In commemoration of the devastating massacre on youth in Columbine High School, the event which prompted the creation of CARY, mayor Lee Leffingwell once again recognized CARY’s youth violence work by proclaiming April 20-26 as CARY Youth Violence Prevention Week.
CARY’s work goes on throughout the year. To serve approximately 750 youth, one week’s cost is nearly $11,000. “The reward for this investment is many times the cost when we keep kids out of the pipeline to prison. When you factor in the pain and suffering of crime victims and the families of kids who end up in prison, we are inspired to continue to expand our work!” states Adrian Moore, Executive Director.
For the Council on At-Risk Youth (CARY), recent crime stats for Travis County certify the benefits of early intervention to violence-prone kids.
The latest report from the Texas Department of Public Safety – “Texas Crime Report” – shows a remarkable 43 percent decrease in arrests of school age youths for violent crimes over the past 5 years in Travis County. Meanwhile, arrests in San Antonio (Bexar County) and Houston (Harris County) went down an average of just 16 percent, respectively, in the same time span. Just last year saw violent crimes go down 16 percent among 20-and-under year-olds, CARY’s target group, compared to a 5 percent drop in violent crimes for all ages, according the FBI’s 2012 Unified Crime Report. Likewise, The Austin American Statesman recently highlighted the 5 percent fewer violent-crime arrests in Austin last year, compared to rising rates nationally.
“This is extremely good news,” said Stan Knee, CARY board chair and former Austin police chief. “I have been volunteering with CARY for the last two years and knew that CARY has an impact on youth violence. These reports confirm the value of CARY’s work in Austin area schools.”
CARY works with an average of 600 youth each year in eight Austin middle schools and the Alternative Learning Center. The typical CARY student has been in trouble for violent or abusive behavior, but has not yet been arrested. This offers CARY a small, critical window for reform.
“School disciplinary acts are powerful predictors of future delinquency and criminality,” states Adrian Moore, CARY executive director. “Over half of all bullies are predicted to have one criminal court conviction by age 24, and 40 percent will have three criminal court convictions.”
CARY’s PeaceRox program teaches social skills, anger management and empathy.
Recent independent evaluation of the program shows that, compared to similar students not enrolled in PeaceRox, CARY students had better grades and school attendance, fewer serious behavior incidents, and lower drug abuse referrals, school suspensions, and removals to disciplinary settings.
It’s a trend CARY hopes will continue – in crime reports and community classrooms.
You are the Difference!
The Council for At-Risk Youth makes an impact in the everyday lives of your children. It’s your passion and involvement fueling this difference. You are the difference!