For many years our youth services program was focused on reducing and preventing youth suicides. In recent years the program has expanded to include bullying, cyber-bullying, cutting, and other dangerous behaviors.
We make classroom presentations to thousands of students every year to discuss stresses in their lives and how to deal with them effectively. These stresses can include breakups with a boyfriend or girlfriend, problems at home, test taking, cultural assimilation issues, bullying, discrimination, peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol, and fear or confusion over sexual orientation. Oftentimes, in response, youths take unnecessary risks and act impulsively, sometimes with dire and permanent consequences. We help students understand that there are healthier ways to deal with stress.
We also lead workshops for parents, teachers, counselors, and other adults who have frequent interactions with youths. These workshops help adults identify kids at risk and teach effective intervention strategies.
Currently, we facilitate weekly support groups for high-risk teenage girls at four schools and one community center in Contra Costa County. The groups meet on campus during lunch hour and discuss issues of self-esteem, family dysfunction, academic pressure, peer pressure, etc.
In the near future we plan to provide opportunities for youths who are troubled or depressed to communicate with our crisis counselors online. We’ll announce this service when it’s available.