"Compassion for Young Fathers," an interview with the program coordinator and a participant in a program for young fathers. The coordinator described what motivated him to start the program:
I was a corrections officer. I can tell you the exact moment it struck me that someone needed to educate men on the importance of being involved in children’s lives. One morning, this young man who was no more than 19 years old asked me to congratulate him. He said, “I’m a dad.” I said, “Good for you. How many is that?” And he said three. And I said, “What influence are you going to have on their lives? You’re creating a cycle that’s going to be repeated by your son one day.” That young man went back up to his cell, and he stood there very dejected. That’s when it hit me. Having a child should be a joyous occasion. So I went up and congratulated him and embraced him. And I sat down and started having a heart-to-heart talk about how as a man you are defined by what you do and how you enhance the life of the children you bring in this world. I said, “I’m happy for you, but I want to see you do better for your children by making something out of yourself.” It was at that point I realized there was a huge need for educating men on the importance of being involved in their children’s lives.
"Giving At-Risk Youth a Chance," an article about Roca, a program developed to help "16- to 24-year-olds living on the streets or involved in gangs, drugs, or the court system. Participants may also be high school drop-outs, young parents, immigrants, or refugees."
What struck me about the program was its focus on intense, continuous, relationships with the kids involved:
It has four major core components: 1. relentless outreach and follow-up, a strategy for engaging young people wherever they may be; 2. transformational relationships (Roca’s long- term case-management model uses positive, consistent personal relationships with adult staff as the primary vehicle for effecting change); 3. stage-based programming, which offers programs for life skills, education, and transitional employment to address each individual’s behavioral and developmental barriers to economic and social success; and 4. relationship building with the agencies and public entities that have roles in young people’s lives, including the courts, the probation department, the Department of Children and Families (formerly Department of Youth Services), law enforcement, and local governments.It's been very successful and cost-effective to date.
"A Model for Inclusive Engagement" describes a way of getting people involved in making their communities a better place through getting them to pose the (community-related) questions that bother them most. The conversations that spring from this approach are the ones the community actually wants to have, and the result is that the things that get done are the things that the community members themselves want to get done. This approach was first used in Berlin in 2006; the article talks about its use in a neighborhood in Springfield, Massachusetts--the state's third-largest, and second-poorest, city.
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