New Year’s Resolutions From Juvenile Drug Court

It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions. Keeping them, though, takes a resolution that many, well-intended people simply don’t have. For those whose plans are to lose a stubborn 10 pounds or run a first-ever marathon, the consequences of failure are minimal. For teenagers who have spent at least some of 2011 stoned, drunk and in front of a judge, failing to honor their resolutions can have lifelong results. In Marietta, Ga., five high school students who are participants in the Cobb County Juvenile Drug Court talked about 2011 and looked ahead to 2012.

New Year’s Resolutions: Hannah, 16

Hannah Greer, 16, Pope High School

“I was clean for nine months until this month, when I slipped up and drank some whiskey. I’ve been to jail four times. My drug of choice, it’s embarrassing to say, was cocaine. Finally, it hit me that if I could go without it in jail, I could go without it at home. “My resolution is not to go backwards at all next year.

New Year’s Resolutions: Rachel, 16

Rachel Perdue, 16, Pebblebrook High School

I got caught using marijuana three years ago and have now been clean for seven months. For my New Year’s resolution, I want to lose 10 pounds, and stay sober, of course. To do that, I’m going to have to stay busy. I’m going to spend time practicing my cello, and keeping my grades up and spend time with my boyfriend, who is very supportive and a good influence. “Plus, my mom and I have a lot of fun together.

New Year’s Resolutions: Nick, 17

Nick McCullough, 17, Pope High School

“I have a good head on my shoulders and for starters, I won’t do what I normally would do on New Years, which is smoke weed. I want to go to college and I have my mind set on that now. I am the captain of my hockey team and pretty much always have been. I like to be a leader instead of having a lot of people looking over me. I’m not crazy about being under people’s rule, so even this (drug court) is a big deal for me.

New Year’s Resolutions: Dylan, 15

Dylan Hamilton, 15, Pope High School

“I started smoking marijuana two years ago. I was skipping a lot of school, hanging with the wrong crowd, living the wrong life. This coming year, I just want to be clean and able to relax and do my best in school so I can start preparing for college. I’m a grade behind where I should be and I’m trying to make that up now. “There were some wasted years, for sure.

New Year’s Resolutions: Damian, 16

Damian Browning, 16, Marietta High School

“I see 2012 as a chance to keep my grades up, think clearly and level headed and stay sober. I was 14 when I started drinking and 15 when I started smoking weed. The probation I’m on actually is a big help in keeping me sober, but my parents have really wised up to what I was up to and are paying close attention. Plus, I’ve got a new baby brother (born around Thanksgiving). When I see him, I just think what I was doing is not worth it.

Home for the Holidays for Two Brothers, Part Two

Erin Dale, a probation officer in Cobb County, Georgia’s juvenile drug court, has never come across a kid who started using marijuna as young as Zach Dykes. “Seven years old,” Dale said. “Pre-teen, like 11 or 12, is the earliest I’d seen before Zach.”

Zach, 17, is currently in the Cobb County, Ga. Juvenile drug court program. Up until this April, the Hillgrove High School senior had smoked marijuana on and off – mostly on – since he was 7.

For Once, Two Brothers Behind Bars Come Home For Christmas, Part One

No one is 100 percent sure what Christmas in the Dykes’ house will be like this year. But Zach Dykes, 17, a senior at metro Atlanta’s Hillgrove High School, is pretty sure it’ll be better than last year’s. It almost has to be. Zach was in the Cobb County Youth Detention Center on drug charges until Christmas Eve last year. His older brother, Robbie, 23, was in prison, serving an 18-month prison sentence on a drug conviction.

Dirt bikes, Joyriding and Diving, Avoiding the Tragedies of Teenage Poor Judgment

Connor Whitesell, 17, was riding his dirt bike and wanted to try out a homemade ramp. Cody Holder, 16, dove into a shallow pool at a relative’s house – despite his father’s warnings. Kristyn Osterhaus, 19, was joyriding — without a seatbelt — in the backseat of an overloaded Jeep, following a summer party. 

The three teens were from different parts of the country, and by all accounts, were good kids. Had they shown a tad more judgment in the moments leading up to those acts – perhaps had they just thought for a moment before acting — they would have nothing in common. Instead, they are alumni of Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta.

The Ambassadors’ Deep Bench, The Mothers Behind a Winning Team

Stacey Strozier found her son lying in the street in a pool of blood. Sonya King prayed her baby wouldn’t get caught up with the wrong crowd. And Felecia Calhoun’s worried her son was a cocky kid who thought an education wasn’t all that important. The mothers of the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors — an Atlanta inner-city baseball team that thrives of civic-minded goodness and specializes in sending its players to colleges on scholarships — all have a story to tell. Having a story of adversity to tell is essentially a prerequisite of Ambassador founders, C.J. and Kelley Stewart.