posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 12:22 PM
People behave differently depending on the situation they're in. A kid who is shy or verbally abusive at school will behave differently in a group
where the dynamics are different. Before starting, talk to school counselors and talk to police officers who work with these groups. Plan activities
(the less free time the better you'll be), mix the groups and be sure that you have a good proportion of adults to kids.
And read! Read everything you can find on the subject! If you have the time to read academic papers, go to scholar.google.com...
and look for
papers on these topics.
A "troubled child" is made up of many components. They may have issues like ADHD or ADD or be unable to read. They may have visual problems or
other learning problems. They may be high-functioning autistic. They may be schizophrenic. Many will be depressed.
Talk to the schools where they come from -- there will usually be one teacher there who has managed to reach the kid or who has insights about them.
Ask them for their opinions.
And good luck, and do tell us about it! It's a WONDERFUL thing that you're doing, and something that's desperately needed! I agree with the
advice on teaching them to care for animals (another good project is raising a puppy to become a guide dog or service dog.) Teaching them to train
dogs to do something like walk on a leash, sit, stay, etc is also rewarding for the kid (and the person whose dog gets trained) is another good skill,
and one that can translate into a job function.
(on a side track, there are dogs who do "athletic competitions" (can't think of what they're called, but someone will) -- learning how to teach
dogs to do unusual things like run through a tunnel, weave around a pattern of stakes, run to a point and stop, etc... that's often a very
interesting and useful project for a kid. Raises self esteem and can motivate them to learn to read and study more.)