Final Draft P2
25 March 2015
A Better Community Violent crimes committed by juveniles in Orleans Parish have increased rapidly over the past decade. Many parents are now opting to keep their children indoors instead of letting them play outside because violent crime has overrun the streets. Juvenile crime has been a major on-going issue in the city of New Orleans. The city has not yet established an efficient way to decrease juvenile crime; therefore, it is necessary to establish a new method to combat this growing epidemic. One way to tackle this issue is to implement an extracurricular activity policy that would require all students in pre-K through 12th grade to spend at least ten hours a week outside of school focusing on something of their interest; older students may substitute work as an activity. City officials should consider enacting a mandatory extracurricular activity policy in grade school; this policy could potentially lower the juvenile crime rate by educating inner-city youth outside of the classroom, keeping students engaged in positive experiences, and providing mentorship that develops community building skills. A mandatory extracurricular activity policy will help reduce juvenile crime in New Orleans. Inner-city youth have way too much free time; therefore, without proper guidance are more likely to participate in peer related criminal behavior. A mandatory extracurricular activity policy will keep inner-city youth occupied and out of prison. A decrease in juvenile crime in New Orleans will translate into a significant surplus of available funds for other necessary resources. Currently, “Louisiana spends about $663 million a year to feed, house, secure and provide medical care to 40,000 inmates. Nearly a third of that money -- $182 million -- goes to for-profit prisons” (Chang). If at-risk juveniles are kept out of prison, New Orleans will have a brighter future. Children that participate in extracurricular activities will learn life skills that may not be taught in the school systems. Children that volunteer for the city may learn how to garden and fix houses. Students that participate on sports teams may learn how to share with others and be a team player. Every skill children are able to learn will follow them for the rest of their lives. No matter what a student does with their future, knowledge will never hurt them. A great opportunity for students to gain useful skills and knowledge is at Audubon Nature Institute. “These opportunities allow students to examine various career paths as well as learn valuable work place skills including responsibility, self-confidence, accountability and public speaking” (Audubon Nature Institute). Audubon’s volunteer program is a great stepping stone to move children from the four walls that consistently surround them to a whole new world; a world that uses the skills Audubon teaches them and prepares them to lead successful lives. Students can replace negative behaviors and relationships with positive interactions and confidence-building experiences. Students who get involved in positive extracurricular activities are likely to become successful in adulthood.; whereas, students who choose to take part in criminal activities often enter the Penal System at an early age and face a high rate of recidivism.
One positive extracurricular activity that guides youth towards a successful path is The Boy Scouts of America (BSA); The BSA teaches boys to make new friends, work together as a team, explore the outdoors, and become good citizens. This organization’s core belief is that “helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society” (About the BSA). The BSA in New Orleans offers inner-city boys an opportunity to learn teamwork and survival skills on camping trips. Mentors or pack leaders, typically male, lead the pack of boys into the wild and teach them how to survive. These Orleans Parish