The Importance of Prevention
Although the costs of youth dysfunction are difficult to measure, one need only consider the many effects of misbehavior and anti-social attitudes to get an idea of their long-term repercussions. Impacts of disordered youth behavior include:
- Loss of productive, happy citizens
- Medical costs to individuals and the government because of injuries
- Costs to governmentof operating the criminal justice system (police, prosecution, courts, probation, incarceration, parole)
- Loss of productivity to society because of death, medical problems, and mental disabilities
- Stolen or damaged property
- Loss of work time by victims and their families
- Pain and suffering of victims, their families, and friends, as well as communities plagued by crime.
In the prevention world, agencies strive to get ahead of these issues. Grand Area Mentoring, for example, matches at-risk youth aged seven to ten with responsible role models. Over many years, consistent, dependable adults meet each week with students who face considerable barriers.
Youth with such hurdles are predicted to do worse over time, to fail, and to drop out, but thanks to mentoring:
- 73% earn higher grades
- 74% get in less trouble
- 62% are more likely to trust teachers
- 64% develop better self-confidence
- and 98% report being happier.
Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of preven-tion is worth a pound of cure.” Everyone understands the downstream positive effects of better academic performance, healthier friendships, improved student-teacher relations, & boosted mental health.
These thriving children are more likely to pursue post-secondary education. They’re more likely to add to society rather than weigh it down with disruptive, unhealthy, or illegal conduct. They’re more likely to raise functional families. This is mentoring serving up a mighty ounce of prevention.