change
Despite our best interest, sometimes our homes are not the best
environment for an at risk child and could in fact contribute to their
decline. For example, a bad neighborhood, accessible and unregulated
forms of media such as internet and cable television, unhealthy
surroundings, bad role models within the family, negative peer pressure
from neighboring friends, etc.
Parents who are often away for days or weeks can contribute to the
negative home environment. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of
Labor, U.S. Census Bureau, Urban Institute, and U.S. National Dropout
Prevention Center, an empty house is one of the main starters of at
Latchkey children, which according to them account for
some 28 million secondary school children in the U.S., have very high
incidence of becoming at risk status due to loneliness, boredom and
fear. Among teens, there is a high susceptibility to negative behaviors
due to peer pressure, such as smoking, drinking, drug abuse and sexual
An empty house is not an environment conducive for change, and so is
an unregulated environment where inhabitants will "do as they please".
If you are unsure whether you or your home can commit to a level of
attention and care needed by an at risk youth, put him or her in a place
where all these requisites for change are met.
Supervision, supervision and supervision
An at risk youth do not attain goals by themselves. Rarely too will
they conquer their weaknesses by themselves. Like it is the role of
every parent to teach good character values, positive behavior, self
control and respect, it is also their role to see if this is observed
and to give them bottom spanking if these rules are not followed.
Parents need to supervise their children. Like any of us, children tend
to behave when they know somebody is watching their behavior.
Children under 18 years represent 23 percent of the population,
but they comprise 34 percent of all people in poverty. Among all children, 45 percent
live in low-income families and approximately one in every five (22
percent) live in poor families.
Similarly, among children age 6
through 11 years in middle childhood, 45 percent live in low-income
families, 22 percent live in poor families and 76 percent of these are considered homeless. Being a child in a
low-income, poor family or homeless family does not happen by chance. Parental
education and employment, race/ethnicity, and other factors are
associated with children's experience of economic insecurity.
There are more than 32 million children in middle childhood age
6 through 11 in the United States.
- 45 percent - 10.9 million - live in low-income families
- 22 percent - 5.4 million - live in poor families
- 85 percent - 15.7 million - live in homeless families.
The percentage of children in middle
childhood in low-income families varies substantially by region.
- 38 percent of children in middle childhood in the
Northeast - 1.5 million - live in low-income families
- 42 percent of children in middle childhood in the
Midwest - 2.2 million - live in low-income families
- 49 percent of children in middle childhood in the South
- 4.5 million - live in low-income families
- 47 percent of children in middle childhood in the West
- 2.7 million - live in low-income families
The percentages of low-income and poor
children vary by race and ethnicity: whites comprise the largest
share of low-income children age 6 through 11 (37 percent) and
Hispanics represent the largest share of poor children in this age
group (37 percent).
But black, American Indian, and Hispanic children in middle
childhood are disproportionately low-income and poor:
- 32 percent of white children in middle childhood - 4.0 million
- live in low-income families
- 66 percent of black children in middle childhood - 2.2 million
- live in low-income families
- 65 percent of Hispanic children in middle childhood - 3.8
million - live in low-income families
- 31 percent of Asian children in middle childhood - 0.4 million
- live in low-income families
- 65 percent of American Indian children in middle childhood -
0.1 million - live in low-income families
- 43 percent of children in middle childhood of some other race -
0.4 million - live in low-income families
- 76 percent of children of all races in middle childhood - 4.6 million - live in homeless families.
WHAT WE DO
Children need more than food to grow into successful and caring adults. They need someone to believe in them, someone to challenge them to do their best and caring adults who lead the way toward a bright future.
Studies have found that a child’s ability to learn is negatively affected by family stress; particularly stress resulting from poverty and unemployment. In the communities that we serve, we see countless families under stress from a variety of issues and their children are feeling the strain.
We deliver community-based counseling, family support and educational programs to children and their families in order to promote self-sufficiency and foster positive outcomes. Our educational programs and tutoring programs help each child develop skills necessary to become successful, self-supporting adults.
We believe in the promise of education as an antidote to poverty and the genesis of a bright future. That’s why we invest in educational and literacy programs, family support and counseling that help at-risk students realize their full potential.