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3rd Annual 'LOVE IS ALIVE BBQ' - FEEDING OUR YOUTH

Helping the Homeless Youth in Hollywood is a Group Effort

Hollywood was helping the homeless on Saturday, June 17th, 2017 as they came together to offer the Third Annual LOVE is Alive BBQ.  The annual event was organized by the L.O.V.E Foundation,a non-profit that services disenfranchised youth in Los Angeles, and H.B. Barnum's LIFE Choir in order to inspire and empower adolescents to consistently live a life of divine vision and purpose.  The event was coordinated in conjunction with Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman, the Los Angeles Chapter of The Way to Happiness, the LIFE Choir, In and Out Burgers Foundationand the Los Angeles Chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World.

The Love is Alive BBQ was hosted at the Church of Scientology's Information Center on Hollywood Blvd where homeless youth received food and a dignity kit that included hygiene products and other useful supplies. 

The LA Mayor's Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (GRYD ) brought in one of the nation's leading nonprofit fiscal sponsors, PHFE (Public Health Foundation Enterprises) who has served nonprofit and government agencies since 1968. The GRYD Foundation believes that no one's potential should be limited or cut short because of their zip code.  Their mission is to strengthen Los Angeles communities impacted by gang violence, poverty and unemployment.

The In and Out Foundation sent the In and Out Mobile Kitchen to the event and donated 500 free meals for the homeless.  The youth were also gifted free better living guidebooks called The Way to Happiness along with Truth About Drugs Booklets (including Truth About Marijuana, Cocaine, Prescription Drugs and more) which were offered free of charge by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World.

Attendees were entertained by the HO3 Band, an incredibly professional teenage cover band that donates their time and talent to charitable causes. All the members of this band are 14-17 years old. Also, entertaining the crowd was the Life Choir, directed by multi-gold record singer musician and writer H.B. Barnum, and an up-and-coming artist, De Jesus.

2016 in Review

We are so honored and privileged to serve our Hollywood community by creating so many impactful service projects and workshops for our disenfranchised youth and the community at large in 2016. 

Our resource and referral events in 2106 were a huge success.  Our annual Thanksgiving Love Feast served over 800 meals for the Hollywood community and our temporarily homeless youth.  This event serves as a building block for community and family.  With our partners H.B. Barnum and The Life Choir and the Office of Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, spearheaded by our H.B.I.C. Cindy Ramsey, we were able to anchor love and fellowship for all those in attendance. Along with live performances of the The Life Choir, Heather Powers, and DJ Michael Powers.

Our annual 'LOVE IS ALIVE BBQ' in June again saw us serve over 250 temporarily homeless youth with a celebration of life and love.  We served over 300 hamburgers and hot dogs for the event and had a slew of live entreatment - DJ Robert Gonzalez and the powerful artist Heather Powers. A beautiful day celebrating our youth and providing for a resource of stability and hope for their lives.

April's street cleanup and street store made a huge impact on the lives of our temporarily homeless youth and adults.  Our presence in the community brought awareness to the homeless epidemic that is taking place in our community.

Throughout the year, we produced powerful workshops for our temporarily homeless youth that forevermore transformed their lives through awareness and education.

'STREET STORE' EVENT - Hollywood Recreation Center, California

On Saturday, April 16th, 2016, L.O.V.E. Foundation partnered with numerous community organizations to host the 'Street Store' Event at the Hollywood Recreation Center servicing temporarily homeless youth and temporarily homeless adults in Hollywood, California and the greater Los Angeles area.  We partnered with Los Angeles City Council Member Mitch O'Farrell's office, California State Assemblymen's offices Mike Gatto and Richard Bloom, the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and the City of Los Angeles Aquatic Division.  Our communities partners included Street Store, HavASole foundation, Aztecs Rising, Project Q,  and volunteer organizations of UCLA Student Union.

We served over 500 people.  Hint water donated over 500 bottles of flavored water and we gave out 900 bottles of water in total, 200 burritos, and 200 peanut butter an jelly sandwiches.  Supplies given to our temporarily homeless youth and adults included: 250 backpacks with hygiene product, 200 brand new pairs of shoes, and clothing.  We provided 100 showers to those in need.  Live music provided by Heather and Michael Powers and an incredible DJ spun the hits.

A huge thank you to all for making the day so special.

 

 

 

'SWEEPING OUR STREETS WITH LOVE' EVENT - The Streets of Hollywood, California

On Saturday, April 16, 2016 we produced our amazing community event 'Sweeping Our Streets with Love' to support our temporarily homeless youth and raise community awareness as to the staggering number of homeless youth on the streets of Hollywood every night.  Every night we have over 6,000 homeless youth on the streets of Los Angeles.  

Our street cleanup was such a success because we brought together numerous community partners and our temporarily homeless youth for a common cause.  We created a strong sense of community and unity for our youth, instilling love and hope for all those involved, with approximately 400 in attendance cleaning the streets of Hollywood together - politicians, community leaders and organizers, volunteers, and our temporarily homeless youth working side by side to enrich the quality of our community of Hollywood.  

We produced our street cleanup with the Office of Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, District 13 - Hollywood, The Way to Happiness Organization, and the Los Angeles Department of Streets and Sanitation provided all the tools and equipment for the street cleanup.  State Assemblyman Mike Gatto's office was in attendance and presented Certificates of Appreciation for the non-profit organizations in attendance.  Spearheaded by Community Organizer for the Office of Councilmember O’Farrell, Sylvan De La Cruz, we were able to plant a beautiful tree outside of Javista Organic Coffee Shop to commemorate the day.  

Javista hosted the launch of the event at their location on Sunset Blvd. just east of Highland in the heart of Hollywood.  The launch was hosted by the talented Jonathon Bennett.  Our partners for the street cleanup included a powerful performance by the amazingly talented Urbanlights Choir, American Street Kid Filmmakers, HavASole Organization, Project Q, and Let's Give Organization. 

We marched the streets of Hollywood cleaning and signing while sweeping the street with love, music, and hard work to make our streets a better place.  We began at Javista Organic Coffee Shop on Sunset Blvd. and then proceeded west on Sunset, north on Highland, and then east on Hollywood Blvd.  We had an intermission at The Way to Happiness Foundation parking lot on Hollywood Blvd. with refreshments and lights snacks with an incredible performance once agin by the angelic voices of the Urbanlights Choir.  The cleanup continued east on Hollywood Blvd to Cahuenga.  We then went south on Cahuenga where we ended the street sweep at the Hollywood Recreation Center for the pop-up Street Store for our homeless youth and homeless population at large.

The street sweep was truly an electric and eclectic day of love!  

 

 

'LOVE AND SOLE' EVENT - Covenant House, Oakland, California

       On Monday, March 7, 2016, we had the opportunity and privilege to caravan with HavASole to Oakland, CA on the first leg of their west coast tour delivering new Nike tennis shoes to those in need.  We left that Monday morning at 5:30am.  As we began our ascension through the mountain pass of the Grapevine, the sun began to rise on the day as the rain began to heavily fall from the sky.  As we continued our climb through the mountains and the daylight began to break the darkness of the sky, snow began to fall.  We could see snow capped mountain tops as we made our way through the mountains.  As we began our descension into the Central Valley of California, the clouds began to breakaway and the sunlight penetrated the day.  Our travel was safe and filled with sunshine with minimal and light rain as we entered the Bay Area, arriving in Oakland midday.

          Our first stop when entering Oakland was Covenant House Oakland, nestled blocks away from Jack London Square overlooking the San Francisco Bay.  We spent the first part of the afternoon meeting staff and touring the awesome grounds and facility.  The Golden State Warriors, along with Ikea, recently completed a major renovation for Covenant House, upgrading the rooms at the facility.  We spent the rest of the afternoon sorting and organizing shoes in preparation for the 5:00pm event and giveaway with the youth residing at Covenant House.  And MEND Poverty graciously donated 350lbs. of fruits, chips, and pastries for the the trip.  The kitchen was grateful for the apples and bananas

          Just before 5:00pm, Rikki, Dash, Isaiah, and I brought the over 35 pairs of shoes to the rooftop and nicely organized them by size and separated them by male and female shoes.  We started the event in the lobby with the youth introducing ourselves and explaining why we were there.  Our Vice-President, Jeanne Phillips, was in attendance for the event since she resides in the Bay Area.  Rikki and Dash introduced us and the youth to their local support team.  The youth enjoyed picking out a pair of new Nike tennis shoes.  We ate pizza, talked, and got to know the kids.  We took pictures and mostly importantly, we shared some unconditional love.  Our time at Covenant House Oakland was so special and we are so grateful that we accompanied HavASole on the road trip.  We look forward to returning to visit again soon.  

- Greg

'LOVE IS FOR REALS' EVENT - Saturday, February 13, 2016

Written by Jo Cheryl Holcombe:

Our "Love is for Reals" event at the Los Angeles LGBT Youth Center, included a discussion with the youth about LOVE facilitated by Greg Johnson, founder of The L.O.V.E. Foundation www.lovefoun.org....we served over 50 youths in person and left food and clothing donations for others

Thank you to all who helped and especially Cindy Ramsey who contributed in a big way rounding up food and clothing donations. AND thank you Greg for organizing and creating such a wonderful event AS ALWAYS....fun, enrichment, filled with love...thank you to MEND Poverty in Pacoima for all the food donations.

Martin Luther King, Jr. on the three kinds of love:

“Eros..a romantic love for your mate. It’s inevitably a little selfish. You love your lover because there is something about your lover that moves you. It may be the way he talks or the way he walks or the personality or the physical beauty or the intellectual power– but it’s always based on that there’s something that attracts you.”

“Philia…intimate affection between personal friends. These are people you like. It’s reciprocal love. You love because you are loved. You love the people that you like. People that you like to sit down at the table and eat dinner with. People you dial the phone and talk to. People you go out with. This is friendship.”

“Agape…is more than romantic love… more than friendship…it’s understanding. It is creative and redeeming good will toward all men. It is the love of God operating in the human heart. It is the overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. And when you rise to love on this level, you love people who don’t move you. You love those that you don’t like. You love those whose ways are distasteful to you. You love every man because God loves him.”

Multicultural Considerations for Human Services Provided to Minority Adolescents

 Multicultural Considerations for Human Services Provided to Minority Adolescents 

Gregory D. Johnson

Abstract

The research collected identified multicultural considerations for human services provided to minority adolescents. The multicultural considerations may be explored based upon an individual and a group context. When considering multicultural factors based upon on an individual bases, the research indicated the importance of religion and spirituality as beneficial considerations to safeguard adolescents from negative societal impacts. Spirituality has positive impacts on numerous categories of the adolescents’ lives. Racial and ethnic identities are contributing factors for the well being of disenfranchised adolescents. Self-distraction coping skills have been identified as a multicultural factor for dealing with stress. When dealing with multicultural issues pertaining to disenfranchised adolescents due to the homeless condition, ethical considerations, informed consent, minimal risk, incentives, and balancing privacy with safety are key components to be addressed on an individual level. Other multicultural factors governing homeless adolescents are bonds of family, religion, street language, economics, and music. Multicultural considerations may be addressed at a group level when offering human services to minority adolescents. Research indicated the importance of offering trauma-informed treatment to minority youth in poverty stricken urban areas. As well, the research indicated the importance of addressing minority issues of ethnicity and peer interaction with like minority members to promote positive ethnic identity. Within the group setting, considerations of social variables, mechanisms of stratification and segregation with minority groups may be addressed in order to promote social competence. Programs of empowerment for adolescents have been identified as having positive outcomes for disenfranchised minorities. 

Keywords: multicultural considerations, human services, minority adolescents

Individual Considerations: Religion and Spirituality

        Spirituality and religion are important individual multicultural factors to consider when delivering optimal human services to minority adolescents. “Among American adolescents, 95% state that they believe in God, over 85% say religion is important in their life, and close to 50% claim that they frequently pray alone” (Yeh, Borrero, & Shea, 2011, p. 186). Yeh, Borrero, & Shea (2011) studied the life of a Samoan high school student to understand the importance of spirituality and religion in the lives of minority adolescents as well as examining past studies on the effects of spirituality on the lives of minority adolescents. The research indicated the importance of religious and spiritual beliefs for minority adolescents. With minority youth, spirituality is a key component because it is a factor that influences all aspect of minority adolescents’ lives. Urban schools, urban non-profit organizations, and human services being delivered in urban settings may consider spiritual beliefs and spiritual practices when serving ethnic minorities because for this population spirituality is a key component of their well-being. Ethnic minorities were prone to having some sort of spiritual practice; rather than viewing spirituality as a separate component of life independent of the physical, mental, and emotional, spiritual practice was seen as an interconnected part of the whole for their lives. Ethnic minorities viewed spiritual practice as a healing modality of life (Yeh et al., 2011). 

        When ethnic minorities are involved in religion or applying a spiritual practice in their lives, the outcomes may be far reaching and positive. As a result of spiritual practice, adolescents have a greater capacity for external control, emotional coping mechanisms, and may view life through different perspectives. The personification of spirituality had psychologically and physically positive affects on ethnic minorities, which led to lower symptoms of depression and stress for adolescents. Adolescents’ socioemotional competence and adjustment were positively affected. Spirituality had positive effects on self-esteem and psychological functioning (Yeh et al., 2011). 

        With individual American counseling, counselors may not be prepared to address counseling from a spiritual standpoint as the counselor may see spirituality as separate from other elements of counseling. The human services provider may consider incorporating spirituality as part of the counseling process for ethnic minorities in order to fully embrace the multicultural considerations of this population. The research of Yeh et al. (2011) indicated that American counselors may embrace spiritual practice as a healing modality for disenfranchised ethnic minorities in urban settings. Human services providers may find it useful to incorporate conversation regarding spirituality and its impact on identity formation and scholastic well-being with ethnic minorities within the counseling setting. The research indicated spirituality as a positive component for delivering effective human services to disenfranchised adolescents (Yeh et al., 2011). 

        Further, religion and spirituality may play a significant role in positive mental health outcomes for ethnic minority and disenfranchised adolescents. Huculak and McLennan (2010) conducted research with three hundred twenty-five high-risk Brazilian adolescents, specifically incarcerated youth in Sao Paulo. The research concluded that spirituality and institutionalized religion had a positive impact on the mental health and well-being of these Brazilian adolescents. Spirituality and religion assisted in safe guarding the adolescents from the negative outcomes of exposure to daily stressors and violence. Huculak and McLennan’s (2010) research identified religion and spirituality as pertinent components for offering effective human services to disenfranchised adolescents, specifically those that are currently incarcerated or formerly incarcerated (Huculak & McLennan, 2010). 

        According to Huculak & McLennan’s (2010) research, most of the incarcerated Brazilian youth believed in God or spirituality. These adolescents experienced “strength, peace, harmony, protection, and closeness to God associated with their spirituality or religion” (Huculak & McLennan, 2010, p. 473). The experience of God’s spiritual qualities by the incarcerated youth may serve to protect and safeguard the disenfranchised adolescent’s mental health from stressful events and traumatic experiences. Spirituality may impact the mental health of adolescents positively because of its innate power for self-transcendence, which empowers the self to believe in something greater than self and place its attention on something sacred beyond the confines and limitations of the ego (Huculak & McLennan, 2010). 

Individual Considerations: Racial and Ethnic Identity

        Awareness of racial and ethnic identity is of valuable consideration when examining multicultural factors which enhance the optimal delivery of human services for ethnic minorities. Optimal human services offered to ethnic minorities may examine the importance culture, race, and ethnicity plays in shaping the human development of the adolescent’s life. Williams, Tolan, Durkee, Francois, and Anderson (2012) with the University of Virginia researched the effects of racial and ethnic identity (REI) on the well-being of minority adolescents. Williams et al. (2012) used preexisting studies and data to research this topic, although research for REI tended to focus on black adolescents. The research indicated that the issues of racial and ethnic identity serve the ethnic minority adolescents’ lives when proper attention is given to these important themes. Research concluded that attention to REI considerations has a positive impact on adolescents’ lives beyond the realm of racial and ethnic identity. The impact of inclusion of REI development in counseling, school programs, and non-profit organizations may positively impact all areas of adolescents’ lives. Rather than REI being a consideration for some groups or individuals, REI may be considered as an integral component for all groups and individuals, supporting positive self-esteem and self-worth (Williams, Tolan, Durkee, Francois, & Anderson, 2012). “As youth start to consider their position in, and connection to, a group, racial- or ethnic-group orientation is likely to depend on recognition of the meaning of group identity for opportunity, status, and affiliation with others” (Williams, Tolan, Durkee, Francois, & Anderson, 2012, p. 306). An individual within an ethnic minority group may attain meaning in his or her identity by exploring and understanding his or her race and ethnicity through exploration within the counseling setting (Williams et al., 2012). 

        Additionally, awareness of ethnic identity has been indentified as a positive tool in assisting urban minority groups with processing and coping with the negative effects of racial prejudice and socioeconomic status. Vera, Vacek, Coyle, Stinson, Mull, Doud, and Langrehr (2011) studied one hundred fifty-seven urban minority adolescents through the method of questionnaires to determine factors that support the coping with racial prejudice and socioeconomic status. The research identified awareness of ethnic identity as a key factor in positively processing discrimination and life satisfaction for ethnic urban adolescents (Vera, Vacek, Coyle, Stinson, Mull, Doud, & Langrehr, 2011). “Ethnic identity can serve as a moderator of the relations between stress and negative affect/life satisfaction” (Vera, Vacek, Coyle, Stinson, Mull, Doud, & Langrehr, 2011, p. 66). A keen awareness of ethnic identity has the capacity to safeguard urban minority adolescents from the ill effects of race related stressors on their mental well being. As well, self-distraction coping mechanisms and avoidant coping mechanisms assisted adolescents in positively processing urban troubles and stress. Ethnic minority adolescents living in urban settings may encounter stressors from racial discrimination and socioeconomic status, but the research indicated that with proper guidance in understanding the individual’s ethnic identity by means of delivering optimal human services the minority adolescent may be empowered to effectively cope with these seeming disadvantages with positive behaviors (Vera et al., 2012). 

Individual Considerations: Homeless Minority Adolescents

        Since the homeless population of ethnic minority adolescents is prevalent, multicultural considerations may be examined in order to deliver effective human services to this population. Koller, Raffaelli, and Carlo (2012) conducted research with homeless adolescents on the street of Brazil to determine ethical considerations when working with homeless minority youth. Koller et al. (2012) set out to indentify possible ethical and logistical challenges researchers faced when conducting research with sensitive and disenfranchised populations, in this instance with homeless Brazilian adolescents. The research implicated various ethical factors to consider when upholding the rights of disenfranchised adolescents who have been exploited and abused by means of drug use and trafficking, sexual exploitation, or have been incarcerated. One of the ethical considerations is gaining informed consent for the adolescent’s participation in services and studies. The concept of minimal risk is another deciding ethical factor when considering if a homeless adolescent is appropriate to partake in a study. Minimal risk means that by the adolescent participating in the research at hand, the risk associated with being involved in the study is less than the risk the adolescent endures in his or her daily life. Often times when conducting research, incentives are offered for the individual’s participation. Offering homeless adolescents incentives becomes an ethical consideration because the homeless adolescent may be easily swayed to participate in research due to his or her living variables. Lastly, balancing privacy with the safety of the adolescent is an ethical consideration for researchers and human services professionals. Researchers may witness homeless adolescents partaking in behaviors that are illegal and unsafe. Researchers have to weigh the importance of confidentiality with the individual’s safety (Koller, Raffaelli, & Carlo, 2012). 

        When offering human services to homeless adolescents from all racial groups, researchers, counselors, practitioners, and human services providers “must confront an array of methodological and ethical considerations” (Koller, Raffaelli, & Carlo, 2012, p. 57). Homeless and impoverished adolescents present many challenges to consider when delivering human services to ethnic minority adolescents that include issues of human rights, welfare, and policy. By considering the multicultural ethical factors of service that affect the delivery of human services to homeless adolescents, safety and trust may be established between the professional offering services and the homeless individual (Koller et al., 2012). 

        The homeless condition for ethnic minorities presents a diverse culture of its own, which is quite different from mainstream culture. Joanne Oliveira and Pamela Burke (2009) conducted research with nineteen homeless adolescents in an urban northeast setting of the United States. Research was conducted by means of observation and recorded interviews of participants. The reason for their research was to explore the culture of homeless youth in the United States. Roughly 1.7 million adolescents are homeless in the United States (Oliveria & Burke, 2009). “Findings revealed that homeless adolescents fashioned a defined culture of unprecedented freedom and baffling complexity that is neither seen nor imagined by mainstream society” (Oliveira & Burke, 2009, p. 159). The homeless culture has a unique set of rules, values, and codes, but lacks structure, morality, and consistency (Oliveria & Burke, 2009). 

        The homeless condition for adolescents is caused by several reasons: physical or sexual abuse, sexual orientation, family neglect or abuse, or emancipation from foster care. Religion was one of the strongest bonds that the homeless individuals shared. Family was an important cultural consideration for the street kids as they had formed new families with each other. Music was an important aspect of their survival and peace. The homeless group had a shared street language. The shared street economy was selling drugs and all the participants used drugs. When offering effective human services to homeless ethnic adolescents, professionals may consider engaging individuals by bridging cultural differences by means of these identified and important factors (Oliveira, & Burke, 2009).

Group Considerations: Trauma-Informed Treatment

        Trauma-informed treatment is an important multicultural component when effectively counseling minority youth and offering optimal human services. Becker, Greenwald, and Mitchell (2011) researched the impact of the trauma-informed treatment approach with fifty-nine minority children living in urban areas with a multicultural makeup. This neighborhood had little access to human services. Becker et al. (2011) studied minority youth with presenting behavioral issues, which ultimately were identified as caused by post-traumatic stress. When trauma memories of minority youth are not properly identified and treated, significant emotional, behavioral, educational, and health problems may arise. When focusing on trauma-informed treatment, individuals may be hesitant to continue with treatment because of post-traumatic symptoms of avoidance and lack of optimism (Becker, Greenwald, & Mitchell, 2011). 

        The research of Becker et al. (2011) indicated that poor minority youth have trouble accessing human services because of lack of funds, fear of entering into a system, and parents not speaking the language. Researchers made the services accessible to youth by locating the services within the disenfranchised community, offering services in the native tongue, offering techniques which embraced the values of the community and family, and serving the clients with the individual’s goals in mind (Becker et al., 2011). 

        Frequently minority youth are penalized for the presenting behavioral problems and labeled negatively, rather than getting appropriate treatment for the underlying cause of presenting problems, which is exposure to trauma. As the research indicated when minority youth are offered culturally appropriate counseling, the approach is effective in assisting with presenting problems. The research indicated the importance of cultivating awareness for trauma-informed treatment for disenfranchised urban youth (Becker, et al., 2011). 

Group Considerations: Ethnic Identity Development

        Exploration of ethnic identity within the group counseling setting is a beneficial consideration for ethnic minority youth. The American School Counselor Association (2008) denotes “the use of group as an efficient, effective and positive intervention for addressing youth development, and one that can increase youth insight regarding self and others, foster supportive peer relationships, and help individuals cope with life stressors” (Malott, Paone, Humphreys, & Martinez, 2010, p. 257). Human services offered in group settings to minority youth may be valuable because multicultural issues may be explored and services rendered may address the needs of diverse cultures. Within the group setting, individuals may experience as sense of ethnic pride by identifying with the group and making a commitment to the group (Malott, Paone, Humphreys, & Martinez, 2010). 

        Malott, Paone, Humphreys, and Martinez (2010) conducted research with twenty-three Mexican adolescents who migrated from Mexico and are now living in rural setting in the northeast United States. The adolescents participated in a group counseling setting to assist with issues of identity, fostering change through relationships and identifications within the group, increased relational skills, and greater awareness with issues of ethnicity, including culture and ethnic identity. Due to the process of group counseling the Mexican adolescents gained knowledge and acceptance of the new white culture they lived in and gained insights that not all white people are racist, shifting their perception of the white dominant culture. Participants also realized a heightened sense of ethnic pride by discussing their Mexican heritage in the group setting. Relational skills improved as a result of the group setting. Participants shared that they were able to communicate better, had more patience, and had more respect toward others. Participants were satisfied with the opportunity to discuss and share their ethnic identity with each other without being judged. Latinos dealt with greater stresses brought on by prejudices. Latinos tended to dismiss human services for many reasons, including language barrier, perceived racism within the school setting, and culturally irrelevant services. Although Latinos were inclined not to participate in human services for various reasons, many benefits came of the human services offered in the group setting, when conducted in a culturally aware manner (Malott et al., 2010). 

Group Considerations: Social Competence

        Social competence for minority youth may be addressed by offering group counseling techniques that include treatment for dealing with inhibiting environments of discrimination. Minority youth experience patterns of development and social competence that vary from nonminority youth based upon the individual’s environment and unique characteristics (Myrick, & Martorell, 2011). The factors may be, but not limited to, “racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression, and segregation” (Myrick & Martorell, 2011, p. 488). 

        Myrick and Martorell (2011) researched three hundred twenty adolescents using questionnaires regarding social competence with minority and nonminority youth. The research explored the connections of discrimination, ethnic identity, attachment, and social competence. Research indentified that discrimination with minority groups had negative implications for social competence. Attachment was a buffering consideration against discrimination but was only prevalent in minority groups. The research indentified factors of socialization that are shared by nonminority and minority adolescents that includes promoting or inhibiting environments, adaptive culture, child characteristics, family, and developmental competencies. Factors of socialization which are not shared by both groups, but only prevalent in nonminority groups are identified as social position variables, mechanisms of stratification, and segregation. To promote social competence among minority youth, human services must address the issues of discrimination, racism, oppression, and segregation. By equipping minority adolescents with education relating to cultural oppression, the youth are empowered to effectively cope with and transmute oppression in positive ways. Minority youth may embrace a higher level of social integration and interaction (Myrick, & Martorell, 2011). 

Group Considerations: Programs of Empowerment

        Human services offering programs of empowerment for ethnic minorities is of important consideration. “Empowerment has been defined as a process of increasing personal, interpersonal, or political power so that individuals, families, and communities can take action to improve their life situations’’ (Pearrow & Pollack, 2009, p. 46). Pearrow and Pollack (2009) researched the implications of teen empowerment. By providing disenfranchised adolescents with empowerment groups and education, adolescents may embody a greater capacity to effectively handle social injustice. When provided with empowerment programs, minority adolescents showed improved aptitude for group bonding, mental health, and scholastic performance. Other benefits are increased self-awareness and social achievement. The research identified programs of empowerment as a key multicultural consideration for offering human services to disenfranchised adolescents (Pearrow, & Pollack, 2009). 

Conclusion

        As the research indicated, minority adolescents may encounter a plethora of issues which are unique to their condition based upon ethnicity and disenfranchisement due to race. The effects of racism, discrimination, oppression, and segregation based upon culture, language barriers, and socioeconomic factors may be circumvented by providing  effective human services specific to the minority adolescent’s life experience. Individual considerations for empowering our minority youth may include the utilization of religious and spiritual tools to bring forth healing and transformation from oppression and violence. Racial and ethnic identities are important factors to be addressed and explored in order to strengthen the individual minority youth. When providing human services for ethnic homeless youth, professionals may consider a heightened sensitivity which is specific to the homeless condition. When human services are offered in a group counseling setting for minority youth, the research indicated that awareness of racial identity and ethnic identity are important factors to be considered. As well, social competence among minority youth may be supported by exploring the inhibiting multicultural sanctions ethnic minorities face in our society. By offering human services which promote empowerment among our disenfranchised minority adolescents, our youth are better equipped to effectively process and overcome the effects of cultural oppression. When human services address the differing conditions of human development for ethnic adolescents, these youth may live lives that are fulfilling and productive despite the perceived exploitations of society. 

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d=16&sid=a4cfd170-04e4-48a7-988a-67c8a81840c9%40sessionmgr 

110&hid=128 

 

Williams, J., Tolan, P. H., Durkee, M. I., Francois, G., & Anderson, R. E. (2012). 

Integrating racial and ethnic identity research into developmental 

understanding of adolescents. Child Development Perspectives, 6(3), 304-311. 

doi:10.1111/j.1750-8606.2012.00235.x 

 

Yeh, C. J., Borrero, N. E., & Shea, M. (2011). Spirituality as a cultural asset for 

culturally diverse youth in urban schools. Counseling & Values, 55(2), 185- 

198. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu: 

2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=19&sid=a4cfd170-04e4-48a7-988a-

67c8a81840c9%40sessionmgr110&hid=128

Parenting Styles and Attachment Disorder

Parenting Styles and Attachment Disorder

According to the report, Attachment Disorder, Basic Trust and Educational Psychology, King and Newnham define attachment disorder as more of a description rather than a physiological diagnosis based upon their study of Bowlby’s work regarding attachment disorder, Randolph’s description of Attachment Disorder, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder on Reactive Attachment Disorder (King & Newnham, 2011).  According to their research, the early relationship between mother and child form the basis and foundation of the child’s relationship with its parents and the future relationships of the child throughout the entirety of its life (King &Newnham, 2011).  In the formative years of a child, the child develops trust based upon the parenting styles of his or her parents (King & Newnham, 2011).  According to King and Newnham, “Secure attachment” stems from parents that offer a nurturing and comforting response to the child’s needs and “not secure attachment” stems from parents that neglect the needs of their child (p, 29).  The early bond between parent and child creates lasting personality traits within the child, which dictate the child’s formation of relationships throughout its lifetime (King &Newnham, 2011).  

In the textbook, Development across the Lifespan, Robert Feldman describes four distinct parenting styles and the effects these styles have on the attachment development of children (Feldman, 2011).  The four parenting styles discussed by Feldman are: authoritarian, permissive, authoritative, and uninvolved (p. 251).  According to Feldman, the most beneficial parenting style is authoritative, which is strict in nature allowing for firm limits, yet at the same time is nurturing to the emotional needs of the child. (Feldman, 2011).  Authoritative parents allow the child to be independent through communication and giving explanations as to why the child should act in a certain way (Feldman, 2011).  Children raised by authoritative parents are likeable, independent, assertive, motivated, able to form positive friendships, and have a strong awareness, which enables them to effectively steward their behavior (Feldman, 2011). 

Children raised with authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved parents are not as well adjusted as children that are raised by authoritative parents, which model loving and kind ways of interacting (Feldman, 2011).  Authoritarian parents are completely inflexible and do not allow for the child’s disobedience, which creates a child that is extremely hostile and withdrawn (Feldman, 2011).  Permissive parents exhibit very little concern for the child and accept little to no responsibility in raising their child, creating a child that is totally reliant on the parent and moody (Feldman, 2011). The uninvolved parent in extreme cases would be considered neglectful because they reject the child and are emotionally uninvolved; creating a child that is emotionally disrupted and unable to feel loved and valued (Feldman, 2011).

Based upon the research of King and Newnham and Feldman’s description of parenting styles, authoritative parenting is the best method of achieving positive attachment behaviors in children (Feldman, 2011; King & Newnham, 2011). In addition, the research of King and Newnham along with Feldman’s description of parenting styles indicates that authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved parenting styles create attachment disorders within children that may last throughout their lives (Feldman, 2011; King & Newnham, 2011).

References

Feldman, R. S.  (2011).  Development across the life span (6th ed.).  Upper Saddle River,           

NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

 

King, M. G. & Newnham, K. (2011).  Attachment disorder, basic trust and educational

psychology.  Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, 8,

(27-35). Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ815645.pdf

Powerful Techniques and Tools for Supporting Adolescents' Maturation and Development

Supporting Adolescents

 Adolescence is a time of significant change on many different levels - physically, mentally, emotionally, behaviorally, and sexually (Feldman, 2011).  The adolescent’s brain is rapidly changing, which allows for greater cognitive ability and abstract thinking that propels the individual to explore his or her individuality and autonomy (Feldman, 2011).  The prefrontal cortex of the adolescent’s brain, which controls emotion and impulsivity, is still maturing and may be one of the causes of his or her risky behaviors (Feldman, 2011).  In addition, the changing body of the adolescent, due to puberty, adds the influence of increasing hormones for the teenager to contend with on a daily basis (Feldman, 2011).  The adolescent gravitates and associates more with peer groups and friends searching for his or her identity (Feldman, 2011).  During this radically shifting time of individualization and autonomy seeking (Feldman, 2011), what is the best method of supporting adolescents in making good choices which will prevent them from suffering long lasting repercussions of poor or negative behaviors?

Dr. Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman’s book, How God Changes Your Brain, offers practical ways in which one can enhance and strengthen his or her brain by cultivating a relationship with God (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).  Since the adolescent’s brain is in a state of change and transformation, the adolescent must be given effective tools in order to cope and process these changes (Feldman, 2011).  Newberg and Waldman offer four powerful tools that assist in strengthening the brain of adolescents (Newberg & Waldman, 2009). 

Meditation and prayer are useful in strengthening the brain because the process of meditation and prayer releases hormones which affect physical and emotional health, allowing for the teen to be more relaxed (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).  By practicing meditation and prayer, the individual will feel the “positive effects on cognition, relaxation, and psychological health” (Newberg & Waldman, 2009, p. 159).  Meditation and prayer reduces the likelihood of risky behaviors such as smoking and drinking (Newberg & Waldman, 2009). 

Aerobic exercise is a powerful mechanism in which the brain is strengthened (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).  Aerobic exercises include cardiovascular workouts, stretching, or yoga (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).  Aerobic exercise positively affects academic performance, improves cognitive abilities, and decreases anxiety (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).  

Dialoging with others, specifically compassionate communication, enhances the functioning of the adolescent brain (Newberg & Waldman, 2009). Compassionate communication allows the adolescent an enhanced level of emotional and psychological stability (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).  By effectively engaging in compassionate communication with friends and parents, the adolescent is less prone to anger and frustration because the individual is being positively and socially stimulated (Newberg & Waldman, 2009). 

Finally faith plays an integral role in strengthening the brain of adolescents (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).  By embracing faith in one’s beliefs and God, an individual neurologically promotes good mental health and stability while maintaining a sense of healthy ambition (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).

The four tools offered by Dr. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, meditation and prayer, aerobic exercise, compassionate communication, and faith offer our adolescents positive and long lasting methods to positively navigate the teenage years, thus becoming well adjusted adults (Newberg & Waldman, 2009).

References

Feldman, R. S.  (2011).  Development across the life span (6th ed.).  Upper Saddle River,         

NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Newberg, A., & Waldman, M. R. (2009).  How God changes your brain. New York, NY:

Ballantine Books

 

Delivering Optimal Human Services for Disenfranchised Adolescents

Delivering Optimal Human Services for Disenfranchised Adolescents

Gregory D. Johnson

Abstract

The research identifies specific reasons why optimal human services are needed for disenfranchised adolescents.  Firstly, the research contained within this paper clearly defines the disenfranchised adolescent and the circumstances which lead to the disenfranchisement of adolescents within the American society.  Disenfranchisement occurs because of numerous factors and the research indicates that adolescence is a naturally tumultuous time in one’s life propelled by the desire for independence. Other factors that lead to the disenfranchisement of adolescents are the makeup of the family dynamic and behavioral problems stemming from sexual and physical abuse.  The research details the specific areas where optimal human services are needed within child welfare systems and identifies the predominant factors of homelessness, drugs, and sexual exploitation as indicators for the need for optimal human services among our adolescents.  The research pinpoints reasons for roadblocks that prevail when delivering optimal human services to adolescents.  These roadblocks are identified as the homeless condition of adolescents, a lack of trust amongst adolescents towards adults, and a lack of funding.  Finally the research denotes effective means of delivering optimal human services to adolescents.  The research considers the importance of the human services professional when offering optimal services to the disenfranchised adolescent.  As determined by the research, other factors to consider as integral components of optimal delivery methods of human services geared towards disenfranchised adolescents are communication, family, the empowerment of the adolescent, and unconditional love.

Keywords:  disenfranchised adolescent, optimal human services

 

The Disenfranchised Adolescent

            In order to identify the optimal human services needed by disenfranchised adolescents and effective means of delivery for these services, the term ‘disenfranchised adolescent’ must be examined and defined.  Firstly, the research identifies the condition of the adolescent and factors which create the disenfranchisement of our youth.  The lifespan period of adolescence ranges from the age of 12 to 20 years (Feldman, 2011).  According to Alexander, the period of adolescence is typically a chaotic time in one’s life because of numerous factors.   Primarily, adolescents are searching for an independent identity while operating within the confines of parental authority, which may lead to behavioral problems.  In addition to wrestling with the authority of parents, adolescents are weighing the influences and opinions of friends when defining their autonomy.  Lastly, adolescents are considering the social issues of race, gender, religion, culture, and societal values when exploring their personal identity (Alexander, 2013).  The research by McLean, Breen, and Fournier indicated that the primary function of adolescence is to identify an independent personality while considering the expectations of the community in which he or she resides (McLean, Breen, & Fournier, 2010).  By the very nature of the lifespan period of adolescence, the adolescent wrestles with personal identity within the confines of community to construct a sense of independence and autonomy which creates an inner conflict (Alexander, 2013).   Because of this time of great exploration of self, adolescents may suffer from heightened symptoms of stress and depression.  Stress and depression can be brought on by numerous factors, which can be psychological, behavioral, and social in nature usually focusing on loss or conflict within the family dynamic or within relationships with peers (Walker, 2002).

            The family dynamic plays a major role in determining the disenfranchisement of an adolescent (Martin, 2011).  If an adolescent is well supported and loved within the family dynamic, a child is likely to be well adapted and secure in their exploration of his or her identity (Levy, 2009).  If an adolescent lacks proper support and guidance from the parental unit, then he or she will suffer grave consequences of behavioral issues which ultimately lead to the disenfranchisement of the individual (Martin, 2011).  When the parent exhibits proper boundaries for the adolescent to operate within, then the individual is less likely to succumb to social influences of gangs, poverty, and developmental issues (Levy, 2009).

            Because of a lack of family support, adolescents have an increased probability of becoming disenfranchised.  Homelessness is a key factor in determining the disenfranchisement of an adolescent (Martin, 2011).  Youth become homeless due to several factors within the family unit - the parents no longer want to care for the adolescent or do not have the means to effectively care for the child, the adolescent suffers from sexual and physical abuse, or the adolescent suffers from psychological maltreatment by means of emotional abuse within the family dynamic (Feldman, 2011; Martin, 2011).  

            When a child suffers from abuse in the family unit, often times the adolescent will act out in terms defined as behavioral issues or problems, which will mandate the child being placed within the foster care system or juvenile justice system (Martin, 2011).  Upon placement within the above mentioned systems, the adolescent is defined as disenfranchised.  Placement within the child welfare systems of foster care and juvenile justice occurs because of exhibited antisocial behaviors which may be due to the early neglect a child suffers within the family unit (Delsi, Neppl, Lohman, Vaughn, & Shook, 2013).

The Need for Optimal Human Services

            When an adolescent becomes disenfranchised from the family unit, the adolescent may see his or her self as a victim or being victimized by the society in which the individual lives.  When an adolescent is placed within the foster care system and the juvenile justice system, the systems have a tendency to label the adolescent’s behavioral issues by means of medical or psychological abnormality.   Rather than the rehabilitation of the individual, the individual is identified as medically or psychologically unhealthy further isolating the adolescent and increasing the sense of victimization the adolescent may feel.  The juvenile justice system acts more in a way of punitive authority rather than that of rehabilitative quality.  When an adolescent is placed within the confines of the foster care system, the individual reckons with the loss of the family unit, including separation from parents and siblings (Martin, 2011).  The adolescent often feels abandoned, isolated, and alone having to reckon with factors of his or her future while processing the effects of his or her past in isolation (Anthony, Samples, Kervor, Ituarte, Lee, & Austin, 2010).

            The homeless adolescent, once disenfranchised from the family unit due to abuse and neglect, suffers from a lack of positive support from family or friends.  Most homeless youth lose all contact to his or her life’s contacts prior to entering life on the streets.  In order to compensate for the lack of family support, the individual is mentored by older teens living on the streets.  The teens interviewed were grateful to have some sort of guidance showing them the ways of a new life on the streets.  Because the homeless adolescent is isolated and lacks trust for any adults, the adolescent has little access to human services and if the adolescent does accept assistance from human services professionals, the individual is negatively labeled by his or her homeless peers. This fear of being labeled prevents the homeless adolescent from reaching out for healthy assistance when Human Services assistance is offered (Martin, 2011).

            Drugs are a major issue that disenfranchised adolescents reckon with as individuals that have been labeled as juvenile delinquents (Anthony, et al., 2010).  Because of the severe emotional issues disenfranchised adolescents are left to deal with and process, the individual is likely to utilize drugs as a means of coping (Martin, 2011).   Disenfranchised adolescents are at a higher risk of suffering drug addiction based upon the factors of substance abuse by parents, substance abuse by peers, victimization of sexual and physical abuse, abusive family environment, and poverty (Martin, 2011, p. 231). 

            Exploitation of the disenfranchised adolescent is a crucial factor in determining the need for optimal human services for this population.  The homeless adolescent is at a higher risk of being exploited by older homeless adolescents and adults.  The exploitation of homeless adolescents comes in the form of sexual exploitation as a means of financial gain and survival on the streets.  The disenfranchised adolescent is further exploited by means of drug trafficking, forced into drug dealing by adults and older homeless youth (Martin, 2011).

            According to Cross’ research published in the Journal of Guidance & Counselling, an adolescent may feel disenfranchised by not feeling special or unique.  An adolescent struggling with issues of identity desires and needs to feel validated by adults.  Specifically, the disenfranchised adolescent, lacking family support and nurturing, strongly desires validation and yearns for the approval of adults to ensure his or her uniqueness, individuality, and self-worth (Cross, 2013).

Roadblocks to Offering Optimal Human Services

            Many factors prevail which prevent optimal human services from being administered and delivered to the disenfranchised adolescent as will be identified by the research gathered.  The contributing factors that continue to further alienate the disenfranchised adolescent abound within the American system which places labels via medical and psychological identification upon our youth in need of assistance (DeLisi, et al., 2013).  Not only are disenfranchised adolescents being labeled by the system in which he or she is helped, negative labeling takes place within the peer group of the disenfranchised adolescent (Martin, 2011).  

            The homelessness adolescent presents logistical, physical, and emotional roadblocks for a disenfranchised adolescent in need of optimal human services.  Adolescents who are homeless lack a home base.  They are often difficult to track down because they do not have a permanent residence, which prevents any type of follow up services for the individual.  Once an adolescent is homeless and becomes a member of the streets, the youth is faced with the challenge and difficulty of being derogatorily labeled by his or her homeless peers when accepting Human Services from adults (Martin, 2011).  The adolescent may be labeled a “sellout” or even “foolish” when accepting assistance, which prevents the individual from seeking the help of adults (Martin, 2011, p. 180).

            According to Alfred’s research, adolescents are very sensitive to adults who do not respect his or her values and ideas.  Adolescents develop a lack of trust because adults can be overbearing, judgmental, and harsh (Alfred, 2009).  Martin accredits this lack of trust adolescents have for adults to the severe rejection, abandonment, and abuse the child has suffered at home coupled with the effects of further exploitation once the youth leaves the family dynamic (Martin, 2011).

            According to Martin, with the recent and ongoing decline in the economic condition of the United States, major cuts in funding have taken place within social services that assist and help the disenfranchised adolescent.  Human services that were once readily available are not as prevalent and perhaps no longer exist.  Funding is a crucial component in offering human services to disenfranchised adolescents and without financial means these individuals may not have access to the support needed (Martin, 2011).  According to the research of Balsano, Phelps, Theokas, Lerner, and Lerner, their research indicated the effectiveness that after school programs have on adolescents, which includes youth development programs to improve positive youth development (Balsano, Phelps, Theokas, Lerner, & Lerner, 2009).  The involvement of adolescents in multiple programs increases the positive impact programs will have on the lives of the adolescents (Balsano, et al., 2009). Hence, budget cuts hinder the availability in offering positive programs to disenfranchised adolescents (Martin, 2011).

Delivering Optimal Human Services to Disenfranchised Adolescents

            The human service professional is a key component in offering optimal services to disenfranchised adolescents (Hagan & Kisubi, 2011).  According to the research of Hagan and Kisubi, human service providers must provide the population served with a sense of community and belonging, which is what the disenfranchised adolescent is in need of because the individual comes from a broken home or a lack of familial support (Hagan & Kisubi, 2011; Levy, 2009).  The human service provider provides relief for the disenfranchised adolescent by means of alleviating the pain and suffering of the individual through advocating for the underprivileged.  Hagan and Kisubi identified the human service professional as the individual who offers hope for a second home to the runaway youth, instilling a sense of hope to the individual by being a positive role model in the individual’s life.   The human service professional offers hope of friendship, shelter, food, and recovery to the disenfranchised individual who may have abandoned any sense of hope and faith in his or her future.  The human service professional must deliver optimal care by positive and effective means by addressing the specific needs of those served (Hagan & Kisubi, 2009). 

            Not only is the human service professional an integral component in offering optimal human services to adolescents, the type of care which is offered to the individual is of valuable consideration (Alexander, 2013; Hagan & Kisubi, 2009).  Alexander’s research identified a need for services that were family based and multisystematic when dealing with youth with behavioral issues.  Not only should the services rendered focus on the adolescent, they should also embrace all elements of the individual’s life assisting the adolescent in building and establishing relationships with the world at large (Alexander, 2013).   As per the research of Sue Alfred, human services provided to adolescents should be offered confidentially, respectfully, and in a friendly manner.  Furthermore, integrated services, culturally appropriate services, free and low cost services, and accessible services are factors of high importance when offering optimal human services to disenfranchised adolescents (Alfred, 2009).   The research of Elizabeth Anthony, Mark Samples, Dylan de Kervor, Chris Lee, and Michael Austin stressed the importance of offering services that are keenly aware of the needs of the disenfranchised adolescent, specifically formerly incarcerated youth being reestablished in society after his or her liberation from confinement.  In order to properly serve the formerly incarcerated youth and the disenfranchised adolescent, services must be offered which address the specific needs of the populous (Anthony, et al., 2010).

             Optimal human services for disenfranchised adolescents must embody specific techniques in order to assist the needs of this population.  According to Joyce Walker’s research, she has identified problem-solving and coping skills as necessary life tools human services should offer youth in order to positively process and deal with the stressors of life.  As part of problem solving skills, Walker identified goal setting and making plans as crucial skills which should be taught to youth.  Coping skills must embody ways in which one takes responsibility for his or her actions and deals with obstacles utilizing positive and healthy outlets (Walker, 2002).

            Various qualities play an important role when delivering optimal services for at risk youth.  Communication is the first quality of relevance, which has many facets and layers of importance.  The communication between the adolescent and the human service professional is the first level of concern when considering the effectiveness of human services (Hagan, et al., 2011). Through means of effective communication between the human service professional and the disenfranchised adolescent, trust is built ensuring for the feeling of safety and security for the disenfranchised youth (King & Newnham, 2011).  Since adolescents are extremely sensitive to any type of criticism, the professional must be mindful of the way in which he or she communicates with the adolescent, remembering to speak in compassionate and nonjudgmental tones.  Communication should support the autonomy and confidentiality of the individual at all times.  Alfred’s research indicated when parents improved their communication skills, the adolescent improved his or her communication skills thus positively affecting the individual’s behavior (Alfred, 2011). Since many of the adolescents served come from broken homes, are homeless, and residing within the child welfare system most depend upon the human service professional to model appropriate communication skills (Martin, 2011).  Good communication skills are critical to the disenfranchised adolescent because he or she desires an adult to listen to his or her problems; the adolescent desires to express emotions and feelings (Walker, 2002).

            The quality of family is crucial in an adolescent’s life and many disenfranchised adolescents are void of a family dynamic, which makes the human services offered to the at risk youth significant in creating a sense of community and belonging for the adolescent.  The human services offered, whether it is a non-profit organization, the child welfare system, the juvenile justice system, or the foster care system, many times acts as a substitute for the family of the disenfranchised adolescent and serves as the foundation for the idea of family for the individual’s life (Martin, 2011).  According to the research of Kate McLean, Andrea Breen, and Marc Frontier, adolescents desire to be a part of a group and to cultivate close relationships with others (McLean, et al., 2010).  Because the human services organization may act as a substitute for the family dynamic (Martin, 2011), based upon Levy’s research, these organizations must render warmth and support, which will diminish risky behaviors of the disenfranchised youth.  As well, when parents set boundaries and clear expectations for their child, the child is less apt to engage in risky behavior (Levy, 2009).  Hence, a human services organization must set clear boundaries and expectations for the disenfranchised adolescent in order to provide proper guidance and lessen the engagement of risky behavior on the part of the youth (Levy, 2009; Martin, 2011).

            The quality of empowerment is an integral component needed when delivering optimal human services to disenfranchised adolescents.  Since most of the adolescents served by means of human services come from abusive and horrific living conditions, rarely are these kids appreciated and strengthened in knowing their value (Martin, 2011).  According to Martin, when working with homeless youth the human service professional “must provide consistent encouragement, compassionate care, and understanding that promotes both self-esteem and self-efficacy (a sense of competence) in these emotionally broken and bruised teens” (Martin, 2011, p. 181).  The human services organization plays the role of empowering and lifting the adolescent beyond his or her current paradigm (Martin, 2011).   Although a majority of the disenfranchised adolescents are broken because of poverty, homelessness, family conflict, drug abuse, and exploitation, if given proper encouragement and empowerment, via methods of mentoring and guidance from the human services organization and its professionals, the youth are resilient in nature and may continue on to lead productive and meaningful lives (Zolkoski & Bullock, 2012). 

            The final quality identified as imperative to delivering optimal human services to disenfranchised adolescents is unconditional love, which is a powerful quality of service with many positive benefits (Oman, 2010).  Martin’s research indicated that homeless adolescents felt “extremely lonely and distrustful but in desperate need of love and affection” (Martin, 2011, p. 180).  Most disenfranchised adolescents lack a sense of love because they are coming from broken family dynamics and abusive histories (Martin, 2011).  When adolescents are given unconditional love, the power of unconditional love promotes positive results in self-esteem and self-worth.  The adolescent is positively affected by unconditional love and as a result of the love shown to him or her,  the individual will respond to life unselfishly and with a strong desire to serve others by putting others’ needs before his or hers.  The desire to help others before his or her needs due to the power of unconditional love, fortifies the disenfranchised adolescent by means of individual enrichment and a great sense of purpose and belonging within a community.  Self-efficacy is positively improved by the power of unconditional love, as well as the individual feeling better as the result of reduced stress and pain levels (Oman, 2011).  Many homeless youth reported having a strong belief in God and a desire for love (Martin, 2011).  Optimal human services offering unconditional love as the foundation of service enliven the lives of the disenfranchised adolescents with a faith and hope in a universal good (Oman, 2010).

Conclusion

            The disenfranchised adolescent typically comes from a broken and abusive home, leaving the youth abandoned to address and contemplate the meaning of his or her identity and autonomy without the support structure of loving guidance usually offered by the parents.  Without the comforts of the familial community dynamic, the disenfranchised adolescent is thrust into a life of homelessness, incarceration, foster care, drug abuse, and exploitation with minimal resources to effectively mentor and guide the disenfranchised adolescent along the journey of life.  Because of the child welfare system which punitively labels our youth, the homeless condition, the lack of trust disenfranchised adolescents have towards adults, and a lack of funding adolescents are potentially not engaging in effective and optimal human services.  The need for optimal human services for the disenfranchised adolescent is clear.  Offering readily available human services which are led by caring human service professionals which embody the principles of effective and powerful communication, family and community, empowerment and encouragement, and unconditional love optimizes the effectiveness of the service rendered to our disenfranchised youth.  Our adolescents are resilient in nature and when properly nurtured may live purpose driven and fulfilling lives of service.

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Alfred, S. (2009). Best practices for youth friendly clinical services.

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Anthony, E., Samples, M., Kervor, D., Ituarte, S., Lee, C., & Austin, M. (2010). Coming

back home: The reintegration of formerly incarcerated youth with service

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early adolescents' participation in youth development programs having

positive youth development goals. Journal of Research on Adolescence 19(2),

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psychology. Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, 8,

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settings. Second Edition. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

 

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ve%20Report.pdfDELIVERING OPTIMAL HUMAN SERVICES 17

 

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