Monday, October 1, 2007

“Day on the Green” Career Fair Connects Youth Offenders with Mentors and Support in their Local Community

Positive Intervention Offers Alternatives to Crime, Improves Public Safety

STOCKTON – The N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility High School/Career Academy hosted its second annual Career Fair on Saturday, September 29. The event was called “Day on the Green” because it was set up on the athletic field in the middle of the Chaderjian campus.

This year The Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) collaborated with many different types of organizations that specialize in services such as job placement, housing assistance, and apprenticeship and mentoring programs, as well as several vendors that assisted in sponsoring the program. The purpose of this event was to provide DJJ youth with transitional resources to network with community, state, county and faith-based organizations.

These organizations were invited to come inside the correctional facility to provide guiding relationships with the wards at the Chaderjian facility. Motivational speakers, music, poetry, and singing groups were also there to entertain and reward wards who have demonstrated good behavior in-custody, and encourage positive choices upon release. The event provided an opportunity for wards to meet with potential mentors, and for service providers in the local community to connect with youth.

“These types of events provide not only hope – but guidance to youthful offenders. It’s important to show wards that there are individuals and organizations out there willing to open doors for them, if they will only take advantage of the opportunities,” said Secretary James Tilton, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “Many of these youth have not had strong role models or mentors growing up. Connecting them with support networks in their local community is very important to their future success.”

Bernard Warner, Chief Deputy Secretary of the Division of Juvenile Justice was in attendance along with representatives from the City of Tracy, the Stockton Mayor’s Office and individuals representing organizations from a number of nearby counties, including San Joaquin County.

Tickets to a Raiders football game, an overnight pass to a hotel in Morro Bay, DVD movies and candy were raffled off to volunteers, staff, and youth.

“As expected this activity was a complete success thanks to the dedication of the community, the hard work of the volunteers and staff, and of course to the youth of N.A. Chaderjian,” said Warner. “These types of positive interventions offer youth who have been in trouble alternatives to crime. Community involvement in rehabilitation at this young age reduces the likelihood that they’ll re-offend, and improves public safety.”