What does at risk youth mean?
By definition, an “at-risk youth” is a child who is less likely to transition successfully into adulthood. Success can include academic success and job readiness, as well as the ability to be financially independent. It also can refer to the ability to become a positive member of society by avoiding a life of crime.
Some factors that lead to youth being identified as at-risk include:
- Lack of parental support
- Low self-esteem
- Poor peer relationships
- Juvenile delinquency or behavior/discipline issues
Poverty, however, is the major predictor of a child becoming at-risk. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, youth from low-income families are more likely to be teen mothers, engage in gang activity and delinquent behaviors, and are less likely to graduate from a 4-year college than are youth from middle-income and high-income families.
The Search Institute, which has identified 40 positive supports and strengths that young people need to succeed, found that a caring, encouraging campus climate is just one of the 40 developmental assets a student needs in order to reach their highest potential. A few other essential assets identified in the study are: family support; positive family communication; support from other adult relationships (non-parent adults); and parent involvement in schooling.
“A Connected Teen is a Protected Teen.”
It only takes one positive voice; one act of kindness; one encouraging word; to change a student’s life forever. Just Say YES believes students of all ages deserve a chance to achieve a better brighter future, regardless of their background or circumstances. Since 2002, Just Say YES has equipped more than 1 million students nationwide to say YES to their dreams and goals, and no to destructive choices. Through high-impact school assemblies and Peer-to-Peer Mentoring programs, Just Say YES makes positive connections with at-risk youth; teaching them the power of making right choices by listening to right voices.
Just Say YES is especially dedicated to supporting the development of K-12th grade students from economically disadvantages areas across the nation. By supplying social-emotional learning opportunities, students from low-income communities can have the chance to dream big dreams beyond their current circumstances, and be able to reach their highest potential to break the cycle of poverty.
Want to learn more about how Just Say YES positively impacts at risk youth?
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