For years, FLY youth have said that if they had FLY in middle school, they probably wouldn’t have made the same choices. Responding to the need, FLY developed its Middle School Program, a combination of law-related education (LRE) and case management (1-on-1 support) for young people ages 12-14.
FLY’s Middle School Program focuses on intervening early in the school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately impacts youth who experience various forms of exclusion and marginalization, such as poverty and racism. Youth facing these and other risks are more likely to become disconnected from school and become involved in the juvenile justice system.
The Middle School Program contributes to a positive school climate that recognizes the need for trauma-informed approaches.
How Youth Benefit
Through FLY’s law-related education curriculum, youth in our Middle School Program learn about the law and their rights, develop positive relationships with adults and peers, improve their self-confidence, and become more connected to their schools. During the case management component of the program, youth receive one-on-one mentoring and coaching.
Both of these program aspects support youths’ mental and behavioral health by fostering empathy and emotional regulation in the young people. Many youth have faced serious challenges in their young lives, and benefit from FLY’s trauma-informed approach to working with youth. FLY’s staff also works to engage their schools, their families, and juvenile justice agencies in the youths’ success.
90% of youth receiving case management in our Middle School Program avoided system involvement or were on their way to getting off probation.
How to Make a Referral
FLY generally accepts referrals from probation and police officers, and school teachers, counselors, and administrators. To be eligible for law classes, youth must attend a school where the course is offered and be referred.
To receive case management services, youth must be identified as truant, at risk of or having been suspended or expelled, involved in the juvenile justice system, or attending a community school. Youth do not have to attend a middle school where we offer the law program.
“FLY is an essential, very critical part of our school culture and community as a whole. It is the positive interaction that our students need and look for. It is the amazing support they provide to our community that makes them an integral part of our school.” – FLY Middle School Program Partner
“Before FLY I was a hopeless and lost child. And now with FLY’s help I am on my way to becoming a successful adult.” — FLY Youth