There is a great opportunity with the University of California Division of Agriculture & Natural Resources and Youth Alliance to guide and mentor 3rd and 4th grade students through hands-on science activities. Tech Wizards is looking for committed individuals who are able to take on a weekly, year long commitment to make a difference in the lives of young children through mentoring.
Mentor benefits include: Training & experience, earning community service hours, monthly bus pass, free t-shirt and a letter of recommendation.
“I am a leader.” “I am not ghetto.” “I am not incapable of being interested in mathematics and the sciences.” “I am destined for great things.” As part of a new school reform campaign, a statewide coalition of students from low-income families is posting statements on Twitter and Facebook that are both poignant and backed by research about system change: If you want schools to improve, they say, believe in us.
The student statements are one element of a campaign to upend stereotypes, support teachers who work with students from diverse backgrounds and urge schools to create communities where it is understood that all students can succeed. The campaign, organized by the advocacy group Californians for Justice and its Student Voice project, was launched at a kickoff event at Roosevelt Middle School in Oakland this month that included a keynote address by Lupita Cortez Alcalá, California’s deputy superintendent, and a panel discussion with Gordon Jackson, director of student services for the California Department of Education. A Long Beach launch event is scheduled for Nov. 19.
During his week-long tour which culminated with the first-ever visit to a detention facility by a sitting president, Obama said he was struck by the fact that societal inequities mean that some misbehaving kids end up behind bars instead of in front of a principal’s desk.
“When they describe their youth, these are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different from the mistakes I made, and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made. The difference is that they did not have the kind of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes.”
“If you are a parent, you know that there are times where boys and girls are going to act out in school. And the question is: Are we letting principals and parents deal with one set of kids and we call the police on another set of kids? That’s not the right thing to do,” Barack Obama
The School-To-Prison Pipeline President Obama described has serious life-outcome implications, as highlighted by the Campaign for Youth Justice fact sheet Key Facts: Youth in the Justice System. For example, “most youth are denied educational and rehabilitative services that are necessary for their stage in development when in adult facilities. A survey of adult facilities found that 40% of jails provided no educational services at all, only 11% provided special education services, and a mere 7% provided vocational training. This lack of education increases the difficulty that youth will have once they return to their communities.”
Equally troubling, especially in San Benito & South Santa Clara County, are the wide disparities in treatment across race & ethnicity. According to America’s Invisible Children: Latino Youth and the Failure of Justice, “Latino youth are 4% more likely to be petitioned, 16% more likely to be adjudicated delinquent, 28% more likely to be detained, and 41% more likely to receive an out-of-home placement. The most severe disparities occur for Latino youth tried in the adult system. Latino children are 43% more likely than white youth to be waived to the adult system and 40% more likely to be admitted to adult prison.”
There are alternatives to incarcerating youth, and they work. Community-based programs, including diversion programs, drug treatment, evening reporting centers, treatment clinics and family programs, have all been shown to be less costly than detention or incarceration and to help youth stay out of trouble and to not re-offend. Youth Alliance is launching pilot Restorative Justice & Youth Empowerment programs to help explore and implement some of these effective alternatives as well as currently providing youth on probation with opportunities for employment and guidance.
We could eliminate tuition at every public college and university in America with the $80 billion we spend each year on incarcerations.
It is promising to see President Obama pushing for Juvenile Justice reform as well as awareness being spread to the mainstream. Hopefully, in the coming months we will begin to see concrete pushes for less punitive and more effective alternatives to Juvenile Incarceration throughout the United states.
Fifty-three kids learned how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent type-2 diabetes at Health Squad, a weeklong camp presented by Youth Alliance, the American Diabetes Association and Safeway Pharmacy. Read more
Youth Alliance plans to build Youth Empowerment Center after raising $40,000.
The Hollister City Council approved a $22,000 contribution to Youth Alliance for a new Youth Empowerment Center. The funds were raised in the ‘80s to establish a community youth center. In March, the Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously voted to recommend to the council that the funds be allocated to the project.