Local youngster starts support group for troubled area teens
Barber, 17, gave a presentation to the Lassen Union High School District Board of Trustees during its Tuesday, Feb. 12 meeting. Barber will be meeting with LUHSD superintendent Rebekah Barakos-Cartwright about handing out flyers and possibly talking to the students about his experiences during a school assembly.
Barber said he spent the past 14 months in juvenile detention facilities, a group home in Tulare County and the California Youth Authority, which he said is prison for kids.
Dealing with drugs and alcohol and being incarcerated, Barber said he has seen some pretty horrific things in his life.
Barber said he wants to start talking with the youth in the community hoping they can learn from his mistakes,
“I hope no kid ever sees the things I had to see when I was incarcerated down at the group home, at the youth authority and the places I’ve been,” he said.
Last week, Barber held his first meeting and said there was a good turnout, with 11 people in attendance.
In addition to the support meetings, Barber has been talking to the youth in the community at various alcohol and drug groups.
I’m hoping that I can use my past experiences to help out some other kids in the community so they don’t have to go through what I went through,” he said.
Barber said he has also been talking to parents about the drug issues in Lassen County. Barber was active in sports and he said people thought he was doing well.
“But I was really doing pretty bad.”
He said he knows of a lot of kids who need help and he wants them to understand drugs and alcohol aren’t getting them anywhere.
In addition to LHS, Barber has contacted staff at Herlong High School, who expressed interest in having Barber share his experiences to the entire student body.
Barber is a student at PACE. He did his senior project on how to become an alcohol and drug counselor. He said the support group is something he is dong on his own and is not something he is being force to do.
“I’m not doing this because I have to, I’m doing this because I want to help someone out,” he said.
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