Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Teaching Youths Diving

April 21, 1996

* I am pleased that Robert Main raised the question (March 24, letters to the Valley Edition) about the value of spending $150,000 for youth to learn scuba diving. A recent study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation stated, "prevention is the most humane and cost-effective approach to reducing our nation's illicit drug, alcohol and tobacco problems."

The facts may help clarify his concerns: One, the Los Angeles Community Development Department has specifically targeted funds to help high-risk youth in the community who may otherwise cost far more in the long run per month, (Juvenile Hall, $3,023; California Youth Authority, $2,666; foster care, private home, $464 to $976; or group home, $3,245 to $5,013; County Jail, $1,558 male, $1,290 female).

Two, youth who have not done well in school do not learn from the traditional methods of reading, writing and arithmetic. Danny's grades have gone from Cs to A's and Bs. Three, reporter Tim May was unable to include the extensive curriculum the youth must go through: peer counselor training, trainer-of-trainers training, parent education for families, teamwork training, career opportunity investigation. Each youth is expected to return to his/her community to serve as peer leaders and role models for other high-risk youth.

What is the value in having one less gang kid no longer peddling alcohol or carrying a dangerous weapon, and who will be a positive peer leader in the near future? Perhaps $216 per month for each Youth Quest participant isn't too high a price after all?

RICHARD B. HILL

Hill is chief executive officer of Bridge Focus in Van Nuys

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|