Images shown are stock images and names have been changed to protect the identity of the individual.
Marcus was fifteen-years-old, angry and in trouble. His grades had been steadily dropping and his anger and attitude had taken him beyond his mother’s ability to reason with him.
One night it tore apart. Marcus and his mother had an especially intense argument that culminated with Marcus storming out and running away from home. Later when police officers found him and tried to talk with him, he was arrested for his unacceptable response.
His case was referred to Reach For Youth’s Teen Court. In Teen Court, people around his own age could hear his story and the reasons for his behavior and offer a level of justice and consequences that could match his circumstances without permanently impacting his court record.
His peers in Teen Court sentenced him to complete intensive outpatient drug and alcohol treatment and forty hours of community service. Some of his community service was served by participating in Teen Court again. This time serving as a member of the jury, he could see and hear stories of other troubled young people who, like himself, had lost their way.
The changes and improvements in Marcus did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by his mother. She wrote to Reach For Youth:
“I have seen a big improvement not only in Marcus’ school performance, but in his attitude. He now talks about graduating high school and becoming an interpreter for sign language.This whole experience has been a lesson for Marcus and I. One thing we have learned is how better to communicate and react to one another. We are going to start following a discipline contract that we both agreed to. We are aware that the future will not be easy, but we feel we now have the tools to handle any situation.Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to seek the help we needed.”