EDITOR'S notebook 2-04
Helping Troubled Kids
With its college-like campus with Victorian buildings dating back to 1826, the Glen Mills Schools might initially be mistaken for a high-priced, all-boys, college prep school. But these young men, ages 15 to 18, are not there because they want to be. They're troubled youths, many from faraway places, who have been sent to the Concordville, PA-based residential facility (on average, for about 15 months) by juvenile court systems to help them turn their lives around and develop a better sense of self-esteem.
This is achieved through positive reinforcement (there are no locks or bars), mentoring and learning pro-social skills and a good work ethic. For example, students are taught to wave and acknowledge all strangers on campus, as well as to look people directly in the eye when talking to them; no exceptions. It also means keeping them busy with a full schedule of athletics and academic studies, including 14 different vocational training programs such as automotive mechanics and body work, photography, journalism, art and design, making eyeglasses in the state-of-the-art optics lab and, yes, printing. Students can even elect to train as greens keepers for Glen Mills' nationally recognized, 18-hole public golf course or to work for the school's radio station or newspaper.
But while the interest level in the graphic arts is high among the approximately 870 student population, unfortunately most of the equipment, although functional, is not state-of-the-art. (Read "Printing for the Future," page 48, in this issue.) Except for a two-color Ryobi sheetfed press that the school purchased a year ago, the pressroom is limited to two single-color Multis. Students learn to image metal and polyester plates on an old Eskofot platemaker, as well as to operate an older Baum folder, Challenge cutter and GBC laminator. Macintosh computers are also employed to teach page layout and graphic design using QuarkXPress.
"We run three classes a day with roughly 20 students per class," notes printing instructor Jamie Pugliese, who's been at the school for 18 years. Pugliese's wish list includes a CTP platesetter to complement the Ryobi, more Mac workstations and a saddle stitcher so they can produce booklets.
He adds that the print shop does about 60 percent of its jobs for the school, producing more than 250 items ranging from letterhead and envelopes to carbonless forms, business cards, certificates and flyers. The remainder is outside work, primarily for the local community. And—being a nonprofit institution—Pugliese is only able to charge outside customers for the materials used in producing jobs, not for the labor or press work.
The program is doing much more than just teaching students graphic arts skills, Pugliese is quick to point out. It's all about instilling a strong work ethic, a sense of responsibility and the ability to get along with co-workers. "Since some of the students are inner-city kids who have been involved in gangs, the biggest obstacle we have is negative peer pressure and keeping the kids from falling back into that same environment. It takes a strong will for a young man to turn away from that lifestyle, but we've had so many success stories."
With help in the form of (tax deductible) donated equipment or supplies, our industry can enable even more young men to learn critical job—and life—skills. Make a difference by contacting Pugliese at (610) 459-8100, ext. 317, or e-mail email@example.com.
Mark T. Michelson