Supporting Families and Youth Through Challenges

Kevin Krall 0:00
You're listening to special programming brought to you by Glow fitness. The content of this program does not reflect the views or opinions of 91.5 Jazz and more. The University of Nevada Las Vegas or the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education. Break breaking down barriers is brought to you by Glo fitness a fitness studio offering a variety of classes and sessions like Mommy and Me for mothers wanting to connect with their children through fitness, offering strength training boot camps and more. Glo fitness is located at 4250 East Bonanza Road Suite 19 specials and class schedules available at glow fitness dot Vegas or glow fitness dot Vegas on Instagram more information by phone at 702-612-6414. And I'm loving. I was born in God in any way and God

Earl White 1:13
bless. Welcome to another edition of breaking down barriers with Walton Earl. We're glad that you're able to join us this morning. And we have some special guests today. We're really excited about once you go ahead and introduce our guest. Thank

Walt Walters 1:30
you. I'm going to let them introduce themselves in just a second. We have Cheryl and Aelia with the Department of Juvenile Justice with Clark County, an organization called Harbor. And if you would, Sherry.

Unknown Speaker 1:48
Sure, I'm Sherry Right. I serve as an assistant director with the Clark County Department of Juvenile Justice Services where I oversee our diversion prevention and early intervention programming.

Walt Walters 2:01
Wonderful Aelia.

Unknown Speaker 2:03
My name is Leah Sanchez. I'm the manager of the harbors

Walt Walters 2:09
the actual facility over on Mojave?

Unknown Speaker 2:12
Yeah, we have five locations. My office is physically located at the one on Mojave.

Walt Walters 2:17
Wonderful. Well, thank you for being here. We know how busy are these days and getting ready for school to start and all that good stuff. So thank you. URL, I'm going to start with my first question if you don't mind. Ladies, can you can you share with us how the harbor came about and why it came about?

Unknown Speaker 2:40
Absolutely. So I can tell you that we in about 2013 and or 2014, we really started taking a look at the kids that were entering our system. And at that time, we actually partnered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to help us do some research and really dialed down on the kids that were coming through our intake hallway. And with their assistance, we found that about 70% of the kids entering the juvenile justice system were doing so on low level misdemeanors. So we really knew at that point that these were not kids that were out committing violent acts that these weren't kids that needed probation or a courtroom that these were kids and families that needed some guidance, some tools. And with that, we started looking around the country at what other jurisdictions were doing around diversion and what their diversion models look like. So at that point, we traveled to Louisiana, we traveled to Oregon, we traveled to Colorado and really in Colorado, we found a programs that really sort of we thought matched a lot of our needs in our community. And with that being said, you know, Las Vegas has a lot of unique challenges because of the 24 hour nature of our town. Sure, and the transient nature of our town. So you can't just take a program from another jurisdiction and bring it over, you have to make sure that you are taking those variables into consideration when building a program.

Walt Walters 4:21
So the kids initially that that came into the system that you saw, they were low level and not serious criminal,

Unknown Speaker 4:30
right. So these were low level nonviolent misdemeanors, but what we also learned about the needs of those children is those children had a lot of needs, around family issues, mental health issues and educational issues. So for us that really drove our development of the harbor around the types of interventions and resources we wanted to provide for kids and families.

Walt Walters 4:55
I see now, and I'm going to make a follow up question here real quick. Have you seen much of a change in terms of the new kids that are coming in today? versus, say, seven or eight years ago? Or is it pretty much the same?

Unknown Speaker 5:11
Well, one thing we're seeing, and I think this is a positive thing is that we're starting to see younger and younger kids. And we like that. The earlier we can intervene, the better we'd like to see kids before they get those citations. We'd like to see families and help support and stabilize them if they need those types of services. So I think younger kids, that's definitely been a trend. And then, you know, with COVID, we know that kids were definitely challenged socially, academically, emotionally, and families were taxed financially. That's, of course, a given with COVID. But so I think that we've seen kids that already had mental health issues, cold COVID exacerbated those. And for kids that really didn't have mental health issues, started to experience some stress and depression around some of the isolation. Sure, sure.

Walt Walters 6:07
Okay. Thank you for that.

Earl White 6:10
My question is, how does the harbor get it your How do you get your referrals for your program,

Unknown Speaker 6:16
right, so we get our referrals, a variety of ways. So though, again, those low level offenses that I talked about are those low level citations, the harbors able to accept those low level misdemeanor citations. And then also, you know, we want to just be a resource to the whole community. So we have people enter the harbor a variety of ways the school district makes a tremendous amount of referrals to the harbor, again, we like that, trying to get those kids in before there have legal involvement or citations. A parent can hear about us and bring their child in. We get other aid referrals from other agencies. So really a variety of ways we the harbor really strives to be a No Wrong Door, one stop shop for the community.

Walt Walters 7:03
That's wonderful. That's wonderful. Would you say the majority of them are referred from the schools,

Unknown Speaker 7:09
from our agency referrals? The school district? is our number one referral, agency referral? Yes.

Earl White 7:15
So quick question. So if a parent, say I'm a parent, I'm having a problem with my son, or daughter? Would I be able to make a referral? Can I call you and say, Hey, I need some help? Or how would that work?

Unknown Speaker 7:30
I'll go ahead and answer that one. If you're a parent and your kid neato, you could walk in and bring your kid to come, we're open seven days a week, you could call and say, When can I come? You know, based on your availability and your schedule, you don't need a referral to come in. So as a parent, you can just walk in, you don't have to have anyone refer you

Earl White 7:51
when it cost me anything? No, it was programs free. And so with my kid what you do an assessment to find out as they work,

Unknown Speaker 8:01
so we typically would like the families if you have insurance to bring your insurance. But in general, we have we you would come in and we would do a screening, and sit down with you to find out what's going on what are your needs? And how can we help. We will talk to the parent and the kid to get some background information to see what brought them in, and then we will point them in the direction that's most appropriate for them. And then from there, we would provide case management services. So we would follow up and check in to see how it's going. How their service went. So let's say we made a referral to for therapy, let's say, we would like to know from the family, like how did it go when you got there? How are you connecting to the therapist? What's this like for you? So we we follow them as well.

Walt Walters 8:48
I'm going to ask you a question every time you say I start thinking of other things. When you run in to somebody, a new a new client, how often do you follow up with the family and the child and all that? Well,

Unknown Speaker 9:05
typically, after that first meeting with the family, it's a minimum of once a week. And it's also dictated by at that point when we know that next appointment is going to be because we want the families to feel supported. And sometimes systems are hard to navigate the systems that we count on. So really we're there to help families walk through that process.

Walt Walters 9:31
Okay, now, okay. My next question, how do you select mentors? And do you have mentors in the program?

Unknown Speaker 9:41
So we work with a variety of agencies that provide mentoring services in our community. And at the same time, we're also looking for expanding those services and having formal mentoring informal mentoring, you know, and like a variety of, of ways. I think that looking at the child's needs, some kids are better suited for group mentoring services, some kids might be better suited for individual mentoring. And then we also have a truancy prevention outreach program that was really born out of the success that we've had at the harbor. And something that we're getting into with that program as a parent mentoring, you know, parents, there's a lot of single parents in our community. Many of them have more than one job, and are also trying to balance parenting and their employment. And it can be very stressful. And then on top of that, if your child might receive a citation, or is having trouble at school, those are added stressors. So we really want to be there for parents and support parents. So that's, that's something that's important to us

Walt Walters 10:58
makes, makes all the sense in the world in the line of business that are all in Ireland. If you don't include the family and the parents, and in helping the child is just not going to work. Because it's a, it's one whole unit

Earl White 11:13
is that you can't have a kid coming to you and be all right, and then send them home and not have connect with the parent and kind of find you know, we have a sin, you want to know what's wrong with the kid follow them home. And, you know, once that doors open, there's all types of challenges. What do you see is the biggest challenges facing families today in this environment.

Unknown Speaker 11:40
So I think that against services can be very challenging to navigate. So I think that was the important thing, when we stood the harbor up is to make it as user friendly as possible, and to really at the same time, gain feedback from the parents, so we can continue to improve our service delivery model. So we have surveys that we give to kids and parents at three different times throughout sort of their time with us, and then we follow up after a year. And so we really do use that feedback to incorporate policy changes. And you know, our service delivery model, mental health, I think, has really surged. And I think that the there's been more of a focus on it. So I think the community is better understanding some of the challenges that kids and parents are facing. So a kid may have mental health issues, and then think about it. Let's say mom or dad does, too. Now that's an added stressor. Because Mom and Dad are trying to manage their own challenges and at the same time tend to the challenges of their child substance abuse issues. So there's lots of kids that it goes way beyond experimentation for and how we can try to intervene with those kids and families sooner.

Earl White 13:02
Okay, do you guys work much with outside entities who have their own mentoring program, and allow them to work with you guys, or if there's connection there, like, if there's an organization out there, and they do mentoring, or they encouraged to kind of partner with you guys, or how does that work?

Unknown Speaker 13:23
The the harbor would not exist without the great partnerships we have. So we are looking always looking at establishing and strengthening community partnerships to better provide services to the kids and families we serve at the harbor. Because my background is in mental health when we stood the harbor up I was very mental health, heavy and mental health. We have We definitely have those needs. But there are other needs to some kids don't need a therapist, but they might need some life skills or the guidance and support of a mentor or recreational activities. So how we've transformed over the, you know, five or six years we've been open, I think we've transformed a lot and and continued to expand our service array to meet the needs of the kids and families that we serve.

Unknown Speaker 14:21
And to just piggyback off of what she was saying. agencies or organizations that do mentoring we would we're always open and welcoming to hear about different organizations and things like that.

Walt Walters 14:34
That's wonderful. That's when I wanted to give you a hypothetical. You get a referral with a child could be whatever age it is in your your work with the child and you find out that the parent has mental illness. How do you handle that?

Unknown Speaker 14:54
Okay, so that goes that goes back to our great partnerships. So one of our are partnerships at the harbor, so they actually have staff stationed at our harbor Mojave location is the Department of Health and Human Services and adult mental health falls under there. So we're able to hook parents up that might need those services. So that's part of it. And I think when both of you talk about the Focus on the Family, that's so important, because if we were just interviewing the kid, we would completely miss that child might not know they might be embarrassed. And so really, we take our time with families that come to the harbor, we're not racing them through an interview, we spend typically an hour and a half to two hours with families on that initial assessment. And there's a portion that where the parent can be talked to privately. So if they have things that they don't want their child to know, initially, we talked to the child privately, and then we spent some time with a family unit. And I think through that process, we gain the most comprehensive information we can about family,

Walt Walters 16:07
I can see that because that could be alien.

Unknown Speaker 16:10
So yeah, I just wanted to add to what she was saying, too. So one of the really good things at the harbor to with that scenario you gave is that we try to meet the needs of the family. So while we may be case managing a family, and know, based on that interview, Sherry speaking about that maybe this family or this parent might need some additional support or services, or we need to keep the case open longer, because we are we're aware that they have some mental health issues of their own, that they're also trying to get addressed. We have the flexibility to keep the case open longer, because we want to meet the needs of the family.

Walt Walters 16:48
Oh, that's wonderful. You know, it would just seem to me as you you were speaking and defining that so clearly, that even with a child, the parent might be the causal effect for the issues that the child has. And can I certainly

Unknown Speaker 17:07
I want to share. So part of the services and resources that we utilize, again, like Sherry was saying, we have some really good partnerships with agencies in the community. We also have parenting classes, parenting programs, we've partnered with some agencies that can assist families based on the information they share and what their needs are. And I think that's one of our best benefits is that we aren't going to separate the kid from from the parent, or they are the unit that that is who we're treating. And so like you guys have been saying, we're not going to say, well, we'll focus on the kid when they live at home, they have to go home with their parents, and the entire family needs help.

Earl White 17:48
You know, I go back in time, and you appreciate this. years ago, Walt and I were tasked as by the sheriff to mentor some what they considered low hanging fruit. Guys were in attacking crew. And they didn't want them graduating to higher crime. So there was a big community rally around around these kids. And we took seven of them. We took seven of them. And we really, it was an eye opener to us. Because, you know, I had a friend tell us one time, you know, I'm all happy you got this case, and it's working. And he goes, Well, you get your heart broken yet. What do you mean, because next week, we found out, so what it meant and so, but we had direct contact with the families every week. And what we think the success of the program we did was, that was the key. Because we were able to know when the dad was in working. Dads out of work a lot of pressure on the family because now no money's coming in. They don't know where they're going to. They're going to be able to stay in their place. The rent the dang with when we got an apartment over there and the kid we took the kid. Yeah. Once you want to talk about that when we have to take the kid out of

Walt Walters 19:16
well, we we had an influence in in tell where the community was we had an influence in the community that was affecting these two brothers. So our best bet we felt was to move the family out of that area into a different different school setting and in and all those things. You guys are more familiar with this. And I was and it worked out well. It worked out well. And we had a we had a one of the brothers that went over there, went to high school, actually went to college afterwards and graduated from college. And so it was a real success. Now, the other child, it didn't work out that way for him. And I guess that's part of it. You know, that's those are the things that professionals like you deal with and, and early, you might give them another situation with that same group about the kid that wouldn't go to school and why

Earl White 20:23
we couldn't believe it. Because he was transitioning from middle school to high school. And when he didn't meet with us, we went to his house and fathers, their mothers, their fathers working on the cars, and kids laying on the couch. And we said, Well, why he's not in school. And the parents just kind of threw their hands up. Well, he won't go, and we talked to him about it and stuff. But what we realize is, you know, with the parents, their education was limited. So it wasn't a big priority, it was almost like, go out there and learn what your dad's learning and fix on cars and that kind of generational thing. But, you know, it was, we spent, I think, our eye opener was a time that we spent with the parents, just because as we were parents, and so our challenge is what our kids were different than this families, these families. And we got to know the parents, we got to really get involved in to this day, we're still connected to some of the grandmothers that kind of call us and, you know, hey, my daughter, you know, you didn't ever you never met her, but I had a daughter, and she came back and she was on this than the other. And, you know, lucky for us, we know how to referral people, you know, we that's not what, that's not what we do. So we refer you to the proper agency. Now, we know we have Two Harbors to do that, what, but those were things that were eye openers for us. But it also gave us a lot of gratitude that we know we were trying to make an impact with a family. So

Unknown Speaker 22:05
I mean, that story really speaks to the power of relationships and mentoring and how you can plant some seeds to that stick with people and grow later on. So that's a tremendous story.

Walt Walters 22:18
And it doesn't seem like we had a great deal of success. But we had one real success out of seven kids. And we just pray and hope that the other ones are okay. I've got to thank you for that. And I've got my my question here. And this is a tough one, something that's topical right now. What is your opinion of the rise of violence in our schools today? And how do you see a fix for it? If you do?

Unknown Speaker 22:50
Well, I mean, that that certainly is a tough question. And I'll and I really want to go back to COVID. Because I think that in many cases, some of the community has like underestimated how much that impacted kids and families. Kids were very isolated. They were on social media more more than they were before, which I don't even know how that happens. Right? So they're not having the same support. So first, kids are going to school five days a week for several hours a day. And for some kids school is their safe place. That's right. They have their support system there. They have important mentors there. And when you take all of that, and put it online, it's different. And then we knew a lot of kids and families were struggling with, they didn't have Chromebooks, they didn't have the right Wi Fi. Kids didn't have a private bedroom where they could or a space that they could go into learn. So part of our program the truancy prevention outreach program was we were out canvassing and knocking on doors to make sure kids had those resources so they could even get on and connect with the school.

Unknown Speaker 24:15
If I could just add to what Sherry was certainly other things that people like she's saying that that didn't account for with COVID is when you took away their ability to go to school. That was their outlet that was their break from home. One of my biggest fears when COVID first hit and things started shutting down. My because I'm a therapist, my thought was like, oh my goodness, we've got kids that are going to be stuck in the home with limited resources, probably family stressing and struggling, maybe to get by and figure out what's next. And kids that are in homes with domestic violence or physical abuse and sexual abuse. Their outlet is no longer school. So those mandated quarters that they were able to see at school, the break that they would get from being at home, that is no longer even an option when you're stuck in the house for however long COVID kept us stuck in the house, in addition to all the things that Sherry was saying. So if you're being exposed, if you're on social media more, and you're watching or observing violence, more, all of those things are are being added to the equation. And then you add in probably some deficits in regards to education and learning, trying to get back to a routine and go back to school, and frustrations or learning disabilities and things that would have initially maybe been seen by outside resources when they play sports, when they go to school, when they can do Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, all those things once COVID hit and took all that away. All that was gone. So here we are bouncing back. Yeah, thought of that. We're bouncing back. We're trying to

Earl White 25:55
let me ask you a question. What, during the COVID when the kids were out of school? Was there uptaken? Suicide, youth suicides? And

Unknown Speaker 26:06
there was there was in our community? Absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 26:11

Unknown Speaker 26:11
Yes, absolutely. Yeah.

Earl White 26:14
Was that due to COVID? What I mean, it's are some other factors. I

Unknown Speaker 26:17
think the other factors are, I think, I Leah's point that you didn't have. I mean, the schools have some protocols around suicide assessments and things like that many times teachers who see the kids every day, understand when Johnny's coming in, and now he's acting different, or he's wearing dirty clothes to school all of a sudden, so you didn't have those additional sets of eyes and ears on kids to be able to identify those things.

Walt Walters 26:45
And even with athletics, a kid gets a couple three hours out in the football field to kind of get those frustrations and out of his system. And maybe that makes a difference. Sure. Absolutely. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 26:59
for sure. Isolation and feeling like hopeless, like, especially in the beginning of COVID. Like, when is this going to end? How when do we get to go back? What does this look like? And the unknown of all of that, and they're just sitting,

Unknown Speaker 27:10
right? And then to mention to like the grief component, we had kids that were losing parents and losing grandparents due to COVID. Grief.

Earl White 27:21
Right? That's right. And, and couldn't say goodbye to him. To see him and or nothing. So that was that was really tough. Well, we're about at the end of our show here, I want to give you ladies an opportunity to say some last words to our audience. I just

Unknown Speaker 27:41
want the community to know that the harbor is open, and here to help. And our main number is 702-455-6912. And our website is the harbor l

Walt Walters 27:54
Can you repeat that phone number once for sure.

Unknown Speaker 27:58
702455691212. And we're open seven days a week 8am to 10pm 8am to

Walt Walters 28:08
seven days a week,

Unknown Speaker 28:11
wonderful. I would encourage people to check out our website. The T pop is on there as well. Anybody any mentor programs or organizations or agencies that are interested in trying to partner with the harbor, get connected with those there's a link called become a become a better provider that's on our website. So if that's something that they're interested in, they can go to the website and see that as well.

Walt Walters 28:38
Earl, do I have a second to say something to you, after we've known you a bit? Not not for too long. But after hearing it today as a true heroes.

Earl White 28:51
Amen. We appreciate it. appreciate all the hard work you do seven days a week. And we look forward to working with you in the future. We excited about it and we talk about it all the time. Are we excited about it that just get in the battle and try to help our community. So thank you for being a guest. And thank you to our listening audience for tuning in to another segment of breaking down barriers with Walden neural, thank you.

Kevin Krall 29:21
breaking down barriers is brought to you by Glo fitness a fitness studio offering a variety of classes and sessions like Mommy and Me for mothers wanting to connect with their children through fitness offering strength training boot camps and more. Glo fitness is located at 40 to 50 East Bonanza Road Suite 19 specials and class schedules available at glow fitness dot Vegas or glow fitness dot Vegas on Instagram more information by phone at 702-612-6414

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Supporting Families and Youth Through Challenges
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