The questions are designed to help students introspect and make it easier for them to discuss what they know about the sensitive subjects which overshadow the inner city and are even spreading into middle-class communities.
This reading-and-discussion format makes it safe for secretive at-risk youth to reveal what they know in the context of discussions centered around symbolic characters who struggle with some or all of their problems. The discussion questions broach sensitive topics such as:
- attitudes towards authority figures
- admitting mistakes
- ignoring help
- following the crowd
- the people we hurt
- starting over
- personal space
- being yourself
- selecting new friends
- qualities of a real friend
- handling rejection
- identifying helpful organizations
- searching for mentors
- handling criticism
- holding on to your dream
- overcoming negativity
- avoiding self-destructive thinking and behavior
- focusing on & visualizing a goal
- regaining lost trust
- preparing for the future
It is impossible to predict how much students may want or need to talk about some questions, so moderators naturally have discretion to extend conversations on questions and even pose their own follow-up questions. The input gained from such participation is priceless because it can indicate to teachers, counselors, or group leaders how best to help the student.
We hope this book becomes a valuable tool in the hands of every concerned adult who uses it.