Road to Success Academy takes juvenile detention to a new level (up!)

Student artwork at Road to Success Academy, Santa Clarita, CA

Student art, Road to Success Academy, Santa Clarita, CA, 3/7

Many girls at Road to Success Academy, one of Los Angeles’ 12 juvenile detention facilities, have endured great injustice and difficulty in life.  At Road to Success, they are respected, and it shows in the energy and optimism of the students.  On March 5th, they shared some of that, along with a lot of love, to kick off Tinker Tour West.   Thanks to all of my new friends at Road to Success Academy!

Their school is one of 12 “democracy schools,” where all classes-even math!- are integrated into a curriculum of civic involvement and hope.

Math class at Road to Success (no kidding!)

Math class at Road to Success (no kidding!)

Art and music are a big part of the program, and the entire school is covered with art work done entirely by students.

Principal, Paulette Koss, with teachers

Principal, Paulette Koss, with teachers

After all of my years working as a nurse with teenagers who aren’t always treated well, it was heartening to see how things could be better for incarcerated youth.

Music and art consultants- every school should be so lucky!

Music and art consultants- every school should be so lucky!

After telling (and singing) the “Tinker” story, I heard some of the ways that students stood up for their rights and the rights of others in their lives. One student said that when a girl in her school was attacked, some of the boys said she “asked for it” because she was wearing tight jeans.  So, this student and others all wore tight jeans to support the girl.  Another student said she and her friends supported the gay students in school. One student said she is standing up for foster youth.  I know there are many, many more examples of how these students have -and are- standing up for their rights.   Road to Success appreciates and nurtures that quality.

Don't forget the gardens- student projects, of course!

Don’t forget the gardens- student projects, of course!

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