Saw this last night…

A documentary about taking 14 DC inner city kids taken into the West Virginia woods for 8 days.  It shows how facilitators work with the kids to help bring them out to see that they can make positive changes in the world.  It hit home, in so many ways and really allowed me to think about what I do in my work.

I have worked in a Juvenile detention center for the last 7ish years and I am completely baffled by our juvenile justice system.  We have this horrible thing called the school to prison pipeline that just sets kids up for failure on a regular basis.  I’m sure you’ve heard about it, and I could write about it for days.  While this movie offers a way to show what can be done to effect individual kids, it’s not enough.  We have so many ill-fated systems in place that churn out kids who are failing and will fail.  The support has to be placed in transition services, 1 to 1 mentoring, and wrap around services.  Right now everything is completely disjointed and fragmented in the system.

This film doesn’t focus on incarcerated kids, these kids haven’t been there yet.  But given their circumstances socially, educationally, and economically they are more likely to end up in the system and stay in it — the school to prison pipeline.

So if you get a chance, check these people out.  They’re doing some fantastic work in my area.  I hope to learn and see more about them, now that I know about them.  One of the best chances we can offer any student is that diploma or GED, it can cut the pipeline by 1/2.  If you need a reason to think about this more,  a kid who is in the system for a year costs $1,000,000.  Multiply that number over and over again and you can figure out how much it costs for one person that stays in the system over a lifetime, and then multiply that number by the thousands that are in prison every day.

Here, this might help,

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/tsr/education-under-arrest/school-to-prison-pipeline-fact-sheet/

So check out the people here, and maybe look for the same kind of folks in your area, and go volunteer.  Offer something, make a choice to NOT ignore this growing problem.

http://www.onecommonunity.org/

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