centers are important gathering places that offer quality after-school
programs. Many studies have been done on teen centers and have
shown that teen centers:
the likelihood that teens will be victims of violent crime
teen participation in risky behaviors, such as drug, alcohol,
and tobacco use
teens to develop new skills and interests
teens' grades and academic achievement
teens to reach higher in planning their futures
teens' self-confidence and social skills*
Success Story Continued
was after midnight but the volunteer counselor was contacted
and came right away. While he was calming down Todd, arrangements
were being made by the teen staff for Todd to stay at a shelter
for the night. Most of the shelters were already full, but
one had an opening, and after a lot of fast talking arrangements
were made for Todd to spend one night. The following day,
the arrangements were extended to three nights. Then he would
have to go elsewhere. We had to work fast. The volunteer counselor
set up a meeting with Todd’s mother the following day.
She explained that Todd had run away several times before,
and that her husband had given up trying to get through to
Todd and did not want him back at all. She was frustrated
with the entire situation and did not know where to turn.
She had been through several State programs for family counseling
and Todd had half heartedly participated, but her husband
had refused to go with her. She was at her wits end.
Ross, our permanent staffer, stepped in and called for
a “round table”, a meeting with all parties
where each can voice their feelings within certain guidelines.
Ross would be the moderator and enforce the rules. There
could be no accusations, no name calling, no unfounded statements;
no blame could be placed; only feelings about facts and
events could be discussed. The father agreed to participate,
which was a surprise, and Todd and his mother did too. Neither
of the teachers could make the first round table, but both
agreed to come to the second one which was scheduled for
the following day. The first round table lasted about an
hour and many tears flowed and emotions were high. By the
time it was over Todd and his parents had the beginnings
of an honest relationship, but much still had to be worked
The second round table was not so successful. The teachers
had high expectations and were willing to work with Todd
and his parents, but their time was very limited and there
were many other students who they were responsible for,
as well. As it turned out, Todd was a lazy student who did
not want to do the work and was disruptive in class. While
both of the teachers said they wanted to help, neither had
the time or the energy, and neither really wanted Todd back
in their classes. It was an eye opening experience.
The third round table resulted in Todd and his parents
working out some basic ground rules to live by, and a plan
for Todd to return home again. The fact that the shelter
would not have him back for a week had some influence on
Todd’s motivation to accept some rules and go home.
This was the most successful session and a turning point
for Todd. He agreed to participate in the study groups that
the teens had created, and he agreed to the rules that his
parents had laid out for him. His parents also had a change
of attitude and agreed to follow some self imposed guidelines
when dealing with Todd, some of which came from the round
table rules. Things were looking up for Todd at home, but
there was still the school issue to deal with.
Ross contacted the school Principal and met with her and
one of the school guidance counselors. Todd was moved to
different classes for English and History, and agreed to
try harder and participate in class. Later, Todd was introduces
into the study groups for those subjects. The study groups
were formed by the teen government to allow students to
teach other students in subjects where help was needed.
Students who were strong in a subject shared their knowledge
with others who were struggling. Homework was discussed
and many aspects of the subject were examined to help students
to better understand the subject. Todd turned out to be
a natural for these groups. His whole attitude changed and
he excelled in English and History, becoming an A student
in both subjects. His other grades improved, too, and Todd
began to enjoy school.
home life was still not perfect, he stayed home and eventually
went to college, where he graduated at the top of his class.
He is now employed full time and is married to a wonderful
girl he met at the teen center.
you for your support.