When a young person commits a crime, it can start a life-altering cycle of confinement, conflict and destruction — against themselves and the community. Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden is working to change that through an innovative restorative community justice program. Eight young men attended the April 5 State Board of Human Services meeting and shared how the program has helped them change their lives.
As members of Lookout Mountain’s Eagles program, the young men have volunteered to complete a series of tasks and projects based on restorative justice principles. They also serve as a role model for the center’s other youth. “If you don’t have time for them, someone less positive will,” one young man said. Only 16 out of the hundreds of youths at Lookout Mountain are Eagles. “You’ve got to step up and show what you’ve got to be an Eagle,” said one young man.
The culinary and cultural program “A Passport to the World” at Platte Valley Youth Services Center highlighted France for their February country destination. The cultural traditions for the month focused on the history of Valentine’s Day and why it is named after St. Valentine.
Local street artist Bimmer Torres, whose works can be seen all around Denver, shares his talents and vision with the youth of DYS through collaborative design and production of murals. Organized and overseen by Martin Friedman, a client manager and parole officer with a love for restorative community justice, the youth involved are able to be a part of the process from beginning to end.
Platte Valley YSC celebrated the graduation of two incredibly talented youth for their culinary catering program this month. For their final showcase of what they have learned throughout the program, the two youth each created three dishes: a soup, main entree, and dessert. Natalie Chrastil, Associate Director for DYS, was able to share in the celebration and presented the coveted chef’s jackets to these new graduates.
Each month, Grand Mesa Youth Service Center conducts an Art Heritage Group as an incentive program for our Educational Scholars which focuses on well-known artists and cultural art forms. Most recently, the youth were able to meet the famous artist of the month, Lyle Nichols.
Last week, the Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families had the honor of hosting Mr. Shigoku, an official from the Juvenile Classification Home Section, the Juvenile Treatment Division, Correction Bureau, at the Ministry of Justice - Japan. Mr. Shigoku’s goal while in Colorado was to study the approach DYS and other juvenile justice serving agencies use to help in the prevention of delinquency and crime.