What are At Risk Youth Centers?
At-Risk Youth Centers are a place where youth can hang out, do homework, or participate in a wide range of programs throughout the day. Youth centers often connect with community organizations that provide after-school activities and help young people develop leadership, self-esteem, and decision-making skills.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top behaviors that contribute to at-risk youth include:
- Unintentional injuries and violence.
- Vaping or tobacco use.
- Substance use (alcohol, drugs, etc.).
- Sexually risky behavior.
- Poor dietary choices.
- Physical inactivity.
Community-based At-Risk Youth programs work toward helping struggling teens make better life choices.
Are These At-Risk Youth Centers Expensive?
Many non-profit organizations in each state help underprivileged young people realize their full potential and not start their lives as at-risk youths. Many at-risk youth centers are committed to helping troubled youth through persistent mentoring and counseling.
One of the great things about youth community activity centers is that teens are involved in activities that keep them from poor decisions and teach them important values. This helps teens lead more fulfilling lives.
Many communities offer youth-friendly programs geared toward helping adolescents rediscover the pleasure and satisfaction of learning. These community organizations for youth also recognize that troubled adolescents are often supported more by experiential learning than in a traditional classroom setting.
These youth facilities help young people deal with the consequences of their decisions. For example, NY Youth At Risk (New York) is a non-profit at-risk youth center with a program that deals explicitly with young parents. Young men are taught to be responsible providers to their children and to become more involved and engaged in their lives. Young women are helped to realize their self-worth, become better parents, and prevent further unplanned pregnancies.
Are These At-Risk Youth Centers Really Effective?
Not all youth centers have the same success rates, in the same way that not all of them implement the same program for troubled youth the same way. However, many youth centers have significant success in mentoring young people.
National data indicate that around 30% of teenage moms complete high school after giving birth. Many give birth to a second baby less than three years after their first, indicating that they make the same mistakes. However, the NY Youth At Risk center shows that 90% of the young women they mentor stay in high school or earn their GED. About 91% of these young women also prevented unwanted pregnancies after their first pregnancy.
Young people who participate in good community at-risk youth programs find the support they need to avoid gangs or getting involved in criminal activities. It helps young people know that they can make better choices and have a better life.
Youth centers have after-school programs that aim to prevent delinquent behavior by helping children and adolescents become more productive during after-school hours.
Many also offer community service opportunities coupled with mentoring to help youths develop a desire to become a contributing part of their community. And to understand why this is an important goal to aspire after.
Like many other interventions for troubled teens, at-risk youth centers are more effective when young people have a robust support system at home. It’s not a magic cure-it-all and often works better when done together with other types of interventions for support.
The Benefits of Community Youth Centers
Being involved in a youth organization can help these teens build relationships with people they might otherwise meet. They also get the opportunity to learn new skills and what they enjoy doing. Youth organizations can also allow these teens to work on projects and tasks that are important for their community.
These youth organizations:
- provide teens with a sense of accomplishment.
- can help young people find their passions and interests.
- can help youth develop leadership skills.
- offer volunteerism and community service opportunities, which is important in today’s world, where people often feel disconnected from the world around them.
- are a great way to make friends and feel like you belong somewhere in the world!
Other At-Risk Youth Centers and Facilities, Treatment Centers for At-Risk Youth, or Programs for Troubled Teens
Troubled youth can be better helped by actively finding other interventions and encouraging them to get involved with at-risk youth centers.
When your teen is not helped by local programs, it may be time to consider other programs designed for struggling teens. These programs are useful in addressing behavioral and even mental health issues, such as:
- Wilderness programs where struggling teens can enjoy experiential learning and counseling.
- Family therapy can also be beneficial so that the family will know their role in helping troubled teens find and stay on the right path.
- Non-residential or residential treatment is also an option.
While some of these solutions may be a bit expensive, many offer financial help, accept health insurance, and offer scholarships for families that cannot afford to send their troubled teens to such programs.
If this interests you, you can begin by speaking to the counselors at your local youth center. Parents may find community at-risk youth programs are especially helpful for those who need extra help in getting their teens back to school (or convincing them to stay in school). As well as for parents dealing with more serious behavioral issues requiring a different or more intensive approach.
Sometimes a local at-risk youth program isn’t enough. Are you asking yourself or looking for more information on these topics:
- What if my child needs more than what they can find at a local at-risk youth center?
- What options exist when you try counseling and therapy, and there is little to no improvement?
- Does my child need a residential treatment center, and how do I know which one?
Suppose your answer to these questions is yes. In that case, we invite you to read this article on Treatment Centers for At-Risk Youth and to read some of the most popular articles on these topics.