The History

Choices® was developed in 2003 by Sarah Meadows, MSW, LISW-AP and George Appenzeller, MSW, LISW-CP and AP, LPC, LCSW through their firm, System Wide Solutions. Both authors have more than 25 years experience working with at-risk youth, primarily in leading therapeutic wilderness adventure groups and in consulting with community programs that serve youth.

The Choices® curriculum was developed as a community-based intervention for youth who were involved in school related incidents such as fighting on school property. The curriculum was developed over a six-month period, with extensive field-testing. Trained group leaders and youth participants gave feedback and helped to refine the materials. The developers revised and updated the materials 2005 to provide a more flexible format for conducting groups in various community settings.

Certified group leaders are conducting Choices® groups in communities throughout South Carolina and are starting to develop groups in Vermont. More than 150 group leaders have been trained. Typical settings for Choices® groups are juvenile diversion or arbitration programs, schools, community intervention and youth development programs. Follow up of past participants indicates results comparable to more intensive and costly interventions. More detailed follow up studies are being conducted.