Reaching At-Risk Kids

Help at-risk kids help others.

One of the most beneficial things you can do for a child is to give him or her a chance to serve someone in need. Caring for another nurtures a sense of importance, responsibility, and love in the giver. It allows a sense of control in a child who otherwise may not feel control. It helps children see that they have something to give.

Labels and Love

At-risk children are often labeled, and labels can hinder their ability to find the love and care they need.

Show kids they matter.

I remember listening to a 12 year-old who was in juvenile detention for molesting a younger cousin. Between tears and the hiccups of hyperventilation, she screamed, “I know I’m a monster! I know I’m no good!” She, too, had been molested by a family member, and to counteract her feelings of helplessness and rage, she’d become the predator in control.

Imagine being thought of as a “throwaway.” These children feel worthless, problematic, a nuisance, and of no value. Sadly, our society attaches this unspoken label to thousands of at-risk kids. These kids may have discipline issues, social challenges, and much more. They may require more love, patience, and nurturing than the “normal” kids. But rather than embrace them, our tendency is to be exasperated by them. Eliminate the “throwaway” mentality by establishing these four filters in your classroom environment.

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jenniferhooks@churchleaders.com'
Jennifer is managing editor of Children's Ministry Magazine and Children's Ministry Professional Edition.