How Do You Help Young People Care?

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How Do You Help Young People Care About School?

By Sam Chaltain


This article was a fantastic read. It talks about a project in Baltimore called “Incentive Mentoring Program” which takes students who have been basically swept under the rug and ignored in normal systems and draws them in to this program that helps them see value in being at school. The keywords here are “never, ever give up.

I love it. So many students get swept aside every day, discounted as unable to be helped. Much of the time, it’s because something is missing in the things that they need to feel like school is more rewarding than the other (often not so great) choices offered out in the world. Sometimes it is as simple as knowing there is someone who cares enough to check on your progress. Sometimes the needs are greater and require a bit more effort from those involved.

In either instance, this is a fantastic example both of what I think of as Humanism, and Reconstructionism as well. After all, they are taking kids who had otherwise been discounted and telling them that they are worthwhile. They are creating a community where these students are valued, and thus value the environment of the school. I think we need more of that – giving reasons for students to actually want to attend, rather than punishing them when those reasons don’t exist.

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