The focus of the Undergraduate Certificate in At-Risk Youth is working with vulnerable/at-risk youth within the context of family and community settings. Students learn to examine the beliefs, values and feelings of vulnerable youth from a risk and resiliency perspective. The program addresses social issues facing children and youth from diverse families and minority groups, social distress, disconnectivity, and issues of homelessness. Students develop intervention approaches approprate to various risk issues in the family and community.
Youth at-risk is a child or adolescent who faces extreme threats to a successful transition into adulthood. A variety of factors can contribute to a youth falling in the at-risk category including: poverty, family instability and dysfunction, unstable school environment, poor community resources, and adverse childhood experiences. When at-risk and troubled youth can’t transfer successfully into adulthood, local communities and businesses suffer, costing both millions of dollars. As adults, those with vulnerable backgrounds often develop problems with addiction, violence, self-harm, and substance abuse. Without intervention, many become the adults for whom local communities and governments spend millions on health care and criminal justice. The Undergraduate Certificate in At-Risk Youth provides missional leaders with the background to address the physical, emotional, social as well as spiritual issues of this vulnerable population group.