Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Where Do Troubled Kids Go in the Summer?

As the school year starts to wind down, I'm getting worried about what will become of one of my students who's struggled with depression.  Because of the sensitive nature of this subject, I hesitate to say anything much about him, except that he seems isolated from his family and his (former) friends, and so I'm concerned about him being on his own for most of the summer.

There are summer programs for kids who need academic help, and jobs programs for kids who need money or resume building.  But I wish there was something for this middle-of-the-road student--or, rather, something he could be legally compelled to attend, since his lack of motivation probably will prevent him from getting out of bed to play basketball or swim or explore this great city.  He needs company and someone to talk to more than anyone else.  I'll stay in touch with him via e-mail over the summer, but is that really enough?

I think it speaks well of our school that we have such great systems in place during the school year.  We have three full-time guidance counselors, all of whom are wonderfully proactive and empathetic when it comes to troubled kids.  We have partnerships with several community agencies to provide extra counseling and activities like creative writing and peer mediation.  All of this is wonderful.  But I still fret over my kid who isn't doing any of this even with all of the support and encouragement we offer him in the school building, and he certainly won't do any of it over the summer.

If you know of any offerings in the city that you can share for the benefit of city kids who might need some extra support that's not necessarily academic over the summer, please share in the comments.
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