Youth Resource Advocate Reaches Out to Kids and Families in Trouble

Youth Resource Advocate Troy Palmer. Palmer holds a master’s  degree in clinical psychology. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/ladailypost.com
 
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post

When young people are struggling or in trouble, families often don’t know how to cope. The immediate problems can seem so overwhelming that finding a way out of the situation seems impossible. Things can escalate until they are out of control. Troy Palmer is here to help.

Palmer is a Youth Resource Advocate. This service, administered through the Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, is offered free of charge to Los Alamos youth and their families, regardless of income.

Palmer holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology. He has spent his career working with troubled youth. He brings kids and their families together to find solutions and access the services they need to get back on track, including therapy, support groups, financial assistance and educational help.

“My goal is to be a bridge of support for youths and families and walk them through the steps of getting help,” Palmer said. “Sometimes, an outside person offering support can get things done. I brainstorm with the family and we explore new ideas. Some really good things come out of it. We come up with a plan that everyone will agree to try.”

Currently Palmer has a caseload of 25 kids. “I’m confident there are many more that could use the help,” he said.

Referrals come from parents, schools, the juvenile justice system, community groups, concerned community members and youths themselves. Palmer works with elementary school youngsters through young adults. Most of his clients are in high school or middle school.

Sometimes, only short-term help is needed. Other times Palmer sees clients for several months or longer. “I’m going to keep supporting them until they get on their feet,” he said.

Palmer helps young people and their families deal with a multitude of different issues, including substance abuse, truancy, depression, anxiety, family conflict, suicidal thinking, aggression, self-harming behaviors, school struggles and excessive risk-taking.

“The kids that have made mistakes or had problems need to learn how to be resilient and become aware of their abilities,” Palmer said. “If someone makes a mistake, it’s hard to come back from that because there is so much pressure. These kids need to discover their own strengths.”

A significant number of the families in Palmer’s caseload are low income or in financial strain, he said. These extra pressures can make problems with youth even more difficult to address. Palmer helps families access services they may need.

“Schools are limited with how much they can help with issues outside the classroom, even though those issues might be affecting them at school,” Palmer said. “Therapists have limitations on how much they can do between sessions. I can help fill that gap.”

Palmer meets his clients wherever they like ─ at home, at a coffee shop, at the library ─ wherever they feel comfortable.

“They don’t have to come to an office,” Palmer said.

Palmer is someone kids and their families can talk to without feeling embarrassed because they are having problems or difficulty coping.

“I don’t want anyone to doubt that they should call me,” Palmer said. “Don’t hesitate. If you think I can help, call me.”

Call or text Troy Palmer at 505-690-7889, or email jjabyra@gmail.com. To learn more about all of the services the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board offers to youth and families, visit http://losalamosjjab.com/.

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