YMCA Youth Advocacy Initiative helps teens meet their full potential

It is said that identical twins share a special, unique bond. Sharing identical characteristics make this type of sibling relationship truly special. It was apparent to the staff at SOCAP upon first meeting the Metz twins that they fit this description. Two girls, Chloe and Sophie Metz, have grown extensively as individuals through SOCAP (Status Offender Court Alternative Program) and the Youth Advocacy program. Initially, the girls walked through the doors of SOCAP dealing with immense emotional trauma, anger issues, extreme depression, and a reluctance to trust those in positions of authority.

The school year consists of 180 school days. When meeting the girls for the first time, it was reported by Northrop High School that both girls missed a total of 110 days. In addition, when the girls were at school, they often had issues with staff and other students that led to verbal and even physical altercations. After losing a close friend to a drug overdose, the girls went into a dark, depressive state. As they continued in SOCAP, they began to open up to our staff about the anxiety they both experienced when even talking about school. This co-dependency led to the imitation of both actions and emotions, which caused them to rely heavily on one another. This reliance caused them to fail their classes, fall behind on credits, and even get suspended/expelled from school. Neither Chloe nor

Sophie was receiving any type of therapeutic services at this time. The staff at SOCAP began to put an action plan in place to help the girls. Central to this plan was the YMCA Youth Advocacy program.

Youth Advocate Chelsi Lawson was assigned to both girls but consciously chose to meet with them separately initially. Building positive rapport and trust with the youth we serve is paramount, and Chelsi wanted to help the girls express themselves as individuals. This process takes time. Unfortunately, both girls got into an altercation at Northrop High School and had to attend alternative school options for a semester. Chelsi stood by the girls, setting up counseling services and working diligently with teachers, counselors, and school administrators to determine the best plan for each girl.

During this time apart, both girls decided to make a change. Sophie and Chloe began attending school consistently, leading to academic improvement. Through their continued relationship with Chelsi, the girls began supporting each other in a new, positive way. They held each other accountable and soon got back on track to graduate. When given the opportunity to go back to Northrop, they took it. Since then, Chelsi and the team at Northrop High School have collaborated to provide the girls with the resources, support, and encouragement needed to be successful. Sophie and Chloe recently took the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) exam and passed with flying colors. Now that they are on track to graduate, the girls have their sights set on going into the field of holistic medicine.

The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation supports the YMCA SOCAP Youth Advocacy Initiative because of its commitment to helping vulnerable individuals achieve healthy minds, bodies, and spirits. The Youth Advocacy Initiative works to keep vulnerable youth in school and on track to graduate while avoiding the juvenile justice system. Participants are connected with resources such as healthcare, mental health services, and healthy food while getting one-on-one mentoring and coaching.