The "From High Risk to Mainstream" program takes young people following a path of dangerous behaviors and redirects them through peer-to-peer education and support.
During the last three years, the HIV/AIDS service organization Working Wonders has sponsored the program for about 200 youths referred by the probation department or truancy officers. The classes are held at the Boys & Girls Club of Cathedral City.
Working Wonders CEO Evelyn Hernandez Valentino said the recidivism rate for teens who have completed the program is less than 1 percent. Classes illustrate the consequences of teens' actions. "They see that if you choose to do A, B, or C then D, E or F happens," said Valentino. Topics covered include self-esteem, domestic violence, and substance abuse -- all of which are relevant to HIV prevention.
Scott Robinson, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club, said hosting the classes there also offers the youths some positive, age-appropriate services they may not have had access to previously. "The kids participating in this program have committed some sort of an offense, more of a criminal offense, and normally wouldn't participate in [the] Boys & Girls Club, which is more of a prevention model," he said.
For more information on Working Wonders, visit www.ww4u.org.
Back to other news for May 2010
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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