Bronx Community Solutions is creating a new social service group for adolescent clients who were disengaged or at risk of dropping out from school. The group is intended to help young people explore their educational goals, and to understand educational options that align with those goals. Much like when becoming involved with the criminal justice system, young people can find themselves entangled in an education system that they do not fully understand. The hope of the Education Empowerment group at BCS is to provide clients with an understanding of their educational rights and the options available to them, so they are empowered to make decisions about their educational futures.
In an effort to create a comprehensive curriculum, I invited a staff attorney from Advocates for Children to train Adolescent Diversion Project staff and social work interns on graduation options and basic student rights. The training provided a necessary foundation to create a curriculum that covers basic education rights and diploma and diploma equivilency options.
Justin Briggs, a Youth Development Peer Specialist at BCS (as well as an Intake Specialist and part-time Community Service Crew Supervisor), noticed that many of the participants in his group, Motivating Youth, were most in need of educational guidance and support. That observation sprung into the development of the Education Empowerment group. The group will serve a maximum of eight young people, providing opportunities for individualized attention and referral opportunities. He will begin facilitation in February 2015.
- Rebecca Stahl, LMSW
Bronx Community Solutions Youth Justice Coordinator