The objective of the CARY PeaceRox Youth Violence Prevention program is to reduce school based violence and aggression against others by conducting violence prevention social cognitive groups for at-risk middle school students. PeaceRox uses group based social skills training and individual coaching to teach kids new skills as alternatives to aggressive and campus violence. This program is currently operational in the Austin Independent School District with middle school students at Bedichek, Burnet, Dobie, Garcia, Pearce and Webb Middle Schools and the Alternative Learning Center (ALC).
The population includes middle school students who have been removed from classrooms for one or more of the following: fighting, physical aggression towards students or adults and assault on students or adults. In addition, these students also often display rudeness and threaten or harass students or adults. The students at the Alternative Learning Center have the same disciplinary issues with the added consequence of having been removed from their school for the serious nature of their offenses.
CARY’s program utilizes Aggression Replacement Training (ART). ART is designed to teach adolescents to understand and replace aggression and antisocial behavior with positive alternatives. The program’s three-part approach includes training in social skills, anger control and moral reasoning. ART has been used successfully throughout the United States and Canada. CARY Youth Advisors teach these components in a group setting for up to 14 weeks. In addition, Youth Advisors meet with students for individual coaching and goal setting. Youth advisors meet with students in a group setting and on an individual basis for two school semesters. Students at the Alternative Learning Center receive the same program only with less exposure as their stay at the Alternative Learning Center usually ranges from 20 to 30 days.
CARY also incorporates a parent component in its intervention program through Parent Empowerment Groups. Parent Empowerment Groups bring families together to participate in activities that research has proven will improve family functioning and decrease student problem behaviors that impact school performance. The Parent Empowerment Group serves a dual function- intervention and prevention. Families can expect 1 1/2 hour sessions to promote family bonding, provide information and training about ART and support energizing family exchanges.
CARY also incorporates a service learning component in its intervention program. Service Learning is a method of teaching, learning and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful community service. Research on the effectiveness of Service Learning can be found at the National Service Learning Partnership Web site. One of the Service Learning approaches is the Peace Jam curriculum. The mission of Peace Jam is to create young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates who pass on the spirit, skills and wisdom they embody.
PeaceRox uses Aggression Replacement Training (ART), a science-based approach that has been implemented across the nation since its creation in 1987. It has been the focus of many research studies and has proven to reduce offending behavior. Some of the studies can be viewed on the following Web site: Aggression Replacement Training This powerful intervention is also an approved Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program. In addition, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, OJJDP, Web site rates ART as an effective model program and provides detailed information, including logic models and performance matrices.
CARY collaborates closely with AISD principals, assistant principals, counselors, teachers and other youth service agencies. Communities in Schools of Central Texas and mental health and drug abuse organizations work with students referred to CARY Youth Advisors.