“I wake up every morning thinking about why I did so many bad things, but then I realize that I have another chance to correct my mistakes.”
– Youth in ARCC’s Truancy Reduction Program.
Sixteen year old Juan grew up in gangs all his life in East San Jose and was proud of it. His father (now 82 years of age) was a gang member, five out of his 11 siblings had served time in prison, and he idolized “Scarface.” Juan was in 11th grade and was failing school, with only 20 credits completed. In January of this year, Juan was assigned to Jose Escobar, ARCC’s Truancy Reduction Services program counselor, through his school. For the first time in his life, Juan had a positive role model who was a Latino male, and who had a similar upbringing to Juan’s, but had “made it through.” Together, they have met once a week for the past three months. Juan’s respect for Jose became apparent right away; he went from wearing oversized jeans and T-shirts to dressing casually when they met. To Jose’s surprise, Juan even arrived once in a shirt and tie as well. Since their meetings, Juan has not engaged in any fights, has stopped hanging around his gangster friends, and has been completing the requirements from his Probation Officer. At Jose’s urging, Juan enrolled in independent study, so that other kids would not pick on him and get him upset. This was the best decision for Juan. In less than two months, Juan has completed 25 units. A teacher at his high school expressed, “Juan is a bright kid. If we could have gotten him help sooner, he would probably be in the top 10% of his class now—however, hope for this is not lost.”
Truancy Reduction Services
School is Where Bright Horizons Begin
Supporting at-risk and low-income youth, Alum Rock Counseling Center’s Truancy Reduction Services focus on removing or mitigating barriers to attending school. The goal of this culturally sensitive program is to change poor school attendance by creating a positive learning environment. Young people who are deemed truant are referred for a minimum of 90 days case management. Case managers not only track school attendance and performance, they also advocate for the client.
75% of all students participating in our Truancy Reduction Program reported an increased commitment to staying in school and graduating from high-school.
Truancy Reduction Services address primarily middle-school youth, but also support other truant youth from ages 6-17. The program was started in 2001 to intervene early in the lives of youth exhibiting truant behavior, keep prior offenders out of jail and involve family.