Who are these young people labeled "at-risk," and what does the term really mean?
A number of definitions attempt to interpret its meaning. Some suggest that current and future challenges for today’s therapists/social workers are in identifying who among our diverse population are "at risk." Others define it as a process in which this population is a "product of society," placed at risk by the influences of society.
At best, its meaning is never precise and varies considerably in practice.
I believe many factors contribute to youth at risk of not succeeding educationally or in society. At Campagna Academy, we have the privilege of meeting those who have been touched by adverse circumstances, such as poverty, teen parenthood, homelessness, drug/alcohol abuse, abuse and neglect, inadequate academic opportunities, loss of hope for the future, and lack of life goals.
The question of what we need to do to impact the lives of at-risk youth is clear to us at Campagna. All children need adults who will believe, listen, and trust in them for a better future. We see them as the young people they are and believe that every young life should have the promise of a positive future within reach.
For many years, alarming statistics have been reported, repeating a call to action that is greeted too often with silence. Initiatives in action need to define our hope before change can occur within ourselves or in society.
It is important to understand the lives of these youth and to accept their diversity within our own communities.
A long-time Campagna foster mom shared with me last week that cooperation and the desire to get involved in a unified building process can be a rewarding experience.
When writing this column about Ripples of Hope, what better way to define at-risk than to believe that at each level, the passion of one individual/group and clarity of vision can lead today’s youth to a vision of their own.
Our mission of Restoring Hope and Building Dreams for this vulnerable population becomes a reality for our younger generation every day at Campagna, with professional and compassionate treatment and every celebration of their successes. I encourage you to visit our Schererville campus, learn more about Campagna’s youth and the ever-growing volunteer opportunities available.