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At-Risk Youth Benefit from Relationship Education

Youth Class“When are you gonna come back and talk more about that sex thing?”

The question is commonly asked of Community Day High School in Santa Ana teacher Michael Gonzales. This summer, Hispanic community healthy families organization, AMOR de Orange County (AOC) has been partnering with area youth programs to educate teenagers on vital information.

The program taught, Love U2, is a series of units that help young people acquire practical skills for emotionally healthy and ethically sound relationships. Some of the seven principles are “Don’t try to change someone into someone he or she is not.” “Don’t play games, be phony, or pressure someone.” “Expect respect. Have standards for what you expect.”

While participating, students discuss a scene or social issue, then work through healthy and productive ways to handle the situation.

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, high schools, and junior high schools have all held the seminars. One of the most successful events was held at the Community Day High School in Santa Ana troubled youth were 75% of the students are adjudicated. The full school of 110 students participated in the eight-classroom program. AOC executive director, Ariel Meza, states, “The kids have been kicked out of their schools, they are on their last leg. The next stop is juvenile hall. We get a chance to reach then in the midst of their hopelessness.”loveu2-plus-150

At the six week Love U2 event, Friday evening provided a night of fun with music, bands, and even a car show. There are guest speakers ranging from gang intervention specialists to reformed convicts. Then the students have break out session. The next day is when the more intensive seminar was taught.

Gonzales, who has been working with at-risk students for seven years, said,

“It was a grand, beautiful event. The students responded positive were joyous about the occasion. They students really liked the content of the lessons. They didn’t realize the different dynamics of relationships and dating and the stuff that can get them in trouble. They accepted wholeheartedly the lessons and concepts. It was addressing their needs, issues, problems, traumas, and experiences in a safe environment. In the end, after the 8 lessons, it was a progressive learning experience for them, by the last lesson they were completely silent. Getting them to listen is how know you did something good their. I have calls from parents asking us to come back.”

For more information about AMOR de Orange County, visit AMORdeOC.org or contact MichaelG@oclfl.org.

RELATED ARTICLES:

>> Statewide Survey Reveals Hispanic Marriage Paradox: Want Marriage but Don’t Marry

>> Love for Youth Work Sparks AMOR de Orange County

>> Love U2 – Dating Smarts: A Bit More Than Friends

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  1. October 15, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    This is a very inspiring group of articles!

  2. zeinab sheikhi
    May 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Im a M.Sc in family counseling at
    ferdowsi university of mashhad . I read the abstract of you article and it was very useful for me,My thesis is about this subjet. I Would be glad if you send me a copy of it (PREPARE/ENRICH Training theory).Your sincerely.

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