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Programs for Troubled Teens in Jacksonville, Florida

by Alysha Sideman

More than 4,000 middle and high school youths in Jacksonville, Florida, missed classes from April 2009 to February 2010 because of suspensions, reports "The Florida Times-Union" newspaper. Reasons for punishment run the gamut from drugs and fights to damaging property and stealing. Fortunately, the city offers programs to give troubled teens a shot at a productive, safe life.

Out-of-School Suspension

The Alternative to Out-of-School Suspension (ATOSS) program offers a productive way to spend time away from school. Students go to a designated center outside the home for supervision and academic enrichment instead of getting further behind in school work. Students use grade recovery and academic remediation software at one of the five centers to keep up with their courses. Each day, attendants are informed about each child who will be attending. Special programs consist of character building, career education and field trips. The ATOSS locations are also used as a drop-off point for students picked up for truancy. The Bridge of Northeast Florida 1824 Pearl St. N. Jacksonville, FL 32206 904-354-7799 bridgejax.com Beaches Boys & Girls Club 820 Seagate Ave. Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 904-249-3588 bgcnf.org Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology 7450 Wilson Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32210 904-573-1150 duvalschools.org/fhp Southside Middle School Annex 2948 Knights Lane E. Jacksonville, FL 32216 904-739-5238 duvalschools.org/southside St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church 3738 Winton Drive Jacksonville, FL 32208 904-768-7112

Bridge Team Up After School Program

Children who attend the Team Up After School Program tend to have better attendance, graduation rates and grades than peers at the same schools who do not attend the program, according to the Jacksonville Children's Commission. The Bridge of Northeast Florida implements Team Up programs located in targeted impoverished communities throughout Jacksonville. Bridge operates seven programs and serves more than 800 at-risk students. This school-based program provides educational and enrichment opportunities. Not only do kids receive help with homework, particularly science and math, but they also participate in art exercises, fitness regimes, dance classes and even etiquette courses. The Bridge of Northeast Florida 1824 Pearl St. N. Jacksonville, FL 32206 904-354-7799 bridgejax.com

Juvenile Assessment Center

Aimed at reducing recidivism within the community and providing new opportunities for rehabilitated youths, the Jacksonville Juvenile Assessment Center addresses juvenile crime. The center offers a centralized location to receive, process and intervene with teens who who have committed or are likely to commit a crime. "Timely intervention with juveniles can divert them from the wrong course and set them on a better road---one that doesn't lead back to the justice system," said Mayor John Peyton on the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice website. Juvenile Assessment Ctr. 1283 E. 8th St. Jacksonville, FL 32206 904-356-9835 coj.net

Dropout Prevention Program

Dropout prevention programs offer academically at-risk students from grades 2 to 12 another route to high school graduation. Students who are identified as unsuccessful in academics because of grades, low test scores, retention, truancy, pregnancy or disruptive behavior are provided with an educational program that meets their needs. The curriculum includes career awareness, employable skills, character development and law education. Duval County Public Schools 1701 Prudential Drive Jacksonville, FL 32207 904-390-2000 duvalschools.org

About the Author

Alysha Sideman has been writing professionally since 1993. She provides wellness-related content for LIVESTRONG.COM, among other websites. Her articles have appeared in the "Queens Chronicle," "The Staten Island Advance," "Studio Photography & Design" magazine, "Photo Trade News," "Presstime" magazine and "FDA News." She also served as a writer for several health-related associations. Sideman holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Hofstra University and is a certified health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition at SUNY Purchase.

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