Showcase Group Advocacy combines counseling and social work principles. Advocacy is accomplished by giving voice to young people that have met significant life challenges due to lacking systems. Advocates encourage appropriate social and emotional development and psychosocial health. Showcase Group’s advocacy service model was initially considered to help transitioning youth from the Department of Juvenile Justice transition back into society by connecting youth to transitional services, education and employment pathways. Our focus is to amplify access to available resources. Currently, our organization is engaged in partnerships to include advocacy within afterschool models, with the addition of mental health assessments and benchmarking, which started in 2017.
Showcase Group is a part of initiatives focusing on improving the lives of boys and men of color. Our Advocacy framework and culturally relevant workshops assist in connecting youth and young adults to educational, transitional, and employment referrals and pathways. Showcase Group recognizes an opportunity to amplify access to available resources for a subset of opportunity and justice-involved youth, both in Metro Atlanta and Rural Georgia by providing 4 pathways:
Mental Health, Employment, Transitional, and Education. Showcase Group’s non-clinical case management structure supports the same individuals during their pathway engagement to also increase retention and success. Our organization looks to track individual success for 24 to 36 months post enrollment. Showcase Group combines counseling and social work principles to advocacy. Most of the principles from these professional fields overlap, and those that do not directly relate have strong similarities. The main objectives of advocacy are to change systems that are not fostering equal distribution of rights, while serving as a leader for systems reform. Advocacy is accomplished by giving voice to those that have met significant life challenges due to lacking systems that encourages appropriate social and emotional development and psychosocial health.
The American School Counselors Association (ASCA, n.d) exhorts that advocacy efforts in schools are aimed to: (1) eliminate barriers impeding students’ development; (2) creating opportunities for all students; (3) ensuring access to a quality school curriculum; (4) collaborating with others within outside the school to help the students meet their needs, and (5) promote positive, systemic change in schools. Moreover, the advocate is an agent of leadership, collaboration and systemic change.
Currently over 2,000 young people aged 12-22 are detained in youth detention centers throughout the state of Georgia. The majority of these youth are from lower socioeconomic communities in Georgia, and struggle with having their physical and mental health needs addressed.