Category Archives: Employability

Helping Your Children Become Kidpreneurs (Peggy Caruso)

Youngsters can develop and display excellent entrepreneurial skills; we see it often in the news. Life coach and author, Peggy Caruso, shares some on-target tips for helping our children become game-changing kidpreneurs!


Helping Your Children Become Kidpreneurs, Peggy CarusoDiscovering the true talents and abilities within our children will prepare them for this unpredictable world by teaching them how to adapt to any situation. Instilling entrepreneurial ideas in children will help them become successful adults and it will create independence within them.

They need to learn how to manage their own strengths and weaknesses. Many children are afraid to fail because they feel they are letting the parents down. Failure is good – encourage it. It is just feedback letting you know how to modify your plan. It is stepping-stones to success. It can only be failure if you don’t get back up and try again. All of the successful people in history have had many failures before reaching success.

As children grow they need to learn how to deal with change. Changes in circumstances, cultures, and religions help our children to adapt in society. We can’t give our children a blueprint in life, but we can teach them coping skills. Your children’s skills and abilities will be their most valuable asset throughout their lives.

Skills are behaviors in which we increase our knowledge; abilities are natural talents. Understanding what skills and abilities they have and what they need to reach their dreams is an important component in your child’s career development.

From childhood, your child will develop skills that will be transferred as an adult. Emotional skills such as self esteem, sociability, integrity and empathy, integrated with the educational skills of reading, writing, mathematics, speaking, creativity and decision making will prepare them for adaptability within the corporate world. Many studies have supported the fact that the faster children develop skills, the better they do with testing.

Once you discover what their true talents and passions are it is easy to get them started on building a business. There are many businesses suitable for children. Educating children and teens about employment or entrepreneurship has astounding effects. It teaches them time management, assists them in learning how to follow directions, and provides team and leadership skills. Studies show discouraged teens often grow up to become discouraged adults. This affects their confidence level in the workforce.

In teaching children entrepreneurial skills, they need to learn effective ways to communicate. In today’s society technology has limited our children in verbal communication. One area to enhance communication is to teach masterminding. This is very effective and utilized by many adults; therefore it can be effectively implemented with children.

Revolutionize Your Child's Life, Peggy CarusoMasterminding involves placing a group of 5 or 6 like-minded children together to meet once bi-weekly for one hour. Meeting places can vary between houses. They begin by each taking one-minute to say their ‘win for the week’ and then they move on to challenges. Each child presents a challenge they are facing and the remainder of the group assists by providing feedback. Someone needs to be a time-keeper so the meeting does not exceed one hour and each child has their turn.

This assists the children with problem-solving and holding one another accountable. It reinforces communication and interpersonal relations. Masterminding enhances friendships and helps them balance the highs and lows. It assists with creativity and establishes motivation and persistence. It also teaches them how to set and reach goals which is imperative in promoting entrepreneurism within children.

Teaching them to be persistent requires that they will be definite in their decisions, and that requires courage. It is a state of mind; therefore, it can be cultivated, and with persistence comes success. When we talk of success, most people think of adults. But if you begin applying the success principles when your children are young and impressionable, you teach them how to realize failure is good.

Persistent action comes from persistent vision. When you define your goal and your vision remains exact, you will be more consistent and persistent in your actions. That consistent action will produce consistent results.

Remember to teach your children the difference between the person who fails and the one who succeeds is the perception they have. It is seizing an opportunity and acting upon it, unlike the person who allows fear to dominate his abilities.

In teaching your child how to become a ‘kid-preneur’ they learn:

• Talents, abilities and passions;
• Setting and reaching goals;
• Gratitude and developing solid friendships;
• Persistence and motivation;
• Creativity and visualization;
• Communication, problem solving and interpersonal relations;
• Intuition;
• Entrepreneurial skills;

They learn their true potential!! ###

Peggy Caruso can be reached at
For more information, go to


Banking on Kids (Guest: Dr. Ed Anhalt)

Radio-style Interview,The Changing Behavior NetworkThe Banking on Kids financial literacy program, founded by Dr. Ed Anhalt, is teaching youngsters skills of managing money responsibly. And, as Dr. Anhalt shares in this interview from our archives, powerful and life-long lessons are being learned.


It’s a fact: Kids who understand money and how to manage it wisely have a distinct advantage as they become adults. For instance, they understand how to handle money responsibly and how to use it as a tool for achieving financial stability and security.

Like all skills, money skills must be learned, practiced and perfected, and they are best learned early. Our guest on this program, Dr. Ed Anhalt, founder of the Banking on Kids financial literacy program, will share some sound insights for teaching money skills to young people in a way that makes sense and draws “interest.” These skills can last a lifetime as they enrich the lives of individuals and their families.

Banking on Kids, Dr. Ed AnhaltThe first Banking on Kids student-run bank in the schools opened in 1995 under Ed’s expert guidance. Today the program operates in about 350 schools sponsored by more than 30 bank-sponsored school partnerships around the country. It’s a simple but powerful concept: Students start a savings account at their in-school bank (with as little as $.25), then, when they have $10.00 in savings, they can go to the sponsoring bank and open an interest-bearing account.

Dr. Anhalt has a track record for turning great ideas into reality. He is currently Dean of Education for International University for Graduate Studies, and he’s the author of the book, Raise Your GPA One Full Grade. (25:32)


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Understanding the Contributions and Challenges of Blind People (Guest: Donna W. Hill)

Radio Style Interview, The Changing Behavior NetworkJournalist, performer, author and advocate for the blind, Donna W. Hill, shares her story and offers much-needed insight into issues facing blind Americans today.


Understanding the Contributions and Challenges of Blind People, Donna W. HillVery few children are born blind; blindness affects the majority of individuals as the result of disease or a degenerative condition. For this reason, children, teens and young people know precious little about what it means for a person to be blind, and what blind individuals can and cannot do. That lack of awareness and knowledge can affect them later if they, or someone they know, becomes legally blind. (SUGGESTION: Please share this interview with those who can share it with school-aged youngsters.)

According to Dr. Sutton’s guest on this program, Donna W. Hill, blind Americans remain an under-served minority as they continue to be affected by low expectations. She shares in this interview, for example, how there are still issues with Braille literacy, as well as major concerns regarding meaningful employment and careers for blind individuals.

Listeners will be touched as Donna shares her own story of being the only blind student in her whole school district. As she explains, that experience came with numerous difficulties.

To her credit, Donna continued her education and earned her college degree while developing her abilities in music, performing and writing. Starting out as a street performer in Philadelphia, Donna later appeared onstage, where she opened for a number of performers and groups, including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. (In fact, this interview concludes with Donna singing an original song, “The Rules of the Game,” from her album, The Last Straw.)

The Heart of Applebutter Hill, Donna W. HillAs a journalist and publicist, Donna has tirelessly advocated for blind Americans. In fact, she was the first blind representative of a radio reading service to receive national press credentials to cover a presidential inauguration. (Note: Donna has prepared an informative quiz and fact sheet about blindness; it’s with our free, guest expert materials on this site.)

Donna’s recent book, The Heart of Applebutter Hill, is fiction, but it packs a big punch. In fact, professionals in education and the arts have endorsed the book as a diversity and anti-bullying resource for middle school through college. It’s a story about a young teen named Abigail, a refugee without her family in a new place where some are kind and some are not. While going blind, Abigail must navigate an enveloping plot in this adventure and mystery novel.

Before she moved to the country air of Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, Donna was a regular guest at schools, universities and other gatherings of young people throughout the greater Philadelphia area. She and her guide dog, Hunter, still enjoy opportunities to inform, inspire and encourage young people. (34:19)

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Academic Success in Teens is Equal to Their Ability to See the Future (Dr. Larry F. Waldman)

Larry F. Waldman, Dr. Larry F. Waldman, Larry F. Waldman, PhD, "Who's Raising Whom"14-year-old Jason is like most adolescent males. He’s into video games, hockey, and, of course, hanging with his friends. If you ask him the classic question adults love to ask teens, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Jason will reply, “I don’t know—maybe a lawyer or an engineer.”

A Capable Underachiever

Like many of his peers, Jason views school more or less as a nuisance—something you have to get through. Although he is intelligent and capable (according to most of his elementary teachers), he underachieves in school. Jason usually does just enough to get by and he rarely studies. Due to his good native intelligence, he has managed to earn C’s, B’s, and even an occasional A in middle school, all with little or no effort.

While Jason gives lip service to becoming an attorney or an engineer, he usually thinks no further into the future than the upcoming weekend—when he can socialize with his friends. The most futuristic thinking he engages in involves obtaining his driver’s permit about a year down the road.

Jason will start high school in the fall. As usual, he has given little thought to the importance of doing well in high school and is destined to under-perform, just as he did in middle school. Jason’s parents often try to impress him about the importance of good grades in high school. Like many teens, unfortunately, Jason tends to ignore his parents when they attempt to advise him.

This is classic student underachievement.

Vision toward achievement

In my nearly 40 years of practice as a psychologist I have had the opportunity to work with three adolescents who graduated at or near the top of their high school class. These students were by no means the most intelligent members of their school. These teens were average to above-average intellectually and were diligent, organized students.

The one outstanding characteristic, I believe, that was common to all three of these students which separated them from their classmates, is that they had VISION. They possessed the capacity to truly see the future, and they were willing to work for it from middle school on.

I cannot tell you how many times a bright, capable, but “visionless” teen told me that “grades in middle school are not important” or “it’s only my freshman year (in high school); I have plenty of time to bring my grades up.”

Grades in middle school are, in fact, important because they set the stage for how the teen will do in high school. I have never met a teen who earned average (or below) grades in middle school and performed at an outstanding level through high school. As Vince Lombardi, the famed coach of the Green Bay Packers, said: “Practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.” That “perfect practice” begins in middle school. Moreover, by doing well in middle school, students are referred to advanced classes in high school, which can improve their grade point average (GPA) and induce colleges to offer them scholarships.

What most “visionless” teens fail to realize is that after their freshman year there are only five, not six, semesters in which to improve their GPA. Students typically apply to college at the end of the first semester of their senior year and are usually accepted (or not) by April of their senior year. Thus, that final semester of their senior year does not even figure into the GPA for purposes of acceptance or scholarships.

do the math

Therefore, if Jason does poorly his first semester of his freshman year, earning C’s and a few D’s, perhaps with a B in PE, he might earn a first semester GPA of 1.8. If he does a little better second semester of his freshman year, receiving C’s and B’s with an A in Band, this might result in a second semester GP of 2.6. If he finally “gets it” beginning his sophomore year, and from that time forward earns A’s and B’s for the remaining five semesters, (which is highly unlikely), he might average a 3.4 GPA over those next five semesters. Doing the math, we have 1.9 + 2.6 + 5 times 3.4 = 21.5, divided by 7, which results in a cumulative GPA of 3.0 at the end of Jason’s first semester of his senior year.

WRWThis unimpressive GPA now precludes Jason from any academic scholarships, prevents him from getting accepted at any prestigious college, probably limits him from attending any university out of state, and may even stop him from gaining acceptance into his own state university. Jason may still have a chance to become an engineer or an attorney, but he will now have to work really hard to attain his goal and he (and/or his parents) will have to fund every dime of his education. Jason’s inability to “see the future” at the young age of just 14 closed the door on many opportunities. It certainly is unsettling to recognize that choices a 13- or 14-year-old makes can affect him or her for the rest of their life.

start talking “future”

Parents must begin to talk about “the future” with their children as soon as the child can understand the concept of the future. Waiting to discuss the future when the child becomes a pre-adolescent is too late. Parents should read to their kids before the child is one and do so for the next five to seven years, until the child can read to the parent. Parents should also model being “studious” by reading, writing, doing “paper work,” taking a class perhaps, and doing “homework.” Parents should also speak of their own academic successes; even their failures. By implementing these concepts, children may develop a better “vision” of their future which will facilitate the likelihood of achieving it.###

Larry F. Waldman, Ph.D., ABPP is a recently semi-retired licensed psychologist who practiced in the Paradise Valley area of Phoenix for 38 years. He has worked with children, adolescents, parents, adults, and couples. He also provides forensic consultations. He speaks professionally to laypersons, educators, corporations, and fellow mental health professionals. He teaches graduate courses for Northern Arizona University. He is the author of five books (currently) involving parenting, marriage, personal wellness, and private practice. His contact information: 602-418-8161;;


Teaching Young People to Use “Courageous Dialogue” (Guest: Charmaine Hammond)

BTRadioInt-300x75-300x75As The Changing Behavior Network and its sister site, “It’s About Them,” have grown and developed as resources, so have the missions and the careers of former guest authors and experts on the show. Charmaine Hammond is an excellent example. In this interview taken from our February, 2012 archives, she speaks of her early experiences with young offenders while working in corrections and dispute dispute resolution. The topic is about a vital skill: communicating effectively with others. Indeed, there is value in teaching young people to use courageous dialogue. Today, Charmaine still speaks on this topic (and others) as she addresses organizations and corporate audiences in presentations and keynotes across the US and Canada.


Charmaine Hammond, teaching young people to use courageous dialogueHave you ever needed to speak up to someone, to pose a concern or problem, but didn’t do it because you were afraid of what might happen if you did? Or perhaps you really didn’t know how to do it. Confrontation is tough enough for adults with some experience in the matter, but it can be a huge obstacle for young people. The consequences of an unpleasant outcome can affect them for a long, long time.

Listen in as Charmaine Hammond offers insights into what she calls “Courageous Dialogue.” She’ll show us how we can use it, and how we can teachbounce forward, charmaine Hammond, courageous dialog, the ask and share the skills with children and teens. She’ll also tell us about something she calls “The ASK.”

Charmaine is a registered social worker with a background in corrections and dispute resolution, and plenty of experience with young offenders. She is also the author of Bounce Forward, an information-packed book on the subject of communication. Her website is (21:38)

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Motivating Students for Better School Performance (Guest: Ruth Herman Wells)

BTRadioInt-300x75-300x75There’s just no way around the fact that school is performance-driven. Students are expected to do their best at school, and they are expected to be motivated and remain motivated to achieve academically.

Ruth Herman WellsUnfortunately, expecting students to be motivated doesn’t make it so. According to our guest on this program, Ruth Herman Wells, expecting motivation is precisely the problem. Capable students, as well as those who struggle, don’t come with a convenient switch that turns on their desire to achieve and put effort into their studies. It’s up to teachers (and parents) to teach motivation as if it were any other teachable skill.

But how do effective, caring and competent teachers actually access and teach skills of student motivation? According to Ruth, this sort of training in the motivation of students by teachers is in short supply. Result: Students simply are expected to be motivated, and the problems continue.

Youth Change Workshops, motivating students, student motivationFrom her years of experience in training educators across the country, Ruth shares how youngsters can be motivated at school and how they can realize, sometimes permanently realize, how motivation is important for them and their future.

Ruth Herman Wells, Motivation Makers, motivation of students by teachers, school is performance-drivenListen in as Ruth shares some great ideas for struggling students and, yes, for struggling teachers as well. Just remember, a little success can become very contagious!

Ruth Herman Wells is the Director of Youth Change Workshops out of Oregon. In addition to being an outstanding seminar leader and trainer of educators and other child-service professionals, Ruth has managed programs for delinquent, troubled and problem youth.  Shes the author of dozens of books, including the one we are featuring today, All the Best Answers for the Worst Kid Problems: Maximum-Strength Motivation-Makers. (32:59)

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Teaching Our Children to Be Resilient (Guest: Dr. “G,” Deborah Gilboa

BTRadioInt-300x75It comes as no surprise that many of us focus on solutions only when a problem occurs. A well-intended promise to “do better next time” might or might not result in being better prepared for life’s difficulties. Resilience is the key.

Nowhere does resilience matter more than with our children. Teaching them to handle inconveniences, frustrations and emergencies before they happen is, of course, a good thing. What’s more, it adds to a youngster’s confidence.

But how often do we consistently focus on teaching resilience? How often do we encourage our children to practice it? Our guest today, Dr. “G,” (Deborah Gilboa, MD) will emphasize the importance of imparting resilience to our children. She’ll also share how we can teach it effectively in a natural and fun manner, using existing parental instincts and everyday activities. As we will see, The benefits are well worth the effort.

DGilboabookDeborah Gilboa is a board certified family physician, a mother of four, and a popular speaker and writer on the subject of parenting. She strongly believes, follows and shared three basic principles when it comes to parenting children of all ages: Respect, Responsibility and Resilience. She is the founder of, a valued resource for parents and educators, and she’s the author of the newly released e-book, Teach Resilience: Raising Kids Who Can Launch. (26:12)

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GRIT: The Breakfast of Champions (Dr. Daniel Trussell)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is considerable conversation about the need to address non-cognitive skills in our educational system and one of the most frequently mentioned non-cognitive skills is the acquisition of Grit. Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist and a preeminent researcher on Grit, describes this trait as high motivation or passion focused on a long term goal pursued with diligence and perseverance, despite the obstacles and even during times of boredom.

In their book Grit to Great, Thaler and Koval ascribe attributes of Grit with a clever acronym:


While the value of developing Grit has only recently been scientifically investigated, it is not a new concept. Indeed, Grit has been considered a desired trait and reinforced to children for centuries. Its resurgence in the educational system is part of an attempt to level the socioeconomic field by teaching success strategies to children as they move through the educational system.

Educational standardization, a product of the No Child Left Behind era which many now view as a drill and kill mentality for academic performance, is increasingly sharing space with developing empowerment and success through personal responsibility and free will. Grit, like success in life, is not tied to IQ, talents or socioeconomic status, but to a skill set that levels the playing field.

You Have to Fail to Succeed

The “you have to fail to succeed” attitude from parents and educational systems is gaining momentum as an integral part of creating an environment that fosters success as adults. Success requires diligence, perseverance and tenacity.

Duckworth asserts that talents, intellect and a strong supportive social and home environment are insufficient for long term success. A “Yes, I Can” approach goes a long way even when a child wants to throw in the towel.

Perseverance builds resilience, which helps us continue to pursue a difficult challenge. Suffering through a difficult challenge is not only inevitable but necessary for achieving success. Confusion, frustration and even feeling overwhelmed often come with the territory.

Tenacity keeps us on track toward a goal even through the tedious or boring aspects of reaching mastery. Langer has found that one component of high life satisfaction is openness to new experience. Creatively approaching a seemingly insurmountable barrier to a highly prized goal enhances the development of grit. Finding interesting or novel ways to approach a problem balances the suffering and builds resilience, persistence and self-discipline.

Wait Just a Minute!

While many parents and school systems have jumped on the bandwagon to support academic persistence over academic achievement, others are raising concern. Opponents argue that emphasizing non-cognitive skills like Grit in an educational system denounces creativity , reduces diversity of interests, teaches conformity without question and focuses on narrow behavioral expectations rather than motive or desire. Some assert that reinforcing Grit can lower well-being if a child is expected to persist toward an unattainable goal or a goal of which they have no interest.

While there is merit to each of these concerns, let’s look back to the Duckworth definition of grit. Grit is accessed when one is highly motivated or passionate about gaining mastery over a skill or reaching a long term goal.

Duckworth describes a household rule in a recent article called the “Hard Thing Rule.” Family members choose one hard thing and work deliberately and consistently toward mastery over the chosen skill or activity for a specified period of time. They don’t give up or stop midstream, even if they have become bored or experience feelings of being overwhelmed. After a specified time, like a semester or a year, the family member can reassess their level of interest and negotiate to stop pursuit if they no longer have interest in the activity.

As parents, we all want our children to grow into successful, productive contributing adults. The question remains whether reinforcing Grit belongs in the home, in the educational system or in a combination of both environments. ###

DTrussellbookDaniel Trussell, Ph.D., MBA, LPC, NCC, CPCS is author of The How Families Flourish Workbook and How Families Flourish. He is a certified Professional Counselor supervisor and conducts training for both professionals and families in incorporating the findings from positive psychology into daily life. He can be reached at [website]



Scared Justice: Fighting America’s War on Youth (Kenneth Johnson)

BTAboutThemAn eleven-year-old Florida student was handcuffed, taken to jail, and charged with a third-degree felony for having a plastic butter knife; a New York pre-K student is suspended for having too many bathroom accidents; a Mississippi student was arrested for breaking wind; a Tauton, Massachusetts second grader was suspended and forced to undergo a mental health evaluation for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross; a California student faces a judge on criminal charges of being tardy too many times; and a Baltimore, Maryland student risked suspension for nibbling on a Pop Tart in the shape of a gun. We see it all the time in the headlines. For those who are unaware, there’s a war in America that’s been going on for some time now.

KJohnsonphotoEvery year, we are arresting over 2 million students. Far more students are suspended and expelled. Studies have shown that a child’s chances of dropping out increases by 50% for every time (s)he is suspended out of school. Presently, some 7,000 students drop out each school day. Most of these suspensions, expulsions, and arrests take place just before standardized testing. The reason for this, scholars posit, is what’s being called the Test-to-Prison Pipeline (a variation of the older School-to-Prison Pipeline theory). Simply put, a child that is suspended/expelled or incarcerated cannot take the standardized test and therefore the overall test results will be higher. This is critical in states like Florida where a school’s funding is based on how well students do on these tests.

Most juvenile arrests in America today are predicated upon what criminologists call the “Super Predator Myth.” This myth was first postulated by Professor John DiIulio, Jr. as a research-based theory of juvenile crime. Later, his research was found to be fundamentally flawed in every conceivable way. However, Pandora’s Box had already been opened by this junk science theory. We became a nation fearful of our youth and with the wrong-headed notion the only way to keep them from turning into murderous thugs was to arrest and try them as adults for felony crimes.

Today in America, the prison system is such a booming business. Private prisons, like the Geo Group, publicly trade on the stock market. Most of America’s population of inmates first came into the criminal justice system by way of juvenile arrests. The primary reason that an incarcerated person leaves a juvenile detention facility is because they have reached the age of majority and now must be transferred to an adult prison to finish out the rest of their sentence.

Rather than being a nation of law and justice, we have turned to “scared justice” tactics where laws vary based upon a person’s income, race, age, and other factors. And, no place can this injustice be more finely felt than by our nation’s youth.


In the fields of Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice, professionals and writers are now focusing a tremendous amount of time on pathways to engaging in difficult discussions. Each field of conflict study has its own thought leaders with their own ways of tackling this endeavor head-on. But why are we seemingly in need of such study and works?

Part of the problem is the manufacturing of fear in the public over juvenile crimes. One major culprit is our nation’s School Resource Officer program. The other player in this social malaise is Hollywood.

While SROs are used practically nation-wide, the data on their effectiveness is less than compelling. While their stated purpose is to safeguard the students, national crime data reveals they generally arrest students for innocuous offenses when traditional school-based disciplinary procedures would be more effective and beneficial. In protecting students from school violence and shootings, the data also reflects they generally are ineffective with them mostly arresting students on baseless charges.

One of the best publicly available arguments against SROs can be found in the Justice Policy Institute’s “Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police in Schools,” where it looks at the chronic failures, duties, dangers and case law surrounding SROs. For instance, in the Supreme Court case of J.B.D. vs North Carolina, involving a 13 year old student who was arrested without being read Miranda rights, the court found juveniles do not possess proper understanding to appreciate Miranda. Ultimately, the report delineates five ways to improve schools without needing SROs. These suggestions ranged from properly training and supporting staff on issues of behavioral disruptions to building quality relationships between staff and students.

Ironically, these suggestions are things which are best handled through Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice strategies. In my book, Unbroken Circles for Schools, I specifically addressed how using Peer Mediation with Circles, Panels, Conferences, and Justice Circles can create a community of care which improves classroom instruction, addresses behavioral issues, builds relationships, provides counseling options, and identifies issues early on in order to render SROs needless in schools. The JPI piece proposed using government funds to purchase varying national plans but, as I note in my book, effective strategies already exist in the public domain.

Hollywood is also just as guilty of culpable harm. Specifically, shows like “Beyond Scared Straight” perpetuate a myth while fostering practices proven to actually harm children as bad, if not sometimes worse, than what SROs do by arresting children needlessly.

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “A study by Anthony Petrosino and researchers at the Campbell Collaboration analyzed results from nine Scared Straight programs and found that such programs generally increased crime up to 28 percent in the experimental group when compared to a no-treatment control group. In another analysis of juvenile prevention and treatment programs, Mark Lipsey of the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies found that youth who participate in Scared Straight and other similar deterrence programs have higher recidivism rates than youth in control groups. And a report presented in 1997 to the U.S. Congress reviewed more than 500 crime prevention evaluations and placed Scared Straight programs in the “what does not work” category. Despite these findings, Scared Straight programs continue to be used throughout the United States and abroad.”

Again, the OJJDP focused on the very same solutions which the JPI looked at. Naturally, like with the JPI, the OJJDP urged for costly programs to be employed by schools and communities. However, like I stated before, effective Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice solutions are already in the public domain and used daily by trained and certified professionals.

A common saying, “A leopard can’t change its spots,” is often used in reference to criminals. The meaning behind this is that a child who does wrong actions now will only do worse actions later as an adult – a flawed line of logic at best. I say, “If you paint spots on a lion cub, it doesn’t make it a leopard.” Ultimately, I contend that officials are making children out to be worse than they are. In fact, most, if they were given a little extra attention, could become tremendous benefits to society as adults.

Research has come forth saying that children are facing massive issues with underemployment by their parents, broken homes where they may have only an extended family member at best to serve as guardian over them, domestic violence in the home, substance abuse in the home, untreated illnesses, lack of proper nutrition, homelessness, child neglect, and sexual molestation to name a few. In fact, where I live, homeless kids have coined the term “couch surfing” to refer to how they spend their nights sleeping on the couches of friends, relatives, or anyone else that would take them in for the night. These are the children that our schools seemingly target.

What’s more troubling is that the children actually suffer more once they are incarcerated. This is because most states exempt juvenile detention officers from state child abuse and child neglect laws. In Florida, which is a top arrester of youths in America with over 58,000 arrested per year, a number of detention facilities have recently gone under review for children being allowed to die in front of guards without any call for help, children being sexually molested by staff, unnecessary beatings, and the list goes on and on.

There is a solution to this social justice dilemma. The crux of the problem is that the community must become engaged and press for resolve since schools and law enforcement refuse to take responsibility with this issue. This is a hard discussion topic for a society where many trappings of the traditional community are gone due to our nomadic existence and where the media colors our understanding of reality with sensationalized stories and filtered-out stories. This makes collaboration between nonprofits and religious institutions , on this issue, all the more critical for lasting change to take place since these are the unsung heroes doing most of the unseen social justice work in this nation.


I suggest that interested stakeholders in the community, as well as Conflict Resolution and Restorative Justice professionals and advocates, agree to assemble at a neutral venue and break bread to talk about the problems facing their community. After all, this is how America got started! Once the problems have been stated, then the community should evaluate resources that each group can bring to the table. Since I pretty much wrote the book on this issue, here are some suggestions that I would make for consideration:

Have the school district do away with SROs. There’s simply no need for them. National statistics show time and time again juveniles make up less than 1% of the violent crimes committed in America. These are officers that can be put out on the streets to arrest real criminals, direct traffic, or engage in a number of social benefits inherent to law enforcement.

Have the school engage in Restorative Justice (RJ) and Peer Mediation practices. RJ has been proven far more effective on juveniles than any other group at reducing recidivism and also making lasting, positive behavioral changes. By the same token, peer mediation has been proven effective in handling issues typically tying up vital time normally handled needlessly by teachers. A good program should be a balance of daily circles, peer mediation, and conferencing.

Creating a peer counseling corps can offer critical support and assistance for students in needs. Like peer mediators, peer counselors are trained by professionals in the field and given similar skill sets as adult professionals in the field use in their own practices.

Establish a Neighborhood Restorative Justice Center (NRJC) as a deferment option should a child still end up in the court system. In many states, like Florida, there are already laws on the books allowing this sort of deferment but officials refuse to establish these centers. An NRJC, created by the community, allows the student that final, yet critical, opportunity to seek out atonement for their actions and to seek the help that they need.

There’s no other way to put it other than to say America’s war on youth is a national scandal. However, if handled properly, the communities around America have an opportunity to make a significant impact on the overcrowding of prisons, increasing tax revenues, increasing productivity, and re-engaging the “American dream” which has historically been our driving force in becoming a superpower in the global marketplace.###

Ken Johnson is a private researcher, writer, lecturer, and consultant on issues of culture and conflict. Organizational architecture and anabolic (positive) conflict are just some of the key issues he investigates. Though written for the school system, his book, Unbroken Circles for Schools, has core concepts which can be applied to various life applications. To learn more about Ken and his work, CLICK HERE to visit his website.



Your Child’s First Job … with a Boss! (Guest: Joe Sabah)

BTRadioIntDo you remember asking for your first job? Were you nervous? Probably; and perhaps scared of being rejected even before you got your words out.

JSabahphotoThat first job for you, and the first job for your son, daughter or grandchild, is a rite of passage, much like getting that driver’s license or making it through that first date. There can be anxious moments, but it’s all part of growing up.

This program features Joe Sabah, professional speaker, trainer and author. He will help you equip your child with a rock-solid advantage when they go for that first job, and it will give them the tools and confidence to get a great job later–one they really want and for top pay and benefits.

JSabahbookIn this program, Joe shares how he helped his son get his dream job right out of high school. From this experience, Joe came up with something that leaves resumes in the dust: the Gold Form. It’s just one of the many tips that have helped thousands of folks get the job the always wanted.

Joe has shared his message and his book, How to Get the Job You Really Want and Get Employers to Call You, on over 700 talk radio shows. The testimonials and Thank-You notes he has received easily would fill another book. Listen in as Joe and Dr. Sutton discuss how these great ideas can work for our kids, also! (27:48)

Joe’s book is now available in downloadable ebook format HERE.

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK