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Miracle Teen Program Launched
An alarming 24% of U.S. high-school students in 1995 thought seriously about committing suicide, according to a report published by the Center for Disease Control. Particularly at risk were females in the 11th grade. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry indicates that teen suicide has increased dramatically in recent years and each year in the U.S. thousands of teens commit suicide, making it the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24 year olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14 year olds. For African-American boys, the rate has increased 150 percent since 1980. In concrete terms, that means "as many as two girls and one boy from each classroom have made a suicide attempt," says Cheryl King, M.D., an associate professor in the departments of psychiatry and psychology at UMHS.
By the 8th grade, 28% of students report using illicit drugs with a sharp increase to more than 45% in the 10th grade, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA), a part of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.
The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information reports steady increases in alcohol use among 8th graders with 24% reporting the use of alcohol during the past 30 days in 1999, compared to 23% in 1998.
Studies reported by the Detroit Free Press in 1996 report that a sense of hopelessness and depression is tragically prevalent among America's teens. In an article published by the Washington Post in January 2001, some of the most INEFFECTIVE strategies for reducing youth violence include peer counseling, gun buyback programs, boot camps, adult courts and social casework.
Adolescents committed 1,400 homicides in 1999, according to the Surgeon General's report on Youth Violence. The same report identifies the following 10 myths as being part of the dangerous tendency to misunderstand the true nature of the problem
Myth: Most future offenders can be identified in early childhood.
Myth: Child abuse and neglect inevitably lead to violent behavior later in life.
Myth: African American and Hispanic youths are more likely to become involved in violence than other racial or ethnic groups.
Myth: A new, violent breed of young super-predators threatens the United States.
Myth: Getting tough with juvenile offenders by trying them in adult criminal courts reduces the likelihood that they will commit more crimes.
Myth: Nothing works with respect to treating or preventing violent behavior.
Myth: Most violent youths will end up being arrested for a violent crime.
So WHAT is the answer?
A group of concerned citizens have banded together forming the MIRACLE TEEN NETWORK. The group is headed by Sheryl Ellis, who has a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology, is author of two youth violence prevention/intervention programs used extensively throughout the state of Michigan, and has worked with violent offenders in Michigan's prison system for more than a decade. Ms. Ellis reports amazing success using spiritual concepts to help adult offenders. She is Founder of THE SEEDLING PROJECT, a grassroots organization formed to assist the incarcerated. Their newsletter now reaches prisoners in 30 states and is considered by offenders themselves to be one of the most effective rehabilitation tools available, according to their testimonies recently published in a book by THE SEEDLING PROJECT.
MIRACLE TEEN NETWORK plans a three-phase program. Currently under development is a publication of true stories submitted by people from all walks of life who have experienced a Divine Intervention that completely changed their life. In some cases the 'miracle' stopped them from taking their own or another's life. True stories of Divine intercession make this a book of hope and inspiration to today's teens. The group plans to distribute the book free of charge to any teen or organization who requests one. When asked how the book will be funded, Ms Ellis smiles and replies, "By Divine intervention." The group invites anyone who wishes to become involved in this life-changing mission to subscribe to Miracle Teen Network at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MiracleTeenNetwork