Families are imploding.
Today, countless families are imploding as they experience tremendous pressures on many fronts. And chances are it’s happening right in your neighborhood. Staggering numbers of children live in poverty. Many experience homelessness. Abuse and neglect are on the rise. Add in the converging crises of divorce, addicted parents and absentee guardians, and the need for intervention and effective transformation becomes painfully acute.
Teen crime victimizes everyone.
Teens who commit crimes can ruin their own lives. But they also threaten the well-being of the community at large. The direct tangible cost to crime victims totals an estimated $105 billion annually in medical expenses, lost earnings and public programs for victim assistance. The number rises to well over $450 billion each year when you include the resulting pain, suffering and reduced quality of life.
Alcohol and drugs wreak havoc.
Consider these numbers: Youth who start drinking before age 15 are 5 times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse than those who begin drinking at or after age 21. In Minnesota alone, 64% of high school seniors, and 38% of 9th graders, used alcohol, and marijuana is used by 30% of seniors. It goes from bad to worse when you factor in cocaine, LSD, ecstasy and methamphetamines. The havoc this wreaks in lives, schools, homes and society is nearly incalculable.
Self-abuse and suicide are stark realities.
Teens literally hurt themselves through “cutting,” eating disorders and other forms of self-injury. The facts surrounding depression and suicide are even more frightening: 1 in 8 adolescents are diagnosed with depression; and in Minnesota, suicide is the 2nd-leading cause of death among those 15–24 years old. Depression is often an underlying contributor to other at-risk behaviors, leading to poor performance in school, withdrawal from family and friends, feelings of helplessness and sadness, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts and actions.
Teen sex is rampant.
Adolescents are using the Internet and cell phones for sexual-related activity and becoming obsessed with sex, leading to promiscuity at younger ages and with multiple partners. The facts: 39% of all teens send or post sexually explicit pictures or messages; one-third of 16- and 17-year-old boys intentionally have viewed pornography in the past year. The long-term consequences are dire: Teen pregnancies, STDs, sexual identity confusion and sexual violence represent just some of the fallout teens are experiencing because of this out-of-control behavior.
Truancy and failure to graduate are costly.
When kids drop out of school and fail to graduate, they don’t just shortchange the quality of their own lives. They cost society billions. If the high school students who dropped out of the Class of 2009, for example, had graduated, the nation’s economy would have benefited from nearly $335 billion in additional income over their lifetimes. Students who fail to graduate reduce their chances for good jobs. Schools lose money. In Minnesota alone, over 25% of students drop out and don’t graduate. And for African American and Hispanic students, nearly 60% drop out and fail to graduate.
So that is what’s going on in the world: Six symptoms. One silent epidemic. And an organization – TreeHouse – dedicated to breaking the silence and stemming the tide of the epidemic by loving kids, bringing hope and transforming lives.
At TreeHouse, long-term, committed, trusting relationships are formed. Teens care about what we know, because they know how much we care. TreeHouse staff listen, affirm and support. TreeHouse is a place to have fun, meet friends, discover faith, overcome pain, serve others and be empowered by staff to succeed.