¡De vuelta a la escuela!
“Hybrid” Diocesan Convention Planned for 2021
2021 Wardens’ Conference: Presentations and Recorded Sessions
A Child and a Miracle
A Sunday School Pandemic Journal
ACT: 50 Years and Looking Forward
Are We Teaching Our Children How to Live?
Arts Education Amidst a Pandemic
Back to School!
Breath of Freedom: Rural and Migrant Ministry’s Summer Overnight Leadership Camp
Campus Ministry Across the Diocese
Confirmands Get Creative
Covid on (and Off) Campus
Developing The Next Generation of Leaders
Diocesan Protocols for Covid 19 Now Mirror Those of the State of New York
Episcopal Charities Receives $1 Million Anonymous Donation
Episcopal Futures Learning Communities Launched at Pentecost
Grace Year: In Preparation for Leadership for the Common Good
Hacer espacio para dejar que los niños nos guíen
Introducing Rev. Kevin W. VanHook, II, the New Executive Director of Episcopal Charities
Jonathan Daniels Pilgrims Reflect
Kelly Latimore: Iconographer of a New Imago Dei
Make Space to Let the Children Lead Us
Mission of Our Youth: Poverty in New York
New Executive Director for Episcopal Charities
New Youth Grantmaking Board at Christ’s Church, Rye
Palm Sunday Hospitality with 10- and 11-Year-Olds
Pennoyer Appointed Head of Grace Church School
PPP Loans: Reminder to Congregations to Apply for Loan Forgiveness if You Qualify
Prayers from Our Hearts
Report from the St. Margaret’s and St. Luke’s Branches of the Girls’ Friendly Society
Seeing Past the Horizon
The Journey
Un niño y un milagro
Video Hit: St. James’ children’s ministries series Did You Know?
Voices Heard: A Diocese Explores Pathways Toward Reparations
We Need All Ages
When I Was a Child: The Beginnings of Faith
Home » Making an Impact on At-risk Youths
Print this article

Making an Impact on At-risk Youths

Many young people all over the country are categorized as “at-risk.” What can we do to help?

Friends can impact one another in both negative or positive ways: It is important, therefore, for parents and significant caregivers to monitor youngsters’ activities closely to encourage healthy relationships and avoid dangerous outcomes. To achieve this close monitoring, it is important to keep the lines of communication open between adult and youngster.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Burning Fiery Furnace, by Joseph Mallord William Turner.

The term “at-risk” may be a modern expression, but there have been at-risk youths from the days of the Old Testament. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known, perhaps, by their Babylonian names as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) were at-risk youths—just like young Daniel. These young men always feared being harmed by King Nebuchadnezzar; they were victims of domestic violence and were even thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to worship the king’s idol (Daniel 3:19-23)—while Daniel’s punishment for the same offense was to be thrown into the lions’ den.  Another at-risk youth was the young David, whose life was constantly in danger due to King Saul’s determination to kill him. And Jesus himself was at-risk from the beginning: when King Herod sought to kill him, his parents became refugees in Egypt in an effort to save the life of God, the Son.

How do today’s youths become at-risk? One among many possible reasons is that children who are mostly alone are more prone to be friendly with anyone who seeks to befriend them—and that “anyone” may be a bad influence who is actively seeking vulnerable youths. Additionally, some youths are made more at-risk because they are needy; some because they want to belong; some because they are abused at home; some because they need ”excitement” in life; and others because they are just easily led.

Making a difference with at-risk youths takes time, creativity and flexibility. In his 1999 book, At Risk, Dr. Scott Larson explains that most at-risk teenagers desperately need at least one individual willing to provide that level of commitment. He encourages youth workers to help find mature Christian adults willing to do what it takes to make such a difference. In other words, parents, teachers, and other caregivers who want to impact the lives of at-risk youths should work closely together to monitor their lives and to be kind, godly influencers—as the adults did in my church and community when I was a teenager (and still do) — by taking a keen interest in and guiding us youngsters as if we were their own children.