Dancing at the Crossroads: A Guide for Caregivers in At-Risk Youth Programs (Paperback)
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An anthology of traditional and original stories with commentary for using the stories to help troubled teens in need of character formation and re-formation. Also for use in general classrooms and youth activities to undergird healthy character formation in the pre-teen and teen years. Mentoring teens can be a wild dance. As adults we count and measure our movements but teens have created their own music and their own steps, they dance to the cycle of adolescent change in an effort to become one of us, though they would never admit that.
The books Dancing at the Crossroads: Stories for Mentoring At-Risk Youth, Practitioner’s Guidebook and Caregiver’s Guidebook are packed with the lessons of fifteen years in the field working with at-risk populations in runaway shelters, group homes, residential treatment facilities and one-on one with youth and parents. Out of a real understanding of these young people and their needs, and a passion for helping guide them into the adult circle, Lorna MacDonald Czarnota has compiled a collection of time-tested stories with activities, advice and information for parents and families, and a series of programs that storytellers, mental health workers, counselors, therapists, and others can utilize with groups of their own.
About the Author
Once a teacher interested in history and narrative, Lorna Czarnota became aware of the healing power of stories when a teenage niece ran away from home twenty years ago. Czarnota’s career veered in the direction of helping teens who were experiencing character-formation issues. Since then, her professional and family interests have led her to work with at-risk pre-teens and teens, and to continue assembling narratives, programming and information for use by parents, teachers, counselors, social workers, and others who work closely with youth. The three books: Dancing at the Crossroads - Stories and Activities for At-Risk Youth Progamming, A Guide for Practitioners in At-Risk Youth Programs, and A Guide for Caregivers in At-Risk Programs, are the result of Czarnota's professional and personal odyssey.
“At-risk youth have often lived through hard times and trauma. Many of them react to probation officers, counselors, and social workers by closing up, communicating only minimally. Stories, unlike conventional helping methods, enter the brain "sideways," and youth can use stories to grapple with issues of identity and meaning. Lorna MacDonald Czarnota's skill as a master storyteller and her fifteen years of experience in working with at-risk youth have produced a valuable resource.”
— James Winship, MSW, Ph.D. Professor and Chair of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin
“Here in Ireland we are aware of Lorna Czarnota’s excellent work with at-risk youth and their families and also in detention centers and shelters. She demonstrates how the power of storytelling can reach those young people who are most vulnerable and give them the confidence to rebuild lives which have been shattered by events which are often outside their control. Dancing at the Crossroads will prove a valuable tool for storytellers everywhere.”
— Liz Weir, Storyteller Recipient of the International Storybridge Award Cushendall, Ireland