Query Letter

Author: Derek V. Schuster, Ed.D. (917) 921-3053. Dschuster@SCAN-Harbor.org

(First Name) – – Since you represent books dealing with psychological and parenting issues, I thought you’d be interested in YOUTH IN JEOPARDY: KEEPING KIDS OUT OF TROUBLE, my 70,000- word parenting book.

Many books have been written about parenting, but almost none have directed to parents of children who are at risk of violent and criminal behavior. Furthermore, those commenting on this population are doing so from their academic perches – – rather than based on experiences in the streets and the homes of at-risk families.

My book offers an alternative to others dealing with juvenile misbehavior. Instead of presenting dry academic studies, YOUTH IN JEOPARDY draws on my twenty years of violence prevention work in the Bronx and East Harlem. Filled with emotion-laden anecdotes, it delivers what parents, therapists, and teachers nationwide desperately seek: fresh, practical approaches to violence prevention for rebellious tweens and teenagers.

Readers may wonder what the need for “Youth in Jeopardy” might be at this particular time? The book is designed to address the frustration of Americans who are confronted with daily headlines and blasts of yet another deadly act of violence and who don’t understand the causes and remedies surrounding these tragedies. They may be asked, “Who would do that and why? Are parents and professionals powerless to prevent this onslaught on our population?”

“Youth in Jeopardy” seeks to provide techniques which have been found to be successful in keeping youngsters out of trouble. Many exercises from SCAN-Harbor’s Violence Prevention Curriculum are included, so that parents and professionals will be able to use them with youngsters without “reinventing the wheel.”

Highlighted in YOUTH IN JEOPARDY are a description of the factors which contribute to teenagers being at-risk of delinquent behavior – – and approaches to reducing the risk. Humorous and sometimes bizarre anecdotes will be included. One memorable example concerns “Truant Thomas,” who hid his shoes so that I wouldn’t be able to walk him to school.

As Associate Executive Director and Program Director at SCAN-Harbor, I am uniquely qualified to author this work. Even as an administrator, I’ve always maintained a personal caseload. My prevention and early intervention efforts – – and those of others in the program – – have reduced the arrests and re-arrests of many hundreds of youngsters. I’m also a former teacher and the father of six children, ranging in age from fifteen to adulthood.

I’ve worked with a professional editor to ensure my book’s content and editing are up to professional standards. The proposal and full manuscript are available for review at your convenience. Thank You in advance for your time and consideration.

                              Overview of “Youth in Jeopardy: Keeping Kids Out of Trouble”

“Youth in Jeopardy” describes the efforts of SCAN-Harbor’s Violence Prevention Program to reduce the incidence of teenage violence and criminal behavior in New York City’s Bronx and East Harlem Communities. Through a variety of activities, we have been able to prevent arrests and reduce re-arrests by over 70%.

Readers will come to understand the problem being addressed and the approaches used through the following perspectives:

  • How I became interested in the problem of teenage violence and criminal behavior and my experience in downtrodden communities which had previously been unfamiliar to me;
  • What our staff has learned over a 20-year period about those activities which seemed to work and not work as we support parents in their efforts to address the problem of teenage misbehavior;
  • Amusing and-or bizarre anecdotes chronicling events which occurred as SCAN-Harbor attempted to attack the problem;
  • Practical samples of anti-delinquency techniques from SCAN-Harbor’s vast 350 – item curriculum.

                    What Makes “Youth in Jeopardy” Necessary and Different

  • Many books have been written about parenting, but almost none have directed to parents of children who are at risk of violent and criminal behavior. Furthermore, those commenting on this population are doing so from their academic perches – – rather than based on experiences in the streets and the homes of at-risk families.
  • Readers may wonder what the need for “Youth in Jeopardy” might be at this particular time? The book is designed to address the frustration of Americans who are confronted with daily headlines and blasts of yet another deadly act of violence and who don’t understand the causes and remedies surrounding these tragedies. They may be asked, “Who would do that and why? Are parents and professionals powerless to prevent this onslaught on our population?”
  • “Youth in Jeopardy” seeks to provide techniques which have been found to be successful in keeping youngsters out of trouble. Many exercises from SCAN-Harbor’s Violence Prevention Curriculum are included, so that parents and professionals will be able to use them with youngsters without “reinventing the wheel.”
  • My book is one of the very few which walks the readers through the steps of reducing the level of risk faced by particular teenagers.
  • “Youth in Jeopardy” presents a unique blend of social work methodology, human interest, and entertainment.
  • Readers of my book will likely find many of the anecdotes presented to be moving and/or amusing. One memorable example concerns “Truant Thomas”, who hid his shows so that I wouldn’t be able to walk him to school.
  • The body of “Youth in Jeopardy” and the appendix contain samples of techniques developed over a 20-year period in order to prevent violence and criminal behavior. For example, our program has created an instrument to detect the factors molding an angry teenage personality – – which usually leads to a much earlier successful conclusion of the case. Our techniques differ from those you may have previously been exposed to in that they are designed for use with a higher-risk population.