Worcester, Massachusetts–(Newsfile Corp. – December 9, 2022) – Straight Ahead Ministries has announced the expansion of the ministry’s ‘Every Youth Every Facility’ and ‘Ready4Life’ programs to other states. The ministry’s programs have achieved recidivism levels well below 20%. When compared to the national levels that are higher than 68%, these programs have significant impact.
The ‘Every Youth Every Facility’ initiative reaches members of the community who want to offer support to justice-involved youth by providing contacts, support and training, including 15 online courses that will equip them to work with youth who are caught up in the juvenile justice system. As part of the program, justice-involved youth get access to mentors who can help them get back on their feet. At the launch of the initiative, only 26% of juvenile facilities had partnerships with faith and community programs and this percentage has increased to 58% with the advent of programs like ‘Every Youth Every Facility‘. The program previously covered Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, as well as throughout New England. It will now be expanded into Illinois, Washington and Ohio.
The Ready4Life program is a 3-day intensive course that is carried out in both juvenile facilities and in the community. This program has been particularly effective in quelling gang violence among inmates who have been released back into the community. As part of the program, youth from the same facility are brought together and equipped with the skills they need to become healthy adults. They are taught through a series of teaching segments and interactive exercises to transition from a ‘victim’ mentality to taking responsibility for the choices they have made. Once they understand the factors that drove their destructive behavior in the past, they learn how to better communicate and defuse potential conflict to live productive lives in the future. Participants have a followup session in 10 weeks to ensure that they stay on track. Straight Ahead Ministries just finished one such program in New Mexico and is preparing to conduct such sessions all across the country. Two such programs will be held in Nevada in March 2023.
Commenting on the expansion of these programs, Scott Larson, President of Straight Ahead Ministries said, “It is important to us that we do not miss even a single youth in a detention center. Some of them are as old as 17 or 18, but at heart, they are children. Research shows that they are developmentally disadvantaged. 74% of them lack stable family backgrounds or support, while 60% of them are victims of abuse. When we reach out to them and provide them with the kind of emotional support that they have never received before, they are more likely to make forward-thinking choices to help them reintegrate successfully. Our use of mentors who have lived experience, many of whom have been incarcerated, add a unique aspect to our programs. We show them through example that change is possible and give them hope. That is why we are expanding these two programs at the national level.”
About Straight ahead Ministries
Straight Ahead Ministries is a faith-based organization that was set up in 1987 with the goal of supporting justice-involved young people while they are incarcerated and when they return to the community. This is done through a combination of intensive emotional support, mentoring, character development, financial assistance and employment support so that they can transition back into society and lead productive lives.
Name: Barbara Picard
Position: Director of Communications
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