Troubled Youth and Aged Individuals: Contemporary Community Case Study
There are two age groups in the present population with specific needs required to fulfill and direct them at a pivotal moment in their life's development when paired together represent reciprocal provision of care during a critical stage in the lives of each of these two representative groups of contemporary society. The two age groups at focus in this study are today's youth and the present aged population in the community. Youth are disproportionately characterized as having behavioral problems and the community elders are a reservoir of guidance for these youth who in return have much to offer the aged as well.
The research proposed in this specific study involves collaboration with teacher, the school board, and counselors to prepare a method of providing school credits in return for volunteer work on the part of students who are also categorized as troubled youth. Toward this end this study will propose a research study that delves as well into the literature in this area of inquiry so as to discover how similar plans have worked in other community initiatives'.
Significance of the Study
The significance of the study proposed herein is the additional knowledge that will be added to the already existing base of knowledge in this area of inquiry and a better understanding of how collaborative relationships in the community might enable effective assistance to both troubled youth and the aged population in today's contemporary community and society at large.
(1) What do troubled youth and the aged population has to offer one another through participation in a mentoring relationship?
(2) What will the mentoring relationship between contemporary troubled youth and the aging population offer to the community?
The work of Bosak (nd) entitled "Effective Mentoring reports the work of Beverly Hungry Wolf who writes "In the years since I began following the ways of my grandmothers I have come to the value the teachings, stories and daily examples of living which they shared with me. I pity the younger girls of the future who will miss out on meeting some of these fine women." (p.1) The grandparent age group has reached a stage in life in which they desire to create a legacy and pass on the wisdom collecting along the way. Wolf writes of the work entitled "Dream" an award winning narrative by a "wise old star who takes the reader on a colorful journey through a lifetime. The wise old star serves as a mentor figure. At the end of the story, the star has passed on all its wisdom and it is up to the reader to move forward on their own and reach for their dreams -- with the wise old star in place in the sky as a reassuring presence. A good mentoring relationship is very much like that, and many mentoring programs use the Dream book as inspiration and introduction for both young and old, and a talking tool to help young people think about their life ahead of them and their own goals." (Bosak, nd, p.1) The 'Legacy Project' features 52 Ideas for a "Year's Worth of Mentoring Activities" and these activities include such as the following selected examples:
(1) Talk about what it takes to get ahead;
(2) Talk about your first job;
(3) Talk about life;
(4) Visit a local technical or community college;
(5) Go holiday shopping or swimming or to the gym; and (6) Go to a house of worship, or try another spiritual practice like meditating. (Legacy Project, 2000)
The effective mentoring practice is described as being inclusive of a statement of purpose and long-range plan that addresses many aspects of the implementation of the program and required as well is a recruitment plan and operational plan. Funding must necessarily be addressed as well as methods orientation along with restrictions and expectations. Eligibility screening will be one important aspect of the program as will the curriculum for mentors and participants in the community initiative.
The methodology to be employed in this study is one in which the researcher will send announcements directed at various members of the community including the school board, and other key community stakeholders inviting their participation in a community outreach program that supports collaborative and mentoring relationships between members of the community's aged population and troubled youth. Participation in the program will be based on volunteering by participants from the community. Wolf states that mentoring "is work of the heart" and one that results in personal satisfaction in knowing that one has assisted in building the community ," inspiring hope, sharing success, enriching life. You do not need special skills to be an effective mentor. Patience, empathy, and a generous spirit are the greatest gifts a mentor can offer a child. Older men and women bring a special quality to mentoring. Young adult mentors tend to be more goal-oriented. Older people, with more living under their belt and many personal goals already achieved, tend to be more relationship-oriented. An emphasis on relationship is often the key to making mentoring work. Research shows that the best mentors are those who take their time, who listen to children and get to know them. Mentors in a hurry -- "efficient" mentors who have a set goal or are determined to change a young person -- usually fail." (Bosak, nd, p.1) Bosak additionally notes that mentoring "…is not a quick fix. There's no express route to making a difference and building real trust." (Bosak, nd, p. 1)
Bosak (nd) states that the place to start is "with the hope inherent in mentoring. Mentors can guide and even change the lives of the young. Mentors serve as teachers/trainers; positive role models; nurturers; supporters, guides, and advocates; challengers; and friends/companions. Studies have shown direct links between mentoring and tutoring programs and higher academic achievement, lower dropout rates, fewer teen pregnancies, and safer communities." (p.1)
It has been demonstrated in research findings that the consistent presence of an adult in the life of the young person who cares across time is the primary factor in development of resiliency in children, and in children who are able to find their way out of poverty and violence is usually the young person who has had a mentor. Even one caring adult in the life of a young person can make all the difference in the world, opening up opportunities that may have seemed unimaginable. Every child needs a champion. Mentoring is a way to strengthen social supports to individuals, families, and ultimately the community." (Bosak, nd, p.1)
The Fairfax County, Virginia Juvenile District Court has stated that principles there are "four things kids need" including:
(1) Time -- one-on-one, face-to-face time spent with a caring adult;
(2) Action -- Words, Promises are alone not enough;
(3) Consistency -- Someone to count on, depend on and trust; and (4) Truth -- Excuses and fabrications destroy trust. (Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention Conference,2012s)
The work of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Conference states in the work entitled "Mentoring Initiatives: An Overview of Youth Mentoring" states that formalized mentoring programs "…which match youth and adults probably originated in settlement houses around the turn of the century. The first recognized Big Brothers chapters were established independently in New York and Cincinnati in 1903-04, and the first Big Sisters association grew out of the Catholic Ladies of Charity of New York in 1905. The planned mentoring concept expanded in the 1970s to include corporate mentoring of employees to foster achievement and advancement. Business mentoring, viewed as a critical ingredient to success on the corporate ladder (Freedman 1992), introduced thousands of influential Americans to the value of mentoring for the average individual.
Mentoring is reported as being "a natural part of child…