At Risk Youth Basketball Diaries
May 8, 2014
At-risk youth is an epidemic in society and an issue that not only is troublesome for the at-risk teens themselves but affects their family systems, their peer clusters and the broader community that they live in. It is not necessary to look far to find at-risk youth in your own community, but the media is also filled with examples of at-risk youth. We can look to the media as a case-study of sorts as we analyze a variety of issues related to at-risk youth. This paper analyzes the character Jim Carroll from the 1995 movie entitled the Basketball Diaries. Jim fits the profile of an at risk youth and during the course of the movie the audience follows him on a downward spiral which includes truancy, violence, substance abuse and engaging in risky sexual behaviors.
Keywords: At risk youth, substance abuse, delinquency
Jim Carroll an At- Risk Youth
This paper profiles the main character in the movie the Basketball Diaries. In the movie, released in 1995 Leonardo DiCaprio, plays Jim Carroll, a troubled youth. The movie was actually adapted from Jim Carroll’s best selling novel which is a true story highlighting his struggles and addictions. During the two-hour movie the story of Jim Carroll’s life and his many struggles as a troubled teen unfolds before our eyes. Jim can be classified as an at-risk youth since he is raised to a single parent in a lower socio-economic, urban neighborhood. During the course of the movie he faces a series of setbacks that leads him to make a series of bad decisions. As with many adolescents that make bad decisions his bad decisions lead to other bad decisions. Without any interventions from a positive role model in his life he falls further and further into addiction and other harmful behaviors. By the end of the movie Jim finds himself in a perilous degenerative state. He drops out of school, engages in violence, is addicted to a number of substances and even sells his body for money to purchase drugs. Jim’s story is outlined as a case study of an at-risk youth. Discussed will be the problems that he faces in school including truancy, his substance abuse and addictions, his risky sexual behavior, as well as his juvenile delinquency and youth violence. The following issues pertaining to Jim’s problems will be explored: legal and ethical issues, individual characteristics, family problems, school issues, as well as prevention, intervention and treatment options. Profile of Jim Carroll
Jim Carroll is a 16 year-old Caucasian male. Jim is an only child and is raised by his single mother. Jim and his mother live in a small apartment located in a low-income community in New York City. He attends an all-boys Catholic school and at the start of the movie appears to be doing averagely well in school and is an active member of the basketball team. He does not have any evident role models or mentors in his life, however he has developed close, supportive friendships with the other members of the basketball team. There are a couple of key events that are triggers for Jim’s downward spiral into a mire of violence, substance abuse and risky sexual behavior. The first event that has a negative impact on him is when his best friend, Bobby is diagnosed with Leukemia. Jim sees Bobby, a vibrant youth that he grew up with, rapidly deteriorate until he eventually succumbs to death. Jim struggles with Bobby’s sickness and imminent death. He visits Bobby in the hospital and breaks him out of the hospital taking him out for a night on the town. When the evening doesn’t go well, it becomes clear to Jim that he can’t save Bobby and this is a great source of distress for him. The second trigger is when Jim is sexually harassed by his basketball coach. Jim viewed basketball and his relationship with others on the team as a safe haven for him. Therefore, this was a...
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