Cliff Davis has long been an advocate for children. Assisting at-risk kids is an important way to build communities and strengthen society as a whole. It is often difficult to know what these children need and how to help them. Below are a few key elements to consider when reaching out to at-risk youth.
Lasting relationships with adults
It is crucial that these kids have long-lasting relationships with adults. It takes time to build and maintain trust. In order for a child to listen and take advice from an adult, they need a strong and reliable bond. Teachers are often great mentors, but children move on to higher grades and lose contact with previous teachers. There is a high rate of turnover in the field of social work, so again it is challenging for children to create and keep relationships with social workers. In order to reach these kids, we must find ways to create sustaining relationships with them.
Media portrayals of extraordinary lifestyles make children believe these careers are common and attainable. Having unrealistic goals causes kids to become discouraged when they eventually realize it is unlikely they will ever reach their dreams. This is not to say that children should not be challenged. They should set high goals within realistic boundaries. Not everyone will be a professional athlete or famous musician. This is the reality, and these kids are especially vulnerable to believing media hype.
Young people need to know their destination and understand the path to arrive there. Otherwise, they are left wandering aimlessly. They require guidance by being shown a specific plan and understanding the rewards of arriving at their desired destination in life.
Children should be fully engaged in their communities. They must feel that they are a part of something. Positive reinforcement and a sense of belonging are significant factors in a child’s success.
There is no exact science to reaching at-risk children. These are just a few important factors that can help. The real key is to simply get started. Take that first step and reach out to a child in need.