Here are some ideas to help you continue to make
a difference for stressed, maladjusted, troubled,
frightened, and vulnerable students during
school vacations.

*** Extend Your Reach: For some kids, their
teacher may be the only sane, sober, caring
adult they know, and then summer vacation
comes. To extend the reach of teachers and
other school-based youth workers who
provide invaluable stability, safety, direction
and nurturing, use this intervention: Address
pre-paid post cards to the teacher (or other
key school worker) at school, and give them
to the child on the last day of school. Ask
the child to write or draw on the post cards
then drop in the mail. Studies show that
children who have a sense of connection to
the community do better on almost every
measure including graduation rates, teen
pregnancy, delinquency, etc. The post cards
can preserve a bit of that connection over
the potentially lonely and difficult summer.

*** Connect Back: Before leaving for
summer vacation, the teacher (or
other school worker) can write up
post cards from the teacher to the
child, and ask the school secretary
to send out the cards over the summer.
The post cards (or letters or small
packages) can offer suggestions for
summer activities, provide encouragement
or contain specific activities that the
child can do.

*** Find Linkages: Prior to the
summer break, research
community groups that will
provide a summer connection
for your neglected, troubled or lonely
students. Groups such as Boys
and Girls Clubs, the YMCA, YWCA
and Big Brother, Big Sister can
provide activities, mentors, camp
experiences and other key
linkages. As delinquency tends to
increase when youth are not
involved in school or similar
activities, it may be very important
to structure summer vacation for
youth who would otherwise be
largely unshepherded.

*** Leisure Time Management: Kids
chronically claim there is nothing
to do. Show that there is always
something to do. Divide your youth
into 4 or 5 smaller groups. Ask each
group to imagine they have each been
given a small amount of money; one
group might be told they have $2.00,
the next group might have fifty cents,
etc. One group can be asked to imagine
they were given no money. Now, ask
each group to determine all the
activities, events and hobbies a person
could do with that small amount of
money. Provide access to phone books,
newspapers, the internet, etc. to
aid the groups to develop long lists.
Write up all the groups' answers
and distribute to your kids. Include
a wide range of activities such as
visiting the library, playing hackey sack,
reading, internships, sports, utilizing
mass transit, volunteering, crafts, etc.
Your kids will be amazed how much there
is to do when there is nothing to do!

*** Reach a Dream: Discuss how Martin
Luther King Jr. worked to reach his dream.
Ask your students what they are willing
to do to reach their dreams. Suggest that
the summer months may be the perfect
time to gain or perfect the skills needed
to reach each dream.

These ideas are all taken from Youth Change's
web site (http://www.youthchg.com), books,
e-books and workshops. Find hundreds of more similar,
free resources and live expert help on the site.

Author's Bio: 

Ruth Herman Wells MS is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops, http://www.youthchg.com and http://theclassroommanagementsite.com. Get free samples and see 100s more of her problem-stopping interventions at Youth Change's web site. Ruth is the author of dozens of books and ebooks, and conducts professional development workshops