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Programs

Children, Youth and Families Programs

Project MAGIC

Project MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative program designed to help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become productive members of society. While participating in the program, young people ages 12 to 18 learn: positive communication skills, team building, problem solving and decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration building and goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service project designed to benefit their community. Parent sessions include the same life skills.

Issue:

Nevada has one of the highest per capita juvenile incarceration rates in the nation. State and county costs for incarceration of Nevada juveniles continues to increase. Currently, the average cost to incarcerate a juvenile is $84 a day with a seven-month average stay. In comparison, Project MAGIC is expected to cost just $400 per family per year.

Several Nevada studies indicate that taxpayers support community-based, prevention programming. In a survey of Nevada’s rural counties, 71 percent of the local population indicated support to increase spending on programs that might prevent juvenile crime. A statewide survey of all adjudicated youth in state-run juvenile detention facilities found that few alternatives to detention exist.

What Has Been Done:

Project MAGIC, originally designed for rural, entry-level juvenile offenders and their families that were referred through probation, has expanded to urban and Indian Reservation populations. The program has also expanded at some sites into accepting school-referred families as well. Partners include school administrators, juvenile court judges, probation department personnel and others concerned about the welfare of young people. Tutoring is provided for youth at many sites, providing a more comprehensive program model to address the issues of high-risk youth and parents while being responsive to local communities.

This after-school program is conducted three times a week over an eight-week period. In 2007, six Project MAGIC sites graduated 109 youth and their parents from the program. Each youth participated in 20 hours of formal instruction, and each parent participated in 10 hours of instruction. Instructors taught the program at the following sites: Battle Mountain, Elko, Lovelock, Tonopah, Winnemucca and Yerington.

Impact:

Since the mid 1990s, national award-winning Project MAGIC has graduated more than 3,000 juvenile offenders who have not reentered the justice system, saving taxpayers an estimated $5.4 million in incarceration costs. Probation staff estimate only 10 percent of graduates are further involved in the juvenile justice system compared to 30 percent for other youth in Nevada.

In 2007, both quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed and revealed the following: Youth and their parents completed a pre-post survey designed to measure risk/protective factors:

  • Youth: Results of the paired t-test revealed that after completing the program, participants were significantly more likely to: report their grades were better than most students in their class; indicate it is wrong for someone their age to smoke cigarettes; report an increase in their belief that smoking marijuana regularly presents a greater risk of harm; report an increase in participating in community service.
  • Parents: Results of the paired t-test revealed that after completing the program, they reported: their child missed significantly less school; things youth were learning in school were significantly more important for later life; an improvement in recognition that school is important; youth were significantly more involved in community service or volunteer work; drug use was significantly more wrong; their child’s interests did not fit with using alcohol and drugs; they agreed their child’s friends knew of the family’s commitment to living a drug-free life.
Partners:

Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and other state and local agencies.

See also: For additional information, visit the Project MAGIC Web site.

Contacts: Bill Evans, Youth Development Specialist, 775-784-7013,
Marilyn Smith, Area Youth Development Specialist, 775-738-1990

Children, Youth and Families Programs

Programs Program Information

4-H Afterschool

All children face risks as they grow and develop, but children who live in low-income housing or are homeless may be at higher risk for participating in risky behaviors. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed the 4-H After School Club (ASC) to teach children basic life skills including math, reading, science, positive communication, goal setting, self-responsibility, decision-making and good nutrition. Youth who have these life skills are less likely to participate in risky behaviors.

4-H Youth Development

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

All 4 Kids

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s (UNCE) All 4 Kids: Healthy, Happy, Active, Fit program is an interdisciplinary approach to addressing child obesity. Developed by UNCE faculty from maternal/child nutrition, exercise physiology and child development, the All 4 Kids program helps children meet the Nevada Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) Standards while encouraging preschool children and families to practice healthy eating habits and be active every day.

Bootstraps

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed Bootstraps, a high-risk youth program that helps teens return to school and/or gain meaningful work.

Calming the Waters: Learning to Manage Western Water Conflict

Conflict has surrounded the Truckee, Carson and Walker River Basins for decades. Key issues include historical use on tribal lands, historical and current water rights, threats to water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. This program teaches youth about Nevada’s water issues and helps them develop the skills needed to address future water conflicts.

Career Edge: Teens Taking Charge of Their Future! A Workforce Readiness Program

The Career Edge: Teens Taking Charge of Their Future! A workforce readiness program for high school students focused on skill development for workplace and job success. Career Edge helps high school students prepare to get their first "paying" job while working toward their dream job or career. Career Edge provides information and training on interview skills, résumé development, filling out applications, finding job leads and selecting appropriate clothing for the workplace. In addition, many "soft skills" needed in the workplace such as decision-making, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership are integrated throughout the program.

Churchill County Community Readiness Network

Nevada communities need rapid access to information during an emergency. In an effort to enhance community preparedness, safety and available resources and by using GPS and GIS mapping, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s 4-H youth and adult leaders in Churchill County are working with community emergency managers to address evacuation and shelter mapping.

Exploring Your True Colors: Building an Effective Team & Team Development Course

Team Development Course

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Fun To Play

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Fun To Play program targets families where, due to the young age, inexperience or limited resources of the parents, young children are placed at-risk for developmental delays and later school difficulties. Fun To Play is a series of weekly infant/child sessions aimed at improving the parenting skills of young parents by increasing the amount of learning activities and interaction they provide their children.

Heart and Shield

Parents and children who have experienced domestic violence in the past participate in hands-on activities to foster family bonds, enhance communication and problem solving skills, and focus on healthy relationships. Parents learn about their child’s development, parenting styles, guidance, coping skills and health and wellness while children and youth build friendships, listening and other social and emotional skills. Each session of the 12-week program includes a healthy snack or meal, separate parent and child meetings, family-based activities, a health and wellness tip and a closing activity. Parent interact with one another during the parent meetings through group discussions, role play and other experiential-based activities. Children and youth learn important skills through play, group discussions, theatre arts, games and other hands on activities.

Keeping Kids Safe: Recognizing, Reporting, and Responding to Child Maltreatment

Preventing child abuse and neglect is a high priority in Elko County. Child caregivers, youth workers, volunteers and anyone interested in learning what they can do to prevent child abuse and neglect can attend this workshop. Participants learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, understand their reporting requirements and their role in preventing child maltreatment.

Little Books and Little Cooks

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Little Books & Little Cooks program is a national ward winning program (from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences) to address parenting and nutrition information. The program teaches both parents and their young children (ages 3-5) important milestones of early learning and literacy, school readiness and good nutrition through a seven-week program. Topics for seven weeks include: proper hand washing procedure, food safety and kitchen safety rules, USDA MyPlate (five food groups), benefits of cooking with children, multicultural foods, parents’ feeding style and hunger and fullness cues, picky eating behaviors, and importance of eating fruits and vegetables. Reading children’s books about nutrition and healthy eating as well as cooking and eating together allow both children and parents to learn about healthy eating and nutrition and gain positive parent-child interaction skills. This program offers children a way to learn important pre-kindergarten skills, including math, science, physical development, health and nutrition, literacy development, social development and creative arts, as well as to try new, nutritious foods.

Nevada State GEAR UP

Partners in Parenting

Partners in Parenting promotes positive parenting and child health and development, thereby preventing child abuse and other poor childhood outcomes.

Project MAGIC

Project MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative program designed to help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become productive members of society. While participating in the program, young people ages 12 to 18 learn: positive communication skills, team building, problem solving and decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration building and goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service project designed to benefit their community. Parent sessions include the same life skills.