Daily Comments  

A Child Is Missing, Inc.

Anti-Bullying and Effective Communications Program for Vulnerable Youth

Philosophical Perspective

By

Dr. Alexis C. Brimberry

 

The goal of our educational team is to assist vulnerable youth in finding their voice.  When they gain self- awareness, strength and understanding, they improve and increase their communication confidence and effectiveness.  When they establish confidence and effectiveness in communication, it is our belief that acceptance, inclusiveness and compassion will replace rejection, segregation and disdain.  Only through education can open dialogue among this highly vulnerable population begin. 

Open dialogue among this population can then lead to preventing, or at the very least minimizing, this population’s risks for exposure to violence in their communities, homes and schools, which leads to the promoting of public safety.  

Per the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program Announcement, the criminal justice field has initiated efforts to create and test new community-based collaborations that address crimnogenic risk factors through problem-solving courts like community courts, community corrections and diversion programs, and community-based offender reentry strategies programs.  Criminogenic risk factors as defined by this  announcement are (1) anti-social personality, (2) anti-social attitudes and values, (3) anti-social associates, (4) family dysfunction, (5) poor self-control, (6) poor problem-solving skills, (7) substance-abuse, and (8) lack of employment and/or employment skills. 

Our Anti-Bullying and Effective Communications Program, which addresses many of these risk factors,  impacts community awareness, crime prevention strategies, and the overall improvement of neighborhood economic activity when combined with Law Enforcement and other Social Service Agency collaborations.   

America’s detention center and jail populations are growing daily.  Could those numbers possibly decrease through a more effective communication skill set?  Should this population’s only options for learning communication skills be those they learn while living in a dysfunctional family environment…or while attending an over-crowded school…or while on the street?  The youth we serve are taught to communicate more clearly, more concisely and more effectively.  

Teen violence in adolescent relationships decreases measurably when addressed early through open communication. Would young women and men still experience the ramifications of teen violence to the degree and level now experienced by them if it were addressed earlier through open lines of communication?  Would they remain at higher risk for Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Risky Sexual Behavior, Suicide and Adult Re-victimization?  We do not think so. 

Youth who have run away or have been thrown away can be given the insight to “speak up” on their own behalf and to more clearly judge the nature and type of person(s) who confront them on the street. These youth will hopefully be at lower risk for Gang Involvement, Substance Abuse, Prostitution, Pornography,  Street Life, and Human Trafficking. Would 5,000 of these at-risk youth still die annually from Assault, Critical Illness or Suicide if they were better able to communicate their needs and to respond to situations and people rather than react to them?  We believe that this tragic figure would decline. 

Our Anti-Bullying and Effective Communication Program, consisting of two courses, The Anatomy of the Murder of a Bully and Express Yourself-A Course in Effective Communication, has been taught, to rave reviews, to vulnerable and at-risk students at AMIkids, DJJ Youth Probation Program, Girls’ Detention Center, Gulfstream Academy of Hallandale Beach, Memorial Healthcare System Community Youth Services Program, PACE Center for Girls, Walter C. Young Middle School and Whiddon-Rogers Education Center.  We have been asked by each organization, and the youth served by those organizations, to return because the information provided in these courses is addressing the needs of the youth.  In addition to the tools and skill-sets provided, this program so often brings hope to youth with few role models, and help in changing the cycle of early abuse, exploitation and manipulation they have experienced.  They find their voice.