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CAST lessons pay off for even the toughest kids

Sometimes it is hard to know when or if our efforts with at-risk youth are paying off. Every once in a while, an especially challenging group dynamic or ambivalent individual student has us “stumped” and wondering if it is working at all. Ann Tracey, a school counselor at a Seattle area school, was experiencing these kinds of doubts a few years ago, with a particular CAST group.

She wrote us a note, just last month, to share a silver lining that we all should read and take to heart. “One of my toughest CAST groups and CAST students has produced a school leader!” Ann wrote. “I noticed one of my former students, now in high school, at a district program actually doing conflict mediation with the students from my school. He was using CAST skills that he learned in group! He was such a typical “trouble maker” that I wasn’t sure he was getting anything out of CAST, but he is thriving. This was a student on the road to dropping out, back when he was in our program. Now he is a leader in this alternative program, and he will graduate with honors.”

This is a story we’ve heard before. Sometimes it is easy to allow yourself to believe that the CAST/RY lessons are really not getting through. But more often than not, students are taking notice. Tucking away the support, skills training, practice and encouragement for later. When they are ready. When they’ve had enough of the old patterns. When they are able to make a change.

Ann tells us, “I am a STRONG advocate in CAST for all!” We salute Ann Tracey and other CAST and RY Facilitators out there who may experience doubt, but persevere. For the sake of our kids. Every single one.