It’s Risky Business Being a Teenager

Think it’s easy being a teenager? Even if a teen isn’t personally involved in a crisis, statistics indicate he or she is likely to know someone who is.

• About 19 percent of U.S. high school students have had serious thoughts of suicide, and 14.5 percent have made plans for suicide.

• Forty-eight percent of teens knew where to get cocaine easily, and 30 percent knew a source for heroin.

• While only 6.4 percent of ninth- to 12th-graders used a form of cocaine, 11.7 percent had sniffed glue, paint or aerosol spray to get high in 2009.

• Between 1.6 million and 2.8 million youths run away each year in the United States.

• About a quarter of America’s high school students won’t graduate on time, and 1,550 high schools will graduate 40 percent or fewer of their students on time.

• In 2005, 25 percent of high school seniors admitted to shoplifting in the previous 12 months; 19 percent admitted to participating in a group fight in that time.

You can help teenagers avoid these problems and temptations through the SUCCESS Foundation’s SUCCESS for Teens program. It emphasizes that little changes can grow into bigger solutions.

The SUCCESS Foundation gives program participants free copies and downloads of its SUCCESS for Teens book, which was written by and for teenagers. The theme: Teenagers can resist dangers such as drugs and crime, and they can reach personal goals—achieving a college degree, for instance—by planning one step at a time.

Your contribution can expand the foundation’s SUCCESS for Teens program, which has already helped about 2 million students. A gift as small as $25 can sponsor an entire classroom; a program guide helps teachers fit the program into existing curricula. To express our thanks, SUCCESS magazine will profile SUCCESS Foundation contributors in future issues.

To learn more about the SUCCESS Foundation ( or to make a tax-deductible gift to the foundation, contact Leah McCann at 940-497-9700 or [email protected]


Betsy Simnacher is a freelance writer who has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. She lives in the suburbs of Dallas.

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