Author Topic: Pittsburg Youth Academy  (Read 1161 times)

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Offline Antigen

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Pittsburg Youth Academy
« on: February 20, 2006, 01:15:00 PM »
Published Thurs, March 6th 2003

Antioch woman's battle with addiction lauded
MARIANNE ROWEN of Antioch has lived in East County for seven years. She was born and raised in Newark, Ohio, where she graduated from Carondalet High School in 1974 with a 3.0 GPA. Her parents are Richard and Delores Alden of Concord. She has been employed for nine months in the office of Dr. Richard Joyce, an optometrist. She meets and greets patients, makes appointments, dispenses glasses and helps people select frames and lenses. She graduated from Diablo Valley College in 1976.

Rowen has been a member of His Lighthouse Ministry since 1994. Her siblings are Patsy Welty, Kathy Alden, Peggy Seidel, Diane Milano, Joe Alden, Rich Alden and Tom Alden. She has three children, Denis Rowen, 22, Their Rowen, 19, and Delores Rowen, 7.

Her hobbies are reading, outdoor activities, music and sports. She enjoys helping people. She likes the Head Start Program and maintaining a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Her travels have taken her to Colorado, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Texas. She has taken college courses at Diablo Valley College, San Jose State University and Sacramento State.

Her happiest experience was the birth of her children and her most difficult life experience was going to jail. It is now her determination to be a good role model and an example of what a person can overcome. She enjoys sharing her faith, her life experiences and encouraging others to be the best they can be. It is her desire to be reunited with her two older children and to one day purchase her own home.

If it were in her power, she would eradicate drug abuse and would help teach young parents how to use available resources that would enable them to become better parents. She would also fully fund the Head Start Program so every eligible child could participate.

She is a firm supporter of the Contra Costa County Head Start Program and has been recognized by Head Start with several outstanding awards including 2002 Beating the Odds awards from the California Head Start Association, the Region IX Head Start Association and the National Head Start Association.

Rowen, through her faith in God and help from the county Head Start Program has successfully overcome 20 years of drug and alcohol addiction and has turned her life around and is now a wonderful community role model for those struggling with personal addictions.

4AC Second Annual College Fair

The African American Academic Achievement Committee (4AC) announces their second annual College Fair, to be held March 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Deer Valley High School in Antioch. Last year's event attracted more than 35 colleges and universities. There is no charge and the public is invited.

Sponsorship levels are: Bonze: $1,000; Silver: $1,500; Gold: $2,500; Platinum: $3,500; Emerald: $5,000; and Official Sponsor: $10,000. For additional information, call Richard Shade at 925-757-9134 or David Barnes at 925-757-2922.

Youth Academy prepares

The Pittsburg Youth Academy is now accepting applications for its weekend youth discipline camp. The camp is for boys and girls between ages of 8 and 18. The U.S. Marine Corps will handle the disciplinary portion of the camp. Youth will check in on Friday at 5 p.m. and check out on Sunday at 5 p.m. For information or to receive an application call 925-432-2882.


The upcoming "Homecoming Reunion Celebration" of the Historic Mc Glothen Temple Church of God in Christ will take place at 3 p.m. March 23 at 1443 Filbert St. in Richmond where the Rev. John Jennings is host pastor. All present and former members as well as the general public is cordially invited to attend. Evangelist Mary Willard and I will serve as co-masters of ceremonies.

The column of Bishop Curtis A. Timmons, Th.D., an Antioch pastor, appears each Thursday. Write to him at 301 West 10th St., Suite 7, Antioch, CA 94509 or P.O. Box 8213, Pittsburg, CA 94565, call him at 925-753-1830 or send e-mail to Help At Any Cost. Fax a copy of National Institute of Justice Preventing Crime: What Works,
What Doesn?t, What?s Promising

(please note, however, that both Antioch and Pittsburg (w/o the "h" on the end) both refer to locations in California, not my fairly crippled city) disarm the people (is) the best and most effective way to enslave them...
-- George Mason

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
~ Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes

Offline Antigen

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Pittsburg Youth Academy
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 01:16:00 PM »

Posted on Sun, Feb. 12, 2006  

Conduct Unbecoming

By Andrew Becker
CONTRA COSTA TIMES ... 854442.htm

As his mother dropped him off at Central Junior High School for a weekend "behavior modification" boot camp in late January, Rudy Foreman got his first order -- and a taste of things to come -- from an intimidating Jerry Jackson.

"Go get that sleeping bag," Jackson, a retired Army drill sergeant dressed in camouflage fatigues, said as he glowered at the boy.

Rudy, all 8 years and 4 feet of him and "no bigger than a minute" as Jackson later described him, turned to take his gear from his mother, Markisha Ashford. Rudy was one of 16 boys who would spend the next 48 hours locked in the school gymnasium to learn about respect, responsibility and discipline.

For some exasperated parents, the camp is a last-ditch effort to reach their children before they do something that could land them in, or return them to, juvenile hall. For the boys, it is a message to shape up at home, behave in school and respect others. Run by the nonprofit group Pittsburg Youth Academy, the boot camp has no affiliation with the city of Pittsburg or Pittsburg schools, said academy director and Pittsburg native Lonell Nolen.

The boys, most of whom were 12 to 14 years old, had been enrolled in the camp for various reasons. Pittsburg's Student Attendance Review Board, on which Nolen sits, had referred some. Principals, teachers and counselors had also recommended the boys participate.

The volunteer-run camp is not mandatory, and parents have the final say on whether their child participates, said Nolen, who has worked for the school district as a child welfare and attendance worker. If the school refers a student, the camp fee is waived. Otherwise, Nolen asks for a $250 "donation," which he reduces or waives for parents who can't afford it.

The youngest of the group, Rudy attended because he had been fighting at Willow Cove Elementary, where he's in the third grade. The oldest boy, Pittsburg High junior Jose Orta, 16, was sent by his father for repeatedly skipping school and because, as his aunt Maribel said, he needed motivation. Hillview Junior High eighth-grader Roberto Hernandez, 13, had been expelled from Central Junior High for fighting with a knife.

"You'll get him back better than he was, believe you me," Jackson, 48, said to one boy's parents before they left.

Jackson, Nolen and the Rev. George Johnson, a former Los Angeles Crips gang member turned pastor, try to do that in two ways.

One is through physical training, as they call it. The other is a counseling approach, with workshops on topics such as anger management, alcohol and drug use, teen pregnancy and gang intervention.

"In a weekend you can only get so much information in," Nolen admitted.

No warm welcome

As Rudy took his sleeping bag inside the building, the boys who had already arrived sat in a line of metal folding chairs in the gym's foyer. Jackson, a recovering alcoholic, and Johnson, who served a 10-year prison sentence, then searched Rudy's belongings for weapons, gang-affiliated clothing and other contraband, as they had the other students.

"There's nothing to stab? No blue or red rags?" Johnson, 50, asked, referring to gang colors. "You do not have Santa Claus pajamas coming to my camp."

"I packed those," Rudy's mother, Markisha Ashford, said.

In a theatrical style aimed at parents as much as students, their stentorian voices echoing down the hall, Johnson and Jackson then paced in front of the boys. They appeared ready to pounce on any student for whatever reason. Johnson and Jackson told the students that they had better behave -- that weekend and during the six-month after-care program, called Helping Young People Excel, or HYPE. If not, they'd be back at boot camp for as many times as it takes for them to change.

"You are our property for six months. You belong to us," Johnson said.

"Today is the start of a new beginning for you. If you don't want it, you'll have to deal with it until Sunday, 5 p.m."

After dropping off his son, Jose Orta Sr. watched from the doorway to see how the camp started. His son's mother died when the boy was 3, and although he had a good relationship with his stepmother and younger siblings, the younger Jose had become withdrawn, his aunt Maribel said.

"It looks like they have good drills," Jose Sr. said. "It's a good start. Kids need someone to speak (to them) like that."

The camp leaders believe that the students aren't the only ones who need to be sternly addressed.

Nolen and Johnson said they hope to meet with parents, too, as some of the students' behavioral problems stem from trouble at home.

"We let them know that we care enough to be (there with them) all weekend ... to help them change their life," said Johnson, who runs the nondenominational Holy Fellowship Outreach Ministries in Pacheco.

"Some come in thinking this is going to be Disneyland. But by the end of the night and a 6 a.m. wake-up call, (they see) this is not the case."

For the past two years the camp was held in space donated by a Sacramento church, but Nolen and Johnson wanted to bring it home in Contra Costa. They had tried to introduce the program in Pittsburg a little more than two years ago, but were unable to because of logistical issues, Nolen said. They launched the first local weekend boot camp in mid-January with 12 girls in attendance, Johnson said.

About 280 students completed the Sacramento camp and program, with nearly the same number of boys and girls, Nolen said. The program's success rate is about 80 percent, Nolen said, adding that he measures success on a sliding scale with monthly progress reports in areas like attendance and family functioning. Johnson and Nolen offered anecdotal success stories, but said past participants declined interview requests for this story.

Nolen said he is seeking grants to help fund the academy, as he and Johnson have spent at least $10,000 out of pocket, with some money coming from Johnson's church and businesses donations. Pittsburg school officials waived rental fees save for janitorial costs, Nolen said.

Pittsburg school Superintendent Reed McLaughlin said school board members did so because they thought they'd get a better payback with student success. School officials have requested a list of students -- only one camper was from outside Pittsburg -- to check their current academic standing and school attendance and to compare that to the end of the year to determine if the program had a positive impact on the district, McLaughlin said.

"They're pretty ambitious," said Pittsburg High Principal Tim Galli.

"But if you shoot for the stars and miss, you hit the moon. If you shoot for the moon and miss, you hit nothing. So you might as well aim high."

48 hours

Fifteen minutes into the camp, the boys sat in the bleachers in an otherwise empty gymnasium and listened to Nolen read off the camp rules. They answered "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" in unison to his questions, prompted by Jackson, who made his relationship with the boys clear.

"I am not your friend," he said before he made the first boy do push-ups as punishment.

"There's a better life for you gentlemen," Johnson said after describing how he'd been shot three times, the first time when he was 16. "I don't want to see you in prison. I don't want to see you at juvenile hall."

Aside from bathroom breaks, showers and a 6:15 a.m. run the next day around the quad outside the gymnasium, that was where they remained for the following 48 hours.

By 8:30 p.m., after a pizza dinner paid for by the First Baptist Church Men's Ministry in Pittsburg, the boys separated into three groups, with Jose and Roberto as team leaders. Each group was charged with a team-building task -- assembling a 500-piece puzzle.

"I can't wait to get out of here," Rudy said. When someone said it looked like the 8-year-old had a bloody nose, he asked, "Do I need to go home?"

By 10:15 p.m., most of the boys had showered, and they stood in front of their sleeping bags, which were arranged in three rows of five.

Nolen finally turned off the gym lights around 10:48 p.m., but less than 10 minutes later the boys were up running laps because one boy complained that the floor was hard.

"We can do this all night," Jackson said.

The next two days the boys followed a routine of workshops on anger management, drugs and alcohol and self-esteem with intermittent orders to exercise. Two Pittsburg police officers visited to talk about gang intervention.

By 5 p.m. Sunday, the boys were long ready to leave. As the end of the camp approached, the boys' parents arrived and filed into the gymnasium. Nolen instructed the students to line up across the gym and face their parents. He called them one at a time to greet their parents and apologize for their misdeeds. Then, each student walked out with his family.

Mixed reactions

Before they left, Roberto, Rudy and Jose shared their thoughts on the weekend. Roberto, who joined a gang when he arrived at Central Junior High in sixth grade because most of his friends were in it, said the program was what he needed.

"It's going to be good for me," he said. "It's going to help."

But less than two weeks after the boot camp, his father, Francisco Hernandez, said his son's behavior had only worsened. And Roberto was expelled from Hillview Junior High.

Rudy, however, didn't see as clear a benefit. The running, among other things, was "harsh," he said. The reason he had been fighting in school was because he didn't like people talking about his father, who was shot and killed a few years ago. His mother, Markisha Ashford, said while her son's behavior at school was better the camp didn't help his attitude at home. She also questioned the appropriateness of having her 8-year-old son spend time with older boys and being exposed to subject matter like teen pregnancy and drug use.

Jose, who wants to be a doctor so he can help people like his mother, who died of heart disease, said he didn't like the idea of going to the boot camp, and he didn't want to return. Still, it was not a waste of time, he said, and he expected to change.

"Some of the kids here, they are going to learn, and some will stay the same," he said.

The day after the camp ended, Jose was at school at Riverside High, where he transferred to try to catch up on missing credits, his aunt Maribel said. He was doing his homework. And he had started an after-school job working at his aunt's boyfriend's body shop.

Andrew Becker covers East Contra Costa education. Reach him at 925-779-7116 or

...and in all indictments for libels the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

(Jury nullification. It's not just a good idea, it's the law!)' target='_new'>Declaration of Rights, PA Constitution

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
~ Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes

Offline Anonymous

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Pittsburg Youth Academy
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2006, 01:35:00 PM »
Eight years old?  What the FUCK is wrong with these people?????  :eek:
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »