Lessons from the Street: Capacity Building and Replication
Female: See, I have a real serious attitude problem and I blamed everybody else for my problems because I wasn't attending school. I was a single mother of two.
Mary Taylor: (Vice President, Clinical Services). The problem is a lot of these kids are from deprived families. A lot of these kids are second and third generation substance abusers, alcohol abusers. Argus provides socialization skills, education, and job training. It also provides bonding an extended family, nurturing and adults who really care and see the positive potential in our participants.
Richard Weiss: (Director of Training and Treatment Services). The Learning for Living for Living Center is a program for 140 high-risk youth from the ages of 14 to 21. High risk means that they are experimenting with drugs and/or have parents and siblings who are a little more involved in drugs.
Steve Chesterson: (Teacher, Computer Services). I think Argus is successful with their approach because it is all encompassing. It is academics, which the Board of Education offers. It's a counseling support, job placement support, health support. They have a health educator here. Every phase of the students?development is addressed here at Argus.
Richard Weiss: (Director of Training and Treatment Services). I was an intravenous heroine user for 20 years.
Al Strother: (Vice President of Operations). I was an ex-addict. I graduated from Phoenix House in 1969.
Nadine Jackson: (Primary Counselor, Job Horizon Counselor). My parents were alcoholics so I grew up in an alcoholic home.
David Sousa: (Staff). I am from the South Bronx, myself. I grew up in New York City. I graduated from high school, barely making it.
Gary DeVoe: (Job Developer). I come from a broken home, and someone helped me.
Richard Weiss: (Director of Training and Treatment Services). One of the most important parts of my job is staff development. What that means is not only training, but encouraging staff to take the chance and grow personally, as well as professionally. We have weekly staff development groups and basically what that is are personal issues groups for the staff.
describe what makes Argus work, it would be family. The enrollees come in and they sense that they belong. They feel that we genuinely care about them.
Roselyn Martinez: (Program Participant). From the minute I got here, everybody just made me feel really comfortable -- everybody was like a family.
Steve Chesterton: (Teacher, Computer Services). It is truly a family. Many of our students have been through the comprehensive New York City high schools that have 3,000 students and they have literally gotten lost . Every aspect of their lives, someone here is interested in it. Many of our students have children and that's dealt with -- problems in day care, how can they get their kids taken care of; health issues. It's all dealt with.
Steve Chesterton: (Teacher, Computer Services). We found that the computer itself is a motivator. It is an intrinsic motivator. Students will do work on a computer that they may have difficulty doing with a pencil and paper so I use the computer to increase their reading skills, to increase their comprehension skills and through all of that they are learning computer literacy, which certainly is going to help them with whatever job they get.
Charmaine Swearing: (Director of Learning for Living Job Horizon Program). After they do get the job, then we stay with them. We make sure that we call them in the morning. Are you going to work? Do you have money for lunch?
Al Strother: (Vice President of Operations). We teach them how to retain the job and, if they lose it, how to get another one.
Carol Alston: (Program Participant). Right now I am not on public assistance and I was before. I am earning $10.45 an hour. Everything is great. I couldn't ask for anything more.
Charmaine Swearing: (Director of Learning for Living Job Horizon Program). The last person went on the job interview this morning and he got a job, so right now we stand at 100% -- we have placed 27 out of 27 for this training cycle.
Carol Alston: (Program Participant). So they have given me everything that I know now. Without them I wouldn't be where I'm at now.
Closing Screen: "Learning for Living is a youth development program that works." U. S. Department of Labor