Post-arrest Program

WSVN — There’s a surprising rise in the number of teenage girls in trouble. 7’s Lynn Martinez shows us a program helping girls get off the path to juvenile detention.

These teenage girls share a bond. Each one made a bad decision that got them arrested.

Group: “Life is 10 percent of what happens to us and 90 percent of how we respond.”

Now under court order, they spend four days a week in a program called Girl Power.

Program Director Kerry Bruce: “Girl power is this wonderful after school program that provides a safe haven for girls to come to.”

In class, the girls are encouraged to talk about their crimes, share experiences and express emotions without anger.

Destini Sears: “You can come here and talk about any problem. We talk about everything.”

Destini wound up in the program after a fight at school. The 16-year-old says the only reason she got into the fight is, because she didn’t want to look weak in front of her friends.

Destini Sears: “Trying to fit in, I’m not going to look soft, I’m not going to look like the coward in this situation.”

Destini says the program really helped her open up. Most of these girls don’t have positive role models they can talk to. So, the program brings in mentors like LaShawnna Stanley, who has been through some of the struggles they are facing.

Life Coach, Mentor LaShawnna Stanley: “I’m going to be real with you and tell you I had a kid when I was 15, my mom was in the streets, I grew up in the ghetto.”

Now, she’s the owner of a modeling agency, showing the girls they can be successful, despite past mistakes.

LaShawnna Stanley: “It’s really a good feeling to see them transform like butterflies.”

Makiesha Victor was arrested when she was 13 for fighting. But after completing the program, she went on to finish school, get a full time job and is taking care of her son ian. She says girl power changed her life.

Makiesha Victor: “She was that figure in my life that kind of kept me going, made my look at myself and say, ‘Wow, maybe this needs to change.’ To just know who you are, love who you are and the people around you.”

Lynn Martinez: Girl Power also offers free therapy to the girls and takes them on field trips and college tours.