This book invites you into a counseling office at a contemporary urban middle school as students show up, open up, and share their pain. With help over time, they heal and find hope.
In the words of the author:
“With my counseling team, we helped lost kids find themselves.
Some of the students you will meet within these pages conflicted with their peers; many conflicted with parents, guardians, and our society at large. Adults had abused some; some had been abandoned. Some had witnessed the lives of those they loved taken through drugs or violence. Some were trying to numb their pain through alcohol, drugs, or injury to themselves. Some were threatening violence to others. Some students wanted to give up altogether and take their own lives. All of them were deeply troubled.
With our support, most of these resilient young people ‘made it’s through those challenging times. I felt privileged to know them--to be allowed into their worlds to help them make positive choices. Many have stayed in touch with me and are still part of my life. Here are their stories — true stories of troubled teens (and preteens) who came to me feeling lost and allowed me to help them find healing.
I hope that my experiences will guide you when working with your own or other troubled teens. Unfortunately, they are everywhere; fortunately, we can help them.”
Jan Elise Sells
5433 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618
2035 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, CA
39138 Ocean Drive, Gualala, CA 95445
1855 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707
2349 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
11315 Route 1, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
may also be obtained at the following libraries:
Albany Public Library
Berkeley Public Library--all 5 branches
Contra Costa County Libraries--all 26 branches
Oakland Public Library--all 20 branches
One may also purchase Lost and Found through the following catalogs online:
REACH & TEACH--the peace and social justice learning company
ACTIVE PARENTING PUBLISHERS
"I had heard rumors of Jan Sells' heroic work at King Middle School in Berkeley during the time my son was a student there. How wonderful that she's collected all her stories into a book now, letting us look into the minds and hearts of the troubled teens whose authentic voices are all too rarely heard. Jan not only lets us hear them, but also lights the way toward understanding and healing. Everyone who works with at-risk kids--as well as parents of teens--will find a wealth of insight and tools for communication in LOST and FOUND: Troubled Teens in Troubled Times."
-Barbara Quick, author Vivaldi's Virgins
"Very seldom do we find a person who tells such a revealing story based on her own life experience in working with at-risk youth. For 20 years, Jan Elise Sells brought her heart to work with her everyday to help make a difference in the lives of so many young people. With remarkable insight, expertise, and love, Jan shares the stories of adolescents being lost, and hopefully found, and for many, guided away from a life of violence, crime and imprisonment. I am grateful to Jan not only for doing this work for so many years, but for writing about it to help educate others. Our youth need our love and compassion now more than ever."
-Jarvis Jay Masters, author Finding Freedom and That Bird Has My Wings
"Let's be grateful to Jan Sells for recounting her pioneering work with troubled teens. A must-read forteachers and parents, this rare and remarkable book will reward everyone with a teen-ager in their life."
-Joanna Macy, author Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy
"These stories of teens are riveting! While filled with painful portraits of youth in real distress, Jan Sells's unflinching document of the myriad losses and tragedies of young lives is filled with hope. Compassion, commitment, and courage on the part of caring adults CAN bring a lost teen back to a place of inner and outer home. A wise and loving handbook for any adult who cares about, and cares for, the lives of young people."
-Betsy Rose, Activist Singer/Songwriter
"Middle school is a crucial age in any teen’s life, affecting self-esteem and often setting the course towards well-being or self-destruction. Lost and Found provides a valuable map for supporting young people through the most difficult issues they face. Filled with real-life stories that engage the reader, the clarity, heartfulness, and wisdom in this book is a treasure for any parent or adult working with teens. Highly recommended."
-James Baraz, author of Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness, co-founding teacher, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Woodacre, CA
"As a compassionate and insightful middle school counselor, Jan Sells helped countless young teens at King Middle School during the years I was principal there. Her stories will inspire and guide all those who are striving to counsel or mentor adolescents as they grapple with the challenges and complexities of their lives.
--Neil Smith, CoSuperintendent, Berkeley Unified School District
"Beautifully told in meticulous detail, these moving stories from the daily life of a middle school counselor share with us practical tools for working with the challenging issues teens face. But more than that, the book gives us a model of hope and inspiration for the possibility of transforming individuals and society through listening, compassion, understanding, and love."
-Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education, UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center and the author of Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens, and Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness
"A moving and insightful book that delivers vivid case studies of vulnerable teens plus the caring, delicate ways that Ms. Sells approaches each young person and their problems. Highly recommended to those who want to bridge the gap between generations."
-Summer Brenner, author of Richmond Tales, Lost Secrets from the Iron Triangle and Oakland Tales, Lost Secrets from the Town
Take a look at the 5-star reviews on Amazon—28 and still counting!! ;D
November/December issue of the California Association of Marriage/Family Therapists (CAMFT) journal, The Therapist, has a great ad, page 49, and a wonderful review, page 73. Check out the link, or read it below:
Review by Rachel M. Moore, LMFT, for the Nov/Dec 2013 issue of The Therapist,
magazine of the California Association of Marriage/Family Therapists (CAMFT)
"The stories in this book are love stories." That's how Jan Sells sums up her tale of the years she spent building a counseling program at a middle school in Berkeley, Calif. Sells' book begins with the loss of her father at age nine and ends with a poignant portrait of leading a group of preteen boys through the grief of losing their fathers. It is clear that Sells loved her job and that the students whose lives she touched loved her, as well.
Lost and Found, an enlightening read for beginners as well as veteran therapists, is divided into several sections. Bullying, sexual abuse, and substance abuse are some of the topics covered. In the bullying section, the author discusses how she created a conflict resolution program at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. The transformations she describes in the relationships between some of the students who participated in the program are nothing short of miraculous.
In the section on substance abuse, Sells shows how nurturing a nonjudgmental relationship with her young clients helped them see their own worth and overcome their destructive behaviors. Although Sells acknowledges, there are many students who unfortunately fell through the cracks, her kind and objective approach with the students she did encounter clearly changed the trajectory of many lives over her 20-year career.
This book is written in an easy to read conversational style, and it is hefty at more than 350 pages. Although some of the details seem excessive (it may or may not be helpful to know the color of the furniture in Sells' office or the minute mannerisms of her students, for example), they do offer a vivid look into the life of a dedicated and passionate middle school counselor.
Sells has written a book of power and hope. She advocates supporting adolescents in the service of helping them find the strength of their character. King Middle School was lucky to have her, and her work should be an example to follow for other institutions across the country.