February 2018 Newsletter

Inroads In Idaho and Baltimore …
and a Mascot for SFY!



SFY Brings Police Training to Idaho

Strategies for Youth had the pleasure of working with the Idaho State Advisory Group (SAG) to provide Policing the Teen Brain™ trainings to law enforcement officers across the state.

Chelsea Newton, Program Specialist for the Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction (IDJC), coordinated the trainings which were presented to officers in Boise, Pocatello, Sandpoint and Lewiston, Idaho. Some juvenile detention officers and school officials attended the trainings, as well. In total, over 140 people were trained throughout the state.

“Officers who attended the training stated the information they learned was very valuable,” said Newton. “Officers said they have applied what they learned while interacting with youth in their community, and they have already seen positive results.”

“SFY’s evaluation results showed that officers were grateful for the practical skills the training provided when interacting with youth,” said David Walker, SFY’s Director of Training.

SFY provided “Train-the-Trainer” trainings to build the state’s capacity to offer Policing the Teen Brain™ independently with local psychologists and officers presenting, respectively Day 1 and Day 2 of the training.

Next steps: The IDJC is planning to bring the training next to at least two more communities in hopes of training officers from all districts in the state.



SFY Discovers It’s Mascot

This winter, while searching for a recipe that would resemble my grandfather’s almond cookies, I came across a recipe for the “amygdalota.”

At SFY, we often speak of the amygdala during the Policing the Teen Brain™ trainings. Amygdala, the Greek word for “almond” is one of the most primitive parts of the brain, often referred to as the emotional center of the brain responsible for fight, flight, and freeze responses. During adolescence, the amygdala often acts like the brain’s accelerator, as the slower maturing frontal lobe plays the role of the brake.

Amygdalota cookies are sweet, they’re crunchy, they’re airy. True to its name, you will find that it’s very easy to ignore any brake on your desire to eat an entire batch.



JJJ Goes to Baltimore

What happens if you bring a game to a city and everyone wants to play? You celebrate!

Never in SFY’s history have we received the kind of excited welcome we received in Baltimore!

Thanks to Jerrell Bratcher’s outreach and organizing, over 100 people in Baltimore participated in SFY’s trainings to become Juvenile Justice Jeopardy™ game leaders: Bratcher, a member of the John Hopkins University Black Faculty Staff Association, who volunteered his time and community connections, made the trainings a success.

SFY returned in January to present the game to members of the juvenile court, the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, and counselors at Humanim.

“This game fills a gap,” said Jerrell Bratcher. “Juvenile Justice Jeopardy™ is loved because kids don’t feel lectured or threatened. They come out feeling empowered because they get to voice their opinions and ask questions.”

“Everyone is looking for a mechanism to engage kids when talking about how to interact with the police and with friends. I think once the folks saw how involved the kids were, they were sold on it.” said Sharon Bucknor, a manager for the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks

“Parents should play this game, too,” said a parent attending the game leader training. “It’s a very interactive tool. Everyone who engages in the game can learn something…”

When the game was piloted with youth on probation, a probation officer noted that the group discussion brings about “an understanding, more tolerance, an opportunity to agree to disagree and remember that the facts and laws are what they are.”