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IDEA Center Programs in Warwood Offer a Hand to Struggling Students

Photo by Alan Olson These are among the resources available at the IDEA Center, which is partnering with the Juvenile Mediation Program to work with at-risk students in Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties this summer.

WHEELING — When parents get the notice that their child may be on a backslide and in need of a hand before intervention becomes necessary, a Warwood tutoring service and a local juvenile program are there to help.

The IDEA Center, a tutoring service located on Warwood Avenue, is partnering with the Wellsburg-based Juvenile Mediation Program to serve as a first step for troubled children before they’re referred to the court system. The program serves Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties.

“It’s for ‘status offense kids,’ which are kids who are incorrigible, (exhibit) truancy, smoking, and not doing their classwork; runaways also used to be a status offense,” said Tammy West, executive director of the Juvenile Mediation Program. “Truancy is what’s keeping us busiest.”

The program usually receives referrals from school systems, truancy officers or police officers, but can come from any source, West said. When a referral is received, families are notified to call a meeting to arrange an intervention. Children who don’t take the necessary steps to improve their behavior or families who don’t follow up are then referred to Child Protective Services if necessary.

IDEA Center owner Helen Bradley said the partnership developed when one child working through the program came to the IDEA Center for tutoring, which tipped West off to the learning opportunities available. Bradley said three students had come through already through the partnership, to begin tutoring next week.

She hopes that more people will take advantage of the IDEA Center’s tutoring program, catching children and setting them back on the right track. The Juvenile Mediation Program partners with several other local agencies, such as therapists and the National Youth Advocate Program, to get children the help they need.

“Make the call. We’re here to help,” Bradley said. “Nobody’s going to get in trouble. We want the kids to succeed, (even) if it takes three or four agencies to do it.”

Tutoring offered by the IDEA Center is free to families, Bradley said, and is funded through the Junior Mediation Program. West added that the Juvenile Mediation Program saves the county court systems millions of dollars by preventing troubled youths from entering the system.

“They feel like, ‘What can I do?’ Knowing that this is free, that might be an incentive,” Bradley said.

“Some people ask, ‘How can you do all this?’ Well, contractually, we do have extra funds, and that’s what I want it to go towards — helping these kids,” West added. “The willpower, the people, (the funding are there).”

West may be reached at 304-737-3652 and the IDEA center at 304-905-1506.

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