2020.06.16 Showcase Group – The Importance of Youth Advocacy Blog
Different is good. That is something we have always known, but there is not greater time than now to truly understand and learn that what makes us different truly brings us to together. Our country has had a rough 2020, but we are hopeful and excitedly seeing progressive and positive changes that we plan to parlay into continuing to extend and expand our services at Showcase Group to even more participants.
Working with at-risk youth comes with a myriad of challenges, but it if were easy, everyone would do it. This exact type of mentality is what sets us apart in our field of expertise and excellency. Our ability to achieve results with at-risk youth in the Georgia correctional system also inspires us to work closely with many other non-profit groups to help guide them in achieving our goal of helping at-risk youth as a whole.
By participating in events such as “Mental Health, The Stigma” (a panel discussion on sports and mental health), we are able to reach broader audiences that help our youth and their families understand ways to break cycles and achieve greatness. Young athletes are very suspectable to being taken advantage of for their athletic ability, but this is also an excellent opportunity to shed light on how putting in hard work and effort into something can pay off substantially.
In the positive light, athletic ability can be an open door for many at risk youth to obtain scholarships for higher education, acceptance/admiration from peers, and if they are fortunate enough, they may make it as a professional athlete, which can pay very handsomely.
Does this positive of open doors provide our at-risk youth with enough motivation to continue focusing and staying on the right path? That is exactly one of our favorite conversations we enjoy having. If you can find and utilize your talents and motivations, the world you live in can be a much better place both personally and for your community.
During a typical counseling session with our at-risk youth, we like to make sure we talk about goals and how our participants are doing at achieve them. We work both on short term and long-term goals, as the two have very different impacts on the human psyche. While our country is experiencing such an uncertain and loud time, we also continue to focus on consistency and empathy as core pieces to helping our at-risk youth achieve success.
One of the biggest topics in America right now is the Black Lives Matters movement, and Showcase Group continues to stand with and support the message of equality. For many of the young black men and minors we provide services for, we are often intrigued and motivated to help them find the positive traits of their “idols” they often will communicate to us they’d like to be more like. Professional athletes are one of the most common examples we are given. Most of America builds a life of success over decades, but now our youth is motivated by success often found in an instant or a short period of time.
Consider the last time you watched the NFL draft on TV and how much emotion is represented. Included in the draft is athletes from every walk of life, but imagine walking away from your full ride scholarship for an education that sets you up for success over a life time for a professional sports career that could end in an instant due to an injury or for a number of any reasons. Our Showcase Group participants see many of these professional athletes and place them on a pedestal, because not only did they break a certain cycle of socioeconomics, but they are getting their 15 minutes of fame.
Utilizing that driving force of encouragement, we work with our at-risk to find ways for them to motivate themselves and help guide them in having a plan A, B, and C.
At the core of our practice in an instance like this, we try to drive home the importance of mental health. If we are called in to assist a promising young athlete that is at risk of making future altering decisions, we find ourselves working around societal and organizational input that our at-risk youth in Georgia is facing. Many youths involved in sports find themselves shying away from mental health assistance because they are conditioned by coaches to feel that emotion equals weakness.
Showcase Group based in Atlanta, GA is working tirelessly to help coaches, trainers, and parents that are involved with our at-risk youth to understand that our participants are people, not machines. Overcoming stigmas is one of the toughest challenges a person will face, especially a person of color or a person re-entering society following incarceration.
Please participate and watch our video footage of our Youth Advocacy Information webinar happening soon to help make a change in the life of YOU or someone you love. The more we are able to collaborate, the more we are able to open new doors and help motivate the leaders of tomorrow.