top of page
  • Writer's pictureMark Johnson

Youth Motivational Intervention – Violence and Dropout Prevention in Middle School and High Schools

Preventing Violence and Drop Out in our schools is very important to me. I believe living a life of purpose entails positively impacting those in the space I occupy. A mentor of mine once told an audience “when I die I want to be all used up.” The essence of his statement resonated deeply within my heart. Therefore, I do whatever I can to change the mindsets of the incarcerated adults and youth I mentor in the streets, middle and high schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc.

I am a firm believer when you desire to be impactful God will align all the forces you need to accomplish the task. The resources needed to address the challenge will come forward, either in the form of finances, people of influence or other type of resource  small or large. One resource I have been blessed through is an unlikely hero who developed an interactive program that is actually unparalleled to anything I have encountered in the 21st century.

The Department of Justice in collaboration with Harvard University and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms commissioned Dr. Charles Friedman to develop a solution to the problem of truancy, violence and  school drop out in our communities. His experience as an executive producer with National Geographic and background in psychology produced a cutting edge program that engages students and thereby facilitates learning, retention and the making of better choices. Motivational Intervention addresses the myriad of negative daily interactions that adversely influence the decisions of our school age youth.

Communicating with Students with an Innovative New Technique that Works!

Creating safe schools today is essential to ensuring students’ academic and social success. Most efforts at preventing school violence have centered on preventive measures (i.e. metal detectors, video cameras, security guards, and uniforms). But the key to preventing violence in all forms (whether it is bullying, aggressive classroom behavior, gun use, or organized gang activity) is not taking away the weapons, but changing the students’ behavior.

There have been numerous programs developed, many now outdated, that try and establish environments in which students feel safe, connected, valued, and responsible for their behavior and learning. With new research and data, we have developed a program that has proven highly effective. The most positive, proven results to date are delivered through the interactive learning software.

“Motivational Intervention” is a front-end approach to preventing drop out and violence in our schools. By addressing the issues beforehand that result in many students dropping out (bullying, low self esteem, drugs, gang involvement, obesity, abstinence, gossip, guns, lack of leadership, etc.), administrators can assist students in making better choices that will help increase their odds for success and completing school.

However, if left unabated the back-end intervention methods (jail, prison, abortion, juvenile diversion programs, drug rehabilitation, family counseling, etc.) that many institutions and communities favor will only exacerbate the problem and burden our society with the responsibility of dealing with these negative by-products of these potential future drop outs and misguided youths.

As a society we cannot sit by, isolated, in some of our seemingly safe communities thinking “as long as my kids are okay, we are okay.”  Working for the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, I encounter daily the results of children left behind, ignored, abused, bullied, and psychologically scarred by another child who experienced the same challenges. Even those children raised on military installations are exposed to the same challenges as their civilian counterparts.

I have witnessed sheltered children, who have been drawn into the grips of predatory youth, of affluent and middle class families succumb to the influences of the mentally strong  street child. These seemingly safe children also make bad decisions that temporarily and permanently derail them off their course of success. They began this journey in middle and high school. These same children, who are now adults, will release and become your neighbors and mine. Therefore, we as a society should take an active interest in helping children understand the importance of making good decisions.

If you can positively impact a child in the space you occupy, I encourage you to do so. This may be the one child who saves another child from the grips of an ill-fated moment right around the corner.  To be the one who filled  a child’s life to the brim with hope, mentoring, compassion or a listening ear, resonate well in the heavens and in the legacy you leave behind.

“It’s good to lead them by the hand, but you will have to let go of that same little hand one day.”

This program, “Motivational Intervention” is what we called in the military a force multiplier. It provides additional support when there is no one else to do so. As long as the child can read and has a computer to use, this program will help them see and understand through their own interaction that the choice they make, whether good or bad, will yield a consequence of its own making.

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page