Child Advocacy Agency Paper: Troubled Youth/Youth Outreach

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Association House of Chicago is a vital resource center to underserved, multicultural communities while providing collaborative programs. They have worked with Chicagoans since 1899 to help those lead more positive and productive lives. This makes it one of the oldest “settlement houses” in Chicago. They offer many services to families to meet immediate and long-term goals and serve every demographic and age group, from children and young adults to working parents and the elderly. Association House’s mission statement is “We serve a multi-cultural community by providing comprehensive, collaborative and effective programs in English and Spanish.

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We promote health and wellness and create opportunities for educational and economic advancement.”

Association House High School is just one of the programs offered at this agency. They understand that high school may not be the same journey for everyone, therefore, it is not a traditional high school. It is an Options school that offers students a second chance to earn a diploma. An opportunity for those who did not reach their goal in a traditional public school due to challenges such as impersonal classes, family challenges and any other. The high school program offers a second chance to 16 to 21 year olds who have been left behind by traditional public schools. The school’s personnel tailors their services to each student’s individual, social and family needs. The program includes Individualized instruction that is available through small class sizes and mentoring opportunities. Youth leadership development, offering students the opportunity to lead student organizations or create their own events.

Development and life-skills training includes problem solving and conflict resolution, community and school involvement, family and peer relations, as well as internal and external referrals. Special Education and Counseling programs include Vocational Counseling and College Placement, Individualized Tutoring and Family Literacy Program. The Family Literacy Program targets children of students enrolled in the High School to address the struggles and success of two generations at once. They provide daily on-site child care, early childhood education, family activities, and parenting workshops. All while on a schedule that is similar to the high school schedule so the parents can be at ease. Extra-curricular activities are also available while providing youth with a safe, structured and educational environment after school. These after school programs and services include supplemental education services, gay straight alliance (GSA), student leadership, yearbook/literary magazine, basketball team, and student-teacher band and art classes. The Association House High School offers programs through mentoring and tutoring services to ensure students are well prepared for graduation and to help create pathways for college, trade school, or the workplace. Overall, their goal is “to prepare a successful, productive and compassionate members of a diverse, competitive and global society.”

Youth Outreach Service is an agency that is primarily focused on helping at-risk youth in the Chicago area to reach their potential. They care for teens that may be facing challenges at home, in school and in the community. By providing community-based support to the youth they help them meet challenges head on, discover their strengths and make healthy choices. They provides critical services in some of the neediest communities in and around Chicago. For many clients, the severity of their struggles are the reason why they are unable to succeed in life. YOS understands the challenges the youth may face so they create opportunities to help them grow. Their mission states “Youth Outreach Services promotes the strengths and abilities of youth and families by providing community-based services that empower and enrich each to face life’s challenges with confidence, competence and dignity.” Their goal is “to inspire positive development so clients and their families can face challenges with confidence with the ongoing support they need to thrive for a lifetime.” YOS provides comprehensive services from four different service areas depending on each client’s needs. These include Counseling, Prevention, Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice.

The Counseling services offered help youth learn how to overcome challenges and make necessary changes to live healthier lives. They believe that youth most often feel supported when they have a safe place to talk and deal with issues. All youth receive a comprehensive assessment and are matched to services that best meet their needs. Intervention services are delivered through a combination of individual, group and family counseling. Their behavioral health services include crisis intervention, substance use intervention, and mental health counseling to help youth and their families address and deal with challenges that affect their relationships at home, in the community and at school. The prevention services help youth and their families develop the skills and opportunities they need to pursue positive activities and make good choices. The Youth Prevention Education program addresses a potential threat before it becomes a problem as it is the best way to impact positive change. The substance abuse prevention curriculums designed to reduce the onset of the first experience with alcohol and other drugs, and to change youths’ perceptions about substance use.

The Pregnancy Prevention offers comprehensive sex education in school settings for middle and high school students. Abstinence education is their first method of education but program also covers effective contraception methods. The program uses multiple approaches to encourage youth to delay their first sexual experience, to reduce first time teenage pregnancy, to prevent second time births and sexually transmitted infections. Summer employment is also offers as a form of counseling to help them participate in positive environments. Some of YOS’s community partners include schools and educators, community organizations and social service agencies. They offering training workshops and assistance to support youth and families as they address and overcome difficult issues. The Child Welfare program prepares youth for independence while living in safe and stable homes. The Transitional Living Program serves youth ages 17 to 21 who are involved in the child welfare system. It helps them learn the life skills that are needed to seek higher educa¬tion, pursue a career and transition successfully into adulthood. They believe that a safe and nurturing environment is key to a child’s success and happiness. The Juvenile Justice services provide alternatives to detention, services to youth awaiting court, and support for youth reentering the community. They believe that by finding community-based alternatives to incarceration will help break the cycle of further involvement in the juvenile justice system. These detention alternatives include Evening Report Center (ERC), Day Reporting Program, and Diversion & Reentry Services.

BUILD is a respected and leading gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development organization based on Chicago’s West Side. It has helped thousands of at-risk youth escape gangs and violence to become positive leaders of their communities. Their mission is “to engage at-risk youth in schools and on the streets to help them realize their potential and contribute to our communities.” They focus on hard-to-serve youth in some of the most challenging neighborhoods. They also focus on developing relationships and forming bonds with the youth in the program. By building trust and lasting bonds they let the kids know that they have an advocate, a support system and people with high expectations for them. Their programs include Growing hope: prevention, Saving lives: Intervention and Building futures: Education.

At the growing hope program the youth are engaged with a wide verity of school and community programs. These programs spark interest and help create positive habits, all while giving them a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. They are given the tools to make positive choices such as, academic assistance, life skills workshops and social activities. Some of the programs include, academic tutoring, leadership development, and sports. This prevention program help the youth become the next generation of leaders in their community.

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Child Advocacy Agency Paper: Troubled Youth/Youth Outreach. (2020, Jan 12). Retrieved from