Youth Guidance Center
Twenty-one years ago, I was a youth who occupied one of the rooms in YGC. Today I am a case manager and outreach worker for a community youth center going into YGC to share my experience with the youth occupants. The sole reason the youth want to participate in any programing offered by outside agencies is so that they can get out of their cells. They don't want to locked up. That's the same feeling I had when I was in YGC. I went all the programs that were offered so I could avoid being stuck in the cell and look at the walls. So when I started talking to the youth they were not listening. They just wanted to chat with the other youth. Then when I told them that I have been locked up longer than they have been alive, they gave me their undivided attention. I understood what they're going through. That is the instant creditibility that other youth counselors don't have. I was able to maximize the 40 miniutes I have with them to emphasis the importance of respect, education and responsibility. At the end, I got my message across.
The difficult thing for me was leaving those kids behind. I don't think I'll ever change that feeling.