The groups have continued to evolve. Staff have remained flexible and have developed groups to meet the ongoing needs of clients involved in the juvenile justice system. In addition to the groups described above, the following FIT programs are ongoing:
Academic Career Enrichment. This career enrichment program, which was developed by a college intern who later became a staff member, teaches girls that there are a broad range of career options available to them. Women are invited to speak at the group's monthly sessions about both traditional and nontraditional careers. Girls are taught how to dress to be successful, how to complete job applications and write rŽsumŽs, and how to prepare for employment interviews. They also learn the important difference between a job and a career.
Computer and Emerging Technology. This group was originally established to prepare girls for their GED or the SAT. Like the other groups, it has evolved into something more. For example, participants are currently learning to repair and build computers.
Rites of Passage. This program is designed to help girls make a positive transition to womanhood. The celebration of womanhood with symbols, rituals, and spiritual and cultural awareness provides the major focus. Rites also introduce the girls to their ancestors and other women who paved the way for them. Rites of Passage ends with a graduation celebration. For some girls, this is their first encounter with success.
Pregnancy Prevention. This program is designed to help girls understand their sexuality and to provide them with information they can use to make choices. The program uses simulated babies donated by a local foundation that mimic an infant's actions to help girls decide if they are ready to be parents. Often, teen mothers talk to the group about their difficulty in trying to attend school and working with little or no assistance from the babies' fathers.
Teen Parenting Group. This group was developed at the request of teen parents who need help in parenting their children. The girls wanted to know how to nurture and how to become better parents. The relationship that girls form with the facilitator is beneficial, especially if the girls do not have supportive parents.
Substance Abuse Group. This group is designed to provide education and to identify the dangers of drugs. Girls are given the opportunity to talk about the effects of drugs on the mind and body. The group is not intended for girls addicted to substances.
Conflict Resolution. Many girls come into the system because of assault offenses. Thus, it is important that they learn new methods to deal with anger and conflict. Participation in this group is mandatory.
During the 1992 holiday season, staff from the Governor's office donated gifts for infants and toddlers. Gifts included a children's table and chair set for the unit so that children of the girls who came to the office would have a place to play or sit and listen to stories. The Governor's staff also donated books and toys to be given to the girls who needed them. The atmosphere in the office has continued to make it a place to which girls can bring their children when they have appointments with their case managers. It is not unusual to see babies playing or being read to while their mothers participate in one of the groups.