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NCJ Number: 209119 Find in a Library
Title: Positive Peer Groups: "Helping Others" Meets Primary Developmental Needs
Journal: Reclaiming Children and Youth  Volume:13  Issue:3  Dated:Fall 2004  Pages:134-137
Author(s): Richard Quigley
Date Published: 2004
Page Count: 4
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article explains how the development of peer groups that focus on "helping others" can benefit youth at risk for negative behaviors.
Abstract: Being "connected" to the community is a commonly missing developmental component of the life of a high-risk juvenile. In this modern era of technology, it is easier than ever for a youth to retreat from the community into the self-centered, isolated world of computer games or the Internet. Being connected to the community, however, begins with the ability to receive help and support from others. In a world where it is too easy to become starved for affection, bonding, and supportive guidance from others, children need the support of adults and peers to help them through the difficult and painful times. The process of receiving help thus becomes the resource for then giving help to others. Giving help to others is a learning process facilitated through modeling, imitation, or observation. A positive peer culture not only meets the needs of those involved in it but also becomes a model for how youth can become effective providers of help to other youth and to the community. Restorative justice practices in Minnesota, for example, have begun incorporating the "circle" process within communities to help juveniles returning to the community after being incarcerated. The restorative justice circle provides resources for the needs of the juvenile to assist in positive adjustment in the community while also providing opportunities for the juvenile to repair harms he/she may have inflicted on victims and the community. Unfortunately, many positive peer culture groups have failed to receive needed funding under bureaucratic practices that give priority to programs staffed by professional clinicians while ignoring the restorative and developmental aspects of peer helping programs. 12 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Peer counseling; Peer influences on behavior; Positive peer culture
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