Help for At-Risk Youth

03/04/13 COMMENTS 0

As the divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” widens, there is little doubt that the United States is failing some of its most vulnerable people in need of care and support. At-Risk Teens are imperiled on a daily basis at home, at school and in their communities. According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, the pattern of violent crimes against adolescents is rising at an alarming rate; while at the same time, the drop-out rate escalates at a record high. This comes on the heels of a CDC report that directly tied academic performance to various indicators of future success and well-being of our nation’s youth. Not surprisingly, the inability to maintain good academic standing very often has more to do with poor attendance based on outside factors, such as family and home life, gang activity, poverty, pregnancy, bullying, and drugs. Unfortunately, these ongoing challenges thwart many of our nation’s at-risk youth as they try to break the cycles of inequity that bar them from mainstream avenues leading toward success and stability.

That’s why in 2003, The Lionheart Foundation launched The National Emotional Literacy Project for Youth-At-Risk. This project consists of two major programs: Power Source and Power Source Parenting. Looking at Power Source, it is a unique book/curriculum/program that helps highly at-risk youth and young adults discover the best in themselves.  The program is both preventative and rehabilitative.  Power Source can be read by youth on their own, or the concepts, exercises and numerous firsthand stories by youth can be introduced and explored in facilitated groups or during individual counseling.

The centerpiece of the Power Source Program is the book/curriculum Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life written by psychologist Bethany Casarjian, Ph.D.  and Houses of Healing author Robin Casarjian, M.A.  It is augmented by the Power Source Facilitator’s Manual and the Power Source Video Series.

Many front line professionals have given us glowing feedback about the program.  Jane Guttman, who has worked extensively in support of highly at risk youth for more than four decades, most recently in the juvenile justice system, has this to say about Power Source:

“I read Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life. It’s a really good book. Im in youth detention. I got locked up because I thought no one had loved me but I learned from the book how to deal with that because I was going to become a crip but the book taught me a lot about not getting in a gang. Ever since I read the book I learned how to meditation. I didn’t like it at 1st but I got use to it so when I get mad I go move away from the problem and start to meditate. If I didn’t read this book I wouldn’t have known how to take charge of my life. I also had things that was said in the book happen to me a lot of it but I hope for a good future. When I leave detention I’m going to finish high school and get a job then go to college for automotive. I had fixed a lot of my problems I had with my friends and family members. Thanks for writing the book.”
Michael 18 years old Nashville, TN

Power Source can be read individually or used in facilitator-led groups. The material is appropriate for virtually any organization serving the needs of highly at-risk adolescents, including juvenile institutions, detention centers, drug treatment programs, private and public schools, and a variety of community-based programs.

For more information about Lionheart’s Youth Program Click Here



21/03/13 COMMENTS 0

The U.S. has the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the "civilized" world.

You are not alone.  Almost everyone today knows someone, or of someone, who is incarcerated or involved with the criminal justice system – probation or parole. The rate of incarceration has accelerated at an  astounding pace in the U.S. with approximately 7,000,000 Americans under correctional supervision.  The United States has the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the “civilized” world.  One in every 100 Americans is behind bars.  It is no wonder that most of us know of someone in these unfortunate circumstances. We at the Lionheart Foundation hear from concerned friends and relatives of inmates every day looking for help.

Circumstances are as varied as there are inmates.  Some are incarcerated for the first time, while some have long histories of incarceration and recidivism.  Some are in for a short time, while others are coming out after a very long sentence.  No matter the situation, there are also commonalities, one of the most pressing being how men and women will learn and grow while incarcerated so that they are prepared to live a successful crime-free, drug free life after release.

Lionheart’s social emotional literacy program for prisoners, Houses of Healing, helps incarcerated men and women take stock of their lives, change destructive behavior patterns while giving them support to alter the course of their lives.  This program has supported tens of thousands of prisoners through self-help, one-on-one counseling and facilitated groups in prisons across the country.

Many prison budgets have been slashed, and support for programming is often the first to be eliminated.  In response, the Lionheart Foundation conducted an outreach and free distribution initiative (6/11—12/12) supporting more than 2000 prison libraries, prison chaplaincies and substance abuse and recovery programs in prisons and jails across the country with 11,000+ Houses of Healing books for FREE.

Most people in prisons will come back into our communities, and it is critical for everyone that they come back with greater understanding and compassion and committed to a positive lifestyle. In fact, we hope that everyone will do their part: families and friends with loving support, communities with reentry programs, employers with job opportunities, etc., to help those returning to the community unmask their potential and live productive lives.

Judith Perry, Chief Operating Officer, The Lionheart Foundation

For more information about Lionheart’s Prison Program Click Here


Welcome to Lionheart’s first blog!

14/12/12 COMMENTS 0

Welcome to The Lionheart Foundation blog! We hope to use this space as a platform to open up a dialogue with our donors, professional peers, volunteers and supporters, to share information about Lionheart programs and resources, and highlight important issues related to our mission. Feel free to join the conversation, share our posts with your networks, and leave us your feedback.

2012 was Lionheart’s 20th Anniversary.  My heart is filled with gratitude as I reflect on our past work and look forward to implementing the projects planned for the  future. In 1992, the book Houses of Healing was just an idea. With hard work and generous help from our supporters, we have come a very, very long way.

Lionheart has created three acclaimed social-emotional literacy curricula comprised of 18 resources (books, facilitator manuals, and videos). We have distributed more than 340,000 of these resources, conducted trainings for more than 2800 professionals, and tens of thousands of lives have been redirected and transformed.

Incarcerated men and women have discovered that prison can be a place to heal from violence and addiction; highly at-risk youth are taking charge of their lives and discovering a more hopeful future; and a new generation of babies, those most at risk for being abused, are being given a gentler, more loving and promising start.

With a stable and dedicated staff and our generous supporters, Lionheart has become a beacon of light in many very dark places for the past 20 years – and I can’t help but think that this is still just the beginning in the overall impact our work will ultimately have for hundreds of thousands of individuals.

Thanks for your interest in Lionheart!

Robin Casarjian


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