2 The Courage to Care / Alan M. Blankstein
Building Relationships with Hard-To-Reach Youth
3 Reconnecting Takes Faith / Lizzie Simon
6 The Forgotten Intervention: How to Design Environments That Foster Friendship / Sheri Searcy Overton
II Students as Consumers: Using "Satisfaction Surveys" in the Classroom / David W Furst & Andrea H. Criste
14 The Biology of Behavior: The Attachments and Affects of Adjudicated Youth/ Marion Sutherland Boss & Pamela Masiker-Nickel
18 Check and Connect: The Role of Monitors in Supporting High-Risk Youth / Sandra L. Christenson, Christine M. Hurley, Julie A. Hirsch, Melissa Kau, David Evelo, & Willa Bates
22 The Measure of Adolescent Potential for Suicide (MAPS): A Tool for Assessement and Crisis Intervention / Elaine Walsh, Brooke P2 Randell, & Leona L. Eggert
30 Mind, Body, and Spirit: The Benefits of Martial Arts Training / Karrie P Walters
Schools as Families
34 Making School a Place to Call Home / Beverly Johns
37 The Classroom Community Model / Ambrose Panico
41 When Schools Are Not Safe Places: Reconnecting Gay and Lesbian Young People to Schools /Gerald P. Mallon
46 Friends as Counselors: A Three-Step Peer Group Counseling Intervention / Ron Nelson & Sarup Mather
50 Meeting the Needs of Children and Youth with Challenging Behaviors: Module 5 / Lyndal M. Bullock & Ann Fitzsimmons-Lovett
Reconnecting the Community
57 Reconnecting with African-American Families / Cathy D. Kea
62 Collaboration Isn’t Rocket Science— It’s Harder and Worth the Effort / Stevan J. Kukic
65 Oregon Initiative for Reintegrating Adjudicated Youth / Constance Lehman
from the editors
The Courage to Care
Alan M. Blankstein
Leon, whom I met in a group home in Queens, New York, rarely said a word. As much as the other kids might taunt or cajole him, it seemed to me that he only opened his mouth to eat or breathe. About three months after I met him, Leon finally did say something to a fellow resident, only to be told to "Shut the — up!" Unfortunately, Leon’s rare attempts to connect with others came in the form of provocative comments that were met with anger from his peers.
Most of my housemates in the residence were "hard to reach." Ruppert was always ready to fight. Whether he was actually violent on any occasion depended on his mood, but you could always feel the potential of a physical confrontation looming. Fred seemed to be listening to you, but was always "scheming" inside, thinking up new and better ways to "get over" on you. Kerry took a more direct approach. He just ignored the house parents when they talked to him. While we all had different ways of expressing it, most of the kids in the residence were enraged, fearful, and slow to trust. We tested the caring adults and peers around us with the worst behavior we could muster, as we reconfirmed for ourselves the futility of trying.
Although these were teens with whom I lived some 20 years ago, the feelings of abandonment and anger we experienced are similarly expressed among youth today. These youth learn early that connection to adults, school, or families can be synonymous with pain, and so they opt out. As Karl Dennis, one of the founders of the wraparound movement, recently said: "If I meet a kid who has been in 49 different placements and is still trusting, I figure that child has a real problem!"
This issue of Reaching Today’s Youth is devoted to exploring the growing body of research and practice that points the way to reconnecting with youth who have been through such experiences:
Using the approaches and strategies described in this issue certainly not easy and is made more difficult by reactions from seemingly ungrateful and hostile youth. It was not easy for one of our house parents, for example, to repeatedly seek out opportunities to connect with Leon in the face of his stony silence punctuated by occasional sarcasm. But research indicates it often takes years before our positive interventions take effect and result in changed behavior or attitudes. Hopefully this was the case with Leon. I do know that for me, the "kindness of strangers"—of house parents and teachers—eventually did win out. Luckily, they were more caring than I was resistant. But by the time I had the capacity to say, "thank you, many who had helped me were gone. I hope this and prior issues will help you continue caring about those young people who may not be able to thank you for years to come.