The article, "Saving Michael"
from the Chicago Tribune is a heartening story about a mother trying to better her son by figuring out ways in which to fix his behavioral problems and his grades. Living in a low income neighborhood such as Woodlawn, Chicago, Delaine, Michael's mother, understands that their are additional hurdles to face. But though her neighborhood has witnessed its share of violence she does not let these challenges stop her from creating the best for her child. Clinical psychologist Margret Nickels, director of the Center for Children and Families at Erikson Institute in Chicago believes that, "once they reach pre-puberty and puberty, there are many negative ways to deal with their feelings: gang membership, substance abuse and risk-taking behavior," which is exactly what Delaine wants to avoid. As a result of being a single-mother, Delaine realized that if she were to end her sons on-going behavioral problem and grade problem she would need to seek out help. She met up with Michael's teacher and set up an individual learning plan for him, which will help him learn in ways that will resonant more with him. Also, she is getting him help through a mentoring program for boys at Apostolic Church of God in Woodlawn. This mentoring program provides everything that Michael needs in his life to be successful and get his life on the right track stressing "the importance of God, obedience to parents, education, respectability, responsibility and accountability to boys ages 4 through 13." Tutoring and mentoring programs such as this one are important.
"Prevention studies in reading and behavior show that 70 to 90 percent of at-risk children (those in the bottom 20 percent of their class in kindergarten through second grade) can learn to read in the average range if given high-quality, high-quantity education, said Lyon, a professor of education leadership and policy at Southern Methodist University."
These programs help provide the "high-quality, high-quantity education" that children in these low-income neighborhoods need to succeed. In fact, the more of these tutor/mentor programs
we have in certain neighborhoods the less likely it is that children will join gangs, and young women will get pregnant and drop out of school. I applaud Delaine in her efforts of noticing her child's potential and finding ways to help better her child.