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What is SHORTSTOP?
The Long Beach Bar Foundation's Shortstop program is a high impact juvenile diversion program for at-risk and delinquent youth, and their families. The program educates participants regarding their legal responsibilities and the consequences of crime in order to guide them toward stopping short of future criminal behavior and to becoming productive citizens.

Juveniles and their parents or legal guardians attend two intensive, highly interactive 3-hour sessions in the realistic setting of a Long Beach courtroom. Classes are taught by attorney-volunteers who are trained in the Shortstop program model and by paid program staff. At least one program staff member is bi-lingual in Spanish and English, and program materials are available in both languages in order to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking families. Prior to the beginning of session one, youth are given a pre-test to determine a baseline of knowledge regarding the juvenile justice system.

Session I
During session one, the focus is on the circumstances that brought the young person to the program. Young people are told that they will be treated as though they are incarcerated for the evening. Juveniles and their family hear from Atlantic Recovery Service Volunteers, inmates from the California Youth Authority or former parolees who share the realities of incarceration and how they, too, began with petty crimes just like the Shortstop participants. Due to budget cuts the California Youth Authority Wards have not been able to attend the holding cell discussions but youth involved in the Atlantic Recovery Services' Programs are trained to attend these intense sessions where they get a chance to give back to the community. They urge the youth to listen to their parents and learn from the program. Back in the courtroom, the instructors in front of the group ask juveniles about the specifics that brought them into the program. Juveniles are asked to explain their actions and describe how their actions affected their victim(s), and may affect their own futures, as well as alternatives to the behaviors that brought them to Shortstop. Through interactions between the instructors and the parents, juveniles learn how their actions have affected their parents and other family members, too.
At the end of session one, the participants are given homework that must be completed when they return in two weeks for session two. The assignments focus on improving communication in the home, victim awareness and empathy, analysis of how they spend their time and goal setting. Participants are also required to interview a member of the community from a list of volunteer mentors. The purpose of the interview is to broaden the youths' perspective regarding possibilities for their futures. A juvenile's "rights and responsibilities" manual is also provided for the juveniles to read. Homework assignments are included for both juveniles and parents, and are designed to assist the family in working together to solve the problems at hand.

Session II
During session two, instructors meet with the juveniles and their parents to discuss the homework assignments. The young people are praised for their efforts and encouraged to discuss their goals for the future. Juveniles are then given a post-test on the information they read regarding their rights and responsibilities. The pre-test and post-test are compared to determine the youths' increase in knowledge. They also write a letter to themselves about what they have learned which will be mailed to them as part of the follow-up six months after their completion of the program. While the juveniles take their test, their parents meet with one of the instructors to share their questions and concerns. They are also provided with information about their rights and responsibilities as parents, as well as with a handbook that includes parenting information, legal information and community resources. Near the end of session two, parents and juveniles are reunited for a graduation ceremony that highlights the positives in their family relationships and in the juveniles themselves. Juveniles and parents are asked to evaluate the program at the end of session two. Follow-up is conducted by telephone and in writing with the family six months later to determine any lasting effects of their participation in the program such as no further contact with the juvenile justice system, improvement in school attendance, better grades, improvement in relationships with parents, etc.

What will you learn?

  • You will learn about your legal rights and responsibilities and consequences to your actions by getting a taste of what it is like to be in custody.
  • You will learn parenting skills and laws relevant to parents of minors.
  • You will learn the importance of making decisions, and the consequences of those decisions
  • You will learn how to change your behavior from harmful behavior that is getting you into trouble to positive behavior that change your life and start you on the path to positive change.

What if I need or my child needs counseling?
The Long Beach Bar Foundation offers a wide variety of options including the SHORTSTOP Counseling Program and the Juvenile Anger Management (JAM) Program. Individual and group counseling sessions are available and supplement the SHORTSTOP Program, while JAM allows young men and women to find constructive ways to control their anger, including yoga exercises and meditation.

How do I sign up?
Call the SHORTSTOP Office at 562-981-7525 and ask to be enrolled in the SHORTSTOP Program. Our friendly staff will tell you about our next available program and register you over the phone.

download and print the program calendar

Who can attend?
The following criteria are used to accept a juvenile into the program:

  • THE JUVENILE IS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 10-17
  • HAS NOT SPENT TIME IN A HOLDING CELL JUVENILE HALL, CAMP, A JUVENILE DETENTION FACILITY OR THE CALIFORNIA YOUTH AUTHORITY
  • DOES NOT HAVE MULTIPLE OFFENSES IN THE JUVENILE COURT SYSTEM
  • AND AGREES TO ATTEND THE PROGRAM WITH A PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN.

Fees
The cost for the program is $125.00 for both sessions. If the juvenile and their family are not able to pay the full amount of the program cost, we can work with them on a payment plan. A juvenile need not be from Long Beach to participate in the program. Once the juvenile comes through the SHORTSTOP Program, they will be given a certificate of completion, a letter of completion, and an ID Card.

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