Straight Ahead Ministries Expands Coverage of Youth Re-Entry Programs to Five Regions in the State of Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts--(Newsfile Corp. - December 8, 2022) - Straight Ahead Ministries has announced that the organization has expanded the reach of its 'Youth Re-entry Program' from three to five regions within the state of Massachusetts. The program will now serve cities such as Boston, Fall River, Fitchburg Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Springfield, Taunton, as well as Worcester.
According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, over 424,000 children are arrested every year and enter the juvenile justice system. Being incarcerated separates these young people from the support networks and guidance that they need to become responsible adults. The high recidivism rates point to the need for more effective programs for justice-involved youth so that they can reintegrate into society and get gainful employment once they are released from juvenile detention.
Straight Ahead Ministries supports such young people with its 'Youth Re-entry Program' to help them transition back into outside life so that there is less chance for reoffending. The re-entry program connects them to mentors who offer emotional support and assists them with housing and jobs. These mentors are often people who have been incarcerated and volunteer for the programs as part of their desire to give back to the community.
Through such positive relationships and a nurturing ecosystem, justice-involved youth are motivated to change their lives for the better. These young people are given access to job opportunities as part of the 'Straight2Work' pre-employment component of the program, carried out in collaboration with small community businesses. Straight2Work gives a structure to their days and helps instill the basic skills they need to get and retain jobs in the future, without being too taxing on the participants or the employers. They also get a measure of financial support until they earn enough to lead independent lives. Returning to school is a challenge with the disruption that incarceration causes and they are still viewed with suspicion by the police and local community. Getting housing is also a challenge in this scenario. The program assists them with all these aspects so that they can soon lead independent lives as responsible adults.
"Justice-involved youth often return to their homes in high crime areas and need emotional support so that they are not lured back into a life of petty crime. These kids face heavy odds in life. They make destructive choices due to peer pressure, lack of family support, substance abuse or mental health issues. What they need is compassion, not punishment. They are often viewed with suspicion and are told what not to do. In my opinion, positive reinforcement and emotional support is what they really need to get their lives back on track. They should be given second and even third chances to redeem themselves. The expansion of our "Youth Re-entry Program' from 3 to 5 regions and our low rate of recidivism points to the effectiveness of this program," concluded Scott Larson, President of Straight Ahead Ministries.
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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