"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

Today’s Youth Face Many Challenges

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The youth of our country are facing many challenges. They need support from their families, schools, and communities. If we can work together as a community to improve their lives then we will be able to reduce their problems. This can increase their chances of success in their education and life after school.

History of Poor Academic Performance and Chronic Absenteeism

In the past, many children have been left behind. They lack the support they need to succeed in school and get a good job. These students are more likely to drop out of school, get into trouble with the law, and have less access to healthcare services than those who graduate from high school on time with high grades.

The problem is not just that young people haven’t had enough opportunities, it’s also that they’re not getting them when they do have them

Lack of Academic and Community-Based Support Systems

In addition to the challenges inherent in working with youth, workers also face a lack of support systems and resources. Many youth have no access to adequate academic or community-based support systems. While there are many ways for young people to receive counseling services, it can be difficult for them to find a place where they feel comfortable enough with their counselor or therapist.

It is difficult because they’re worried they’ll be judged or embarrassed when sharing personal stories. This can make it difficult for them to seek help when needed during times such as puberty or when they need guidance on issues such as sexuality and consenting partner relations.

The lack of education about mental health among youth also contributes significantly to this problem. Many people do not understand how important it is for young people who experience stressors such as school failure or family problems. However, these factors do not necessarily mean that someone has an issue with depression or anxiety unless diagnosed by doctors who specialize in dealing with these disorders.

Learning disabilities, mental health issues, and other special needs

Learning disabilities, mental health issues, and other special needs can make it difficult for a person to work with youths. Mentoring is an excellent way to support individuals with these challenges in their work with youth. Mentors can help them understand the importance of positive relationships and healthy self-esteem; they can provide opportunities for professional development; and they can provide guidance on how best to use technology in their own or others’ programs.

While mentoring may seem like a straightforward option for working with youth who have disabilities or other special needs, there are many questions that need answering before anyone starts this kind of relationship:

  • What type of relationship will you have with your mentee? Is this going to be one-on-one time only i.e., no group activities involved), or more collaborative?
  • Will your mentoring style include specific tasks such as sending emails/emails updates on progress throughout the day? Or would it be more hands-off in nature where someone else could take over if needed?

People Want to Help

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There are many people who want to work with youth but find it hard due to a lack of resources, training, and support.

There is also a shortage of qualified staff who can help you with your projects.

Unsafe Communities, Substance Abuse, and Gang Violence

In many communities, it’s not just the youth who need help. The community itself is unsafe and people are afraid to go out. Drugs and gangs are also a problem in some neighborhoods. There are many ways you can help your community become safer and healthier.

People could talk with others about what they would do if they were in charge of their own neighborhood. Ask questions like:

  • What could we do better?
  • How could we make our streets safer for everyone?

One way is by getting rid of drugs, and gangs, and making sure kids don’t have weapons at school or in parks.

Homelessness or Unstable Housing and Family Situations

Homelessness is a serious issue that affects youth in many ways. It can be difficult to know how to help, but there are some things you can do.

  • Supply food and shelter. Many homeless children do not receive enough nutrition or sleep, which can lead to health problems like poor growth and mental illness. In addition, it’s important that they have access to clean water so they don’t develop diseases like typhoid fever or cholera.
  • Provide education. For example, if a child lives in an area where the school/library closes early because it doesn’t have electricity or any other reason, then that child may not get an education at all. You could offer classes in your own home. However, if this isn’t possible then consider offering programs through local schools or community centers instead. These areas might also accept donations of books for students who need them.

Youth as a Broad Category

Youth is a broad category of people who are of various ages from adolescents to adults. At times, youth can be mislabeled as adults or juveniles because they are not legally considered adults until the age of 18 in most states. In reality, many people in this category are still learning how to navigate adulthood and its challenges and they need their help more than ever before.

By Roy Charo

Sources:

Verywell Family: 10 Social Issues and Problems That Trouble Today’s Teens
Pew Research Center: The concerns and challenges of being a U.S. teen: What the data show
JBCN School: Common Teenage Problems And Their Solutions

Images Courtesy of TNS Staff

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