Sunday, August 12, 2007

Youth Guidance Center

The Youth Guidance Center (YGC) sounds like a recreation center where youth can play sports, receive counseling, and find resources to empower themselves. In reality, YGC is a juvenile hall that locks up youth who have been in trouble with the law. Its new designed compacity holds up to 150 juveniles.

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.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's amazing that you are able to use your own story to inspire those who were in the same place as you. I am sure for those youth it is as if they are in the dark and cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. But in a way you can show them where the light is, and let them know that there is hope. You really should be proud of what you are doing^^.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Pablo Dosh said...

Keep up the great work, Eddy! We love hearing the updates on your blog.

--Pablo

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eddie,
Your lectures and caring has finally gotten thru my thick skull. I'm in a drug treatment program, working at a real job and I feel good about being part of the real world. Call me at 415-240-5978. Allan Wong

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