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To use physical training and psychoeducation as a means to engage disadvantaged youth and their families in multiple services such as life skills training, supportive counseling, education-related treatment, behavioral modification programs, and referral services and case management. In so doing, F.I.T. strives to build self-efficacy, increase independence, link juveniles and their families to resources, enhance problem solving abilities, and raise personal consciousness.
Adolescence is a particularly intense and climacteric stage of development. During the time of life between pre-pubescence and young adulthood, youth are challenged by accelerated mental, emotional, cognitive, and physical changes. In addition, these juveniles are exceedingly affected by environmental stimuli. For teenagers from economically and socially disadvantaged communities, this phase of human development is certainly characterized by disquietude. As they encounter the usual vicissitudes of pubescent unfolding, they strive against limited access to tangible resources, life-enhancing opportunities, and social capital as well as exposure to disruptive life-style patterns, owing to the effects of inequalities and community disorganization. Consequently, this population of young people has a high prevalence of poor school performance and educational attainment, teen pregnancy, crime and delinquency, substance abuse, and stress-related health issues.
F.I.T. Camp - an acronym for Focus, Initiative, and Tenacity - is designed to add to the system of established services intended to maintain and improve the well-being of disadvantaged youth, families and communities. F.I.T. Camp is founded on the empowerment approach to problem-solving and is infused with culturally competent practices. These fundamental principles are aimed at meeting the challenge of providing effective services to poor, ethnic minority communities and producing long-term successful outcomes for at-risk youth. Our vision is to
develop socially, emotionally, and physically healthy youth who have the ability and skill to self-actualize.
The basic mission of F.I.T. Camp is to empower disadvantaged, ethnic minority youth. For the purposes of this program, empowerment has five central meanings:
▪ Identification of aspirations and attendant goal-setting
▪ Self-awareness and personal consciousness
▪ Access to life-sustaining, life-enhancing, and goal-attaining resources and
▪ Operative problem-solving skills
▪ Effective coping mechanisms
Involvement and participation of primary caregivers are essential and obligatory features of F.I.T. Camp. From a strength-centered perspective, each family’s resources, needs, and preferences are identified, developed, and utilized in the interest of supporting the youths’ aspirations, confidence, and competence.
The program can be administered as an afterschool program or a summer camp with sessions focused on fitness, nutrition education, relationship development, and goal setting. Currently, the board is planning for implementation of the after school model at a LAUSD school.
- Raquel Warley
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