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On The Right Track

Theresa Zurku (left) and Amanda Sable (right).

A 17-year-old tenth grader, Michael was referred to Allegheny Children’s Initiative’s Student Assistance Program (SAP) due to recent falling grades, reports of family conflict and symptoms of grief. The recent shooting of a friend and a past trauma of losing his older brother to a shooting were contributing factors to Michael’s academic struggles.

Allegheny Children’s Initiative has been a Student Assistant Program provider in Allegheny County for the past five years; initially providing services in the West Jefferson Hills, Mt. Lebanon and Sto Rox school districts. The program has recently expanded to serve four more local school districts, a testament to the quality services that SAP liaisons provide to the students and families they support.

School districts appreciate the relationship with Allegheny Children’s Initiative:
“We had so many kids falling apart this year and as in the past, Allegheny Children’s Initiative helped them and us,” explained Stephanie Ross, a teacher in the Mt. Lebanon School District.  “I shudder to think what we would have done without the Student Assistance Program.”

To his credit, Michael requested someone to talk with due to his lack of motivation, sadness, decreased interest in activities and his ongoing conflict with his mother. At the same time, Michael’s mother was concerned about her son using marijuana on a regular basis, displaying a lack of motivation, and not complying with her rules in the home.

“Before these recent challenges, Michael had a history of average grades, employment and healthy relationships,” explained Theresa Zurku, Director of Service Coordination at Allegheny Children’s Initiative. “We were confident that with the proper support, Michael could get back on the right track.”

After receiving parental permission and input, Student Assistance Program Director  Amanda Sable met with Michael to provide a screening and identify his needs. Allegheny Children’s Initiative provided outpatient counseling and drug and alcohol recommendations, along with arranging support from trained personnel at Michael’s school.

“Our team feels really good about the level of resources and support we’re delivering to Michael and his family,” Sable said. “The family is on its way to strengthening its overall relationship and providing the ongoing support Michael needs to be successful.”

“The family is on its way to strengthening its overall relationship.”

Amanda Sable, Allegheny Children’s Initiative.

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