Ferris-Magazine-Fall-2013 - page 29

FALL 2013
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under-perform academically, display more inappropriate behaviors
that lead to school suspensions, disrupt other students’ learning or
even put their parents’ jobs at risk, if their parents must frequently
leave work to attend to school matters.
FM
: What is a day in the lives of these students like?
RR
: A typical day in the life of such students is one that is becoming
the trend in America. They reside in single parent homes, have a
difficult time accepting their parent’s significant other, want a better
life, realize that their family lacks resources, and the like. From this
point, they either start to act out in school and make unhealthy
relationships — or they set themselves up to be different and make
a good life for themselves. Sadly, upwards of 55 percent tend to not
select the latter option.
FM
: How do you try to help them?
RR
: My approach is that of concern. The first question I ask is “What
do you want out of life, and how can I help you?” My foundational
principles are rooted in Christian compassion, and time-tested
and traditional counseling theories of human development and
psychopathology. Whatever each young person needs me to become,
I try to become it.
I tend to have good success with all students, especially at-risk
students and those from dysfunctional homes. What I have found is
that such students want to change and improve. They are willing to
trust and follow the rules and system so long as they feel someone
cares. It doesn’t matter to them if I’m their mental health counselor,
mentor, minister or sports supporter. They really just need someone to
care and hang in there with them.
FM
: How can educators, parents, law enforcement and community
members support students with these issues?
RR
: The best way for educators, parents and others to help our
youth is to become involved in their lives. Offer them opportunities for
personal growth and help them develop a love for life — a consistent
and wholesome life.
FM
: What do you think students gain from an experience at Ferris?
RR
: I continue to be totally sold on Ferris as the university of choice
for high school students and non-traditional students who desire an
exceptional education and opportunities that add value to the learning
environment.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about young people. Like I
did, some 30 years ago on campus, they want to make lives for
themselves. They desire an opportunity to develop, and maximize their
skill sets and personal interests. They want to do and become. It is
within them to try and excel. They have a need to explore, create and
take on challenges. Ferris is a place where they can grow, embrace
others, develop character, meet lifelong friends, learn and set the
stage to live fulfilled for the next 50 years or more.
Photo courtesy of the
Flint Journal
Photo courtesy of ValleyCentral.com
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