Traumatized foster youth face a variety of obstacles that often hinder their academic success. A California study revealed that 58% of 12th-graders in foster care in 2009-10 graduated from high school, compared with 84% of their statewide peers. Receiving love and support from a caring team of professionals can help teens thrive and overcome their greatest obstacles.
At-risk teen males in the Trinity El Monte program are proving that caring adults who go the extra mile can help bring hope, encouragement and motivation that can change lives.
After enduring the stress and heartbreak of being placed in out of home care and dealing with past trauma, 12 young men were determined to live better lives. Focusing on completing their high school requirements, the youth often studied after school, during weekends, and even during their two-week holiday break to ensure that they met their educational objectives.
Trinity’s El Monte staff, focusing on creating a positive atmosphere for youth to excel academically, stepped up to provide additional educational support. According to El Monte Campus Director, Sherman Mitchell, “We enlisted tutoring support with Future Stars Tutoring Services Center and provided Title-1 Tutoring services (through LACOE) to help improve academic performance.”
Trinity’s dedicated staff also engaged the young men by encouraging them to complete their homework assignments, which motivated them to stay focused and ultimately reach their goal. Several staff were helpful when youth asked for assistance or had questions about their school work. The Trinity team’s efforts and persistence paid off. “We had an increased number of youth campus-wide, voluntarily completing homework and studying throughout the day and evening,” said Mitchell.
After noticing the drive and determination the young men had towards receiving their high school credits, Trinity El Monte staff went a step further to celebrate the youth’s achievements. “We acknowledged youth when they brought back weekly status reports on the credits they obtained. The Campus Director and Assistant Director arranged a surprise visit after receiving positive reports regarding more than 10 of our youth who were doing exceptional at their school. We acknowledged and fellowshipped with the youth and provided lunch,” states Mitchell.
When asked what he felt helped traumatized teen males increase positive behaviors, Mitchell answered, “We are mindful that providing trauma informed care must be more than the words we use, but the core of our deeds. I have a personal motto of “it’s better to build boys then mend men.
“As such, the emphasis on supporting, encouraging and promoting positive, stable relationships serves as a direct link for increased opportunities to enforcing positive behavior from our young men in our program. This is a key indicator vital to their success. We continue to provide a sense of safety and belonging to youth who enter our program.
“We work to ensure the youth have a voice in our program. We maintain awareness of the possibilities vicarious trauma in both youth and our staff who give so much to the youth in their care. I can attest that we love the work that we do. We celebrate those who have graduated the program, the ones who have made positive changes, and also the youth who are in the process of change,” Mitchell said.
Due to their hard work and the care they have for youth, Trinity’s staff, along with the young men’s dedication, helped them defy statistics and get on the path to success. Once feeling lost and abandoned, the future is bright for these Trinity El Monte’s graduates!
For more information about Trinity Youth Services programs, call 909.825.5588 or email email@example.com.