A ServiceWorks cohort of sophomores and seniors at Newark's Barringer High School are joined by AmeriCorps VISTA LaRhonda Boone and three former gang members who spoke to the group about making the right choices in life.

Igniting a Passion: Newark Youth Take On Gun Violence

High school sophomores and juniors were challenged to apply the communication, project management and community mapping skills they’d learned in ServiceWorks to their project addressing gun violence. The complexity of organizing an event, producing videos and inviting speakers was daunting. “You can absolutely do this,” I urged.

Steve Bardy SC ED

Earn to Learn: A Teen’s Job Is to Do Well in School

Young people commit — in writing — to a grade they will earn for each class. The better they perform, the higher their earnings. Each step reinforces the connection between education and employment — and provides a level of control that few youth in foster care feel they have.

drum circle

Artistic Collaboration: Transforming Youth and Youth Justice by Integrating Arts

The room was silent. Twelve probation officers sat silently in a circle. Some glared at the floor, some looked at the ceiling. The African jembe drums sat, one in front of each PO, a silent invitation. As the lead drummer began, they started to play along, hands gently against the taut skins of the drums, a whisper. Then a thump, then some missed beats, louder, a faltering rhythm, then laughter. One hour later, 12 POs were shaking the roof as they drummed together, beaming at each other and making music.

Marquis Murray at the YouthHarbors graduation.

Unaccompanied No More: Family Mediation and Preservation First

How can we expect young people who are worried about where they will sleep that night, where their next meal will come from or whom they can trust, to focus on their schoolwork, learn or plan for their future? Part of our response must be an emphasis on family mediation whenever possible for both children and young adults.

Youth high-fives her coach during Chalk Talk sport-based group therapy

Uniting Sport and Therapy on One Field

Children who participate in Doc Wayne’s Chalk Talk program are most often survivors of complex trauma. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 4 million low-income youth have serious mental health challenges, but 80 percent of them do not receive the mental health services they need.