Children in Chaos: How Israel and the United States Attempt to Integrate At-Risk Youth

By Ivan C. Frank | Go to book overview

1
Changing Youths' Attitudes: Well-meaning Attempts in the United States

I'm the boy with the smileless laugh and the girl much too old for her time

Audra L. Bagley

On March 6, 1984, B. W., a twenty-year-old on probation, turned up at the Three Rivers Youth Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and offered to wash and polish my car. He did not finish it that first Friday, so he offered to return the next week. He eventually washed my car twice, the second time creating not a small amount of anxiety on my part, since he and the 1976 Ford disappeared for a few hours. (He later told me that he had gone to find some rags needed to complete the job, but it took him a little longer than he thought it would.) He also went far in the program, since he developed enough trust in us to stay until September and earn an "unofficial" completion certificate. He will be mentioned again in Chapter 6.

Y. A. of Tel Aviv, Israel, lived in a poor neighborhood in South Tel Aviv, across from the Barbour Community Center. His father was a policeman, his mother a housewife. They were born in Iraq. He finished the ninth grade and then left high school and had part-time jobs until 1976. When I met him in the winter of 1976, he was a well-known leader of the Barbour street group and considered himself "a sometimes member" of the center as far back as 1971. He had not paid membership since 1975. He was twice arrested for breaking and entering

-7-

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