Youth Concerns and Development Initiatives (YCDI-Africa)

Interactive Forum on Youth, Safety and Security
Sponsored by Youth Concerns and Development Initiatives (YCDI-Africa)

Ojota Secondary Grammar School
Ogudu GRA, Ojota, Lagos
December 5th, 2012

Student particpating in my exercise "Tracing Shapes," on her peer's back as part of my presentation "Creative Positivity: Alternatives to Violence."

Student particpating in my exercise “Tracing Shapes,” on her peer’s back as part of my presentation “Creative Positivity: Alternatives to Violence.”

Middle four (L to R): Presenter Ms. Lydia Onuoha, YCDI-Africa Founder Onyinye Onyemobi, Myself, and Presenter Ms. Eunice Adetola

Middle four (L to R): Presenter Ms. Lydia Onuoha, YCDI-Africa Founder Onyinye Onyemobi, Myself, and Presenter Ms. Eunice Adetola

Members of the Health and Life Planning Club

Students of the Health and Life Planning Club, Ojota Secondary Grammar School

Ojota Secondary Grammar School

Ojota Secondary Grammar School

Presenting at the "Interactive Forum on Youth, Safety and Security."

Presenting at the “Interactive Forum on Youth, Safety and Security.”

Secondary school students listening to my presentation, "Creative Positivity: Alternatives to Violence."
Secondary school students listening to my presentation, “Creative Positivity: Alternatives to Violence.”
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Founder of YCDI-Africa, Onyinye Onyemobi and myself.

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Fresh from Texas: a revelation that counseling is key

“They’re not bad children,” said Bobby Jacobs, a gray-haired, retired public school principal who is one of about two dozen staff members handpicked to work in the program. “They just made bad choices.”

THE TEXAS TRIBUNE

Giving Juveniles Intensive Counseling

By BRANDI GRISSOM
Published: September 1, 2012

MART — The green-black lines of prison life are scrawled on 16-year-old Luis’s face: a cross on his left cheek, three dots arranged in a triangle under his left eye and “cholo” written vertically on his right cheek.

It is a stark institution that holds more than 300 juveniles. There are no trees. Metal buildings are surrounded by concertina wire curling high above the perimeter. A single basketball hoop in the corner of the grounds is fenced off for recreation, a faded basketball lodged in the razor wire overhead.

Structure and personal attention are the priorities. Nearly every moment of the day is filled with counseling, school time, meals or recreation. The staff-youth ratio is small, one to four, compared with a ratio of one to 12 in the other juvenile facilities.A diagram of the “anger control cycle” reminds them to sense physical signs of escalation and control their behavior.

To Mr. Carter [dorm supervisor], the success of the Phoenix Program is its simplicity: giving youths the attention and structure they need to focus on making a future for themselves.

Now [Luis] recognizes the physical cues that mean his anger is escalating.

Herein, lies the power for change:

  • small staff-to-student ratio
  • structured positive, exploratory, activities
  • behavioral management through self awareness and group dialogue
  • goal setting, and ‘goal meeting,’ through support and positively high expectations

“It’s really the system’s failures that are creating these horrible environments,” Mr. Magnuson said, “and unfortunately it’s these kids’ lives at stake, their futures.”

Read full article here

What can be learned from the ‘new’ Texas example?