Struggling teens are often looked at as lost causes in school. In a recent NPR article, four men are trying to change how struggling teens are looked at in school. The four men–Chris Regan, Jordan Wagner, Eric Schiffhauer, and Jebree Christian–all live in Baltimore and derive from various backgrounds. Some are getting their Ph.D., one sells golf equipment online, and one recently graduated high school. All of them gather in a local diner every Sunday to discuss how they’re going to change the lives of struggling teens.
What are they trying to do for struggling teens?
These four men strive to help mentor struggling teens. Why? They used to all be struggling teens themselves. For example, Chris grew up in a dangerous neighborhood, lost his sister, and had to become an adult quickly. He described the experience, “At 13, I mean I knew how to do everything there is possible to do. I had a perfect attendance rate through middle school.”
When he reached high school, things took a turn for the worse and his GPA dropped to 1.6. Instead of this ruining his life, it actually qualified him for a nonprofit called Thread. Thread is a program which focuses on helping struggling teens in their freshmen year of high school become more successful.
How Thread works
When a struggling teen is chosen, they’re assigned 5 volunteers from the community that do tasks any parent would perform: giving them a ride to school, helping them with homework, finding a summer job, and packing their lunch. The volunteers help keep the struggling teens accountable.
Thread started in 2004 and has helped hundreds of struggling teens so far. About 92 percent have graduated and 80 percent have continued on to higher educated. Sarah Hemminger explained that education isn’t the only goal, though. A huge goal she has is for these struggling teens to find something they love, that they’re good at, that they can find purpose in. Thread is showing the world that struggling teens just need a little boost to get them to reach their full potential.
If your son or daughter is truly struggling in school, it’s important to seek out a professional to help you decide what steps your family needs to take in order to help your child succeed.