Guest view: Efforts abound to help area youth
Since the Girls Circle and Boys Council program was implemented by the Colusa County Probation Department over five years ago, the department's juvenile supervised case load has dropped significantly and in the last year and one half by an average of 40 percent
This program targets all Colusa County youth and it is the first juvenile prevention program to be funded by the Probation Department in conjunction with finds received from the State Youth Offenders Block Grant. For the 2012-13 school year, approximately 190 youth received services from this program.
Adolescence can be a challenging time for many youth and by offering these programs, we have an opportunity to support youth in making healthy pro-social choices during a critical time of development.
Since school is back in session, the Girls Circle and Boys Council will once again be offering teen support groups in the local school districts. These strength based programs aim to provide a safe space where teens and pre-teens can come together and explore the unique needs of adolescents. Groups are structured and consistent, with flexibility for program specific objectives and participant directed topics. Body image, communication skills, empathy, goal setting, relationships, conflict resolution, alcohol and drug prevention, physical boundaries and personal values are just a few of the topics covered during group sessions.
This summer, about 30 youth from the Girls Circle and Boys Council were able to come together and enjoy a day of fun at Six Flags in Vallejo.
These pro-social trips are a way of celebrating the time spent together throughout the year. They give youth an opportunity to experience and travel to locations outside the county that otherwise may not be available to them.
Another school group is currently planning a trip this fall to San Francisco to visit Alcatraz.
Starting in September 2013, the group facilitators will be on school campuses during lunch offering information regarding group and signing up interested youth. Parents can contact the facilitators or their student's school to get more information about the program.
This fall the programs will be expanding to offer afternoon and evening groups at the new Williams Youth Center at 901 E St. Williams, information will be posted at schools, the local post offices and libraries. Girls Circle and Boys Council can be reached at 458-5871.
Sarah Regnani is a Colusa County probation counselor II, and William E. Fenton is Colusa County chief probation officer.