From the Desk of Youth Outreach Services CEO and Founder: Elizabeth Charity
YOS 12 weeks Job Readiness Mentor Program (JRMP) Youth Outreach Services has a proven track record that rehabilitation and mentoring help create entrepreneurs through intervention, prevention, after-care and employment programs. Implementing this program, we includes the private and public sector, the community and college students.
Facts: Research shows that the U.S. prison population has grown exponentially within the past three decades. This amounts to close to $70 billion in annual expenditures related to adult and juvenile incarceration and the supervision of individuals who have been placed on probation and parole. In addition to these staggering numbers is the fact that, close to 75 percent of this spending is occurring on the state level (Hawkins).
Statewide statistics show that, of those who reported their education level, approximately 29 percent of the incarcerated population, as of June 2012, possesses less than a 12th grade education (Statistical Analysis & Forecast Unit); while 44 percent possess a GED or high school diploma. Within the Central Region of Virginia, where Youth Outreach Services resides, of those who reported their education level, approximately 24 percent of offenders possess less than a high school education; while 25 percent possess a GED or high school diploma (Statistical Analysis & Forecast Unit). Of the individuals, who fall within the Central Regions area of responsibility, 92 percent are reported to be on parole or probation.
The State of Virginia spends $12,000.00 for education (State by state, Census Bureau’s report on education finances), whereas it spends $24,667.00 for holding a prison in Virginia. It is estimated that annual corrections cost since 2000 have increased by a least $120 million beyond that expected given the state’s population growth. In FY 2008 Virginia taxpayers spent 7.6 percent of the state’s general funds on correction. Virginia has only 1 in 94 adults is under community supervision compared with the national average of 1 in 45. Combining these two statistics a high incarceration rate and a low community supervision rate-shows that 52 percent of Virginia’s adult correctional population is behind bars. Accordingly, this is the fourth highest rate in the country. VA is spending almost 20 times more per day to manage prison inmates than to supervise offenders in the community (www.rightoncrime.com/reforms-in-action). These figures do not include those incarcerated or on probation or parole supervision for misdemeanor offenses.
Meet some of the individuals who have participated in YOS 12 week Job Readiness Mentor Program as a Mentor, College Intern, Executive Director, and a Juvenile Offender.
I met Eduardo Ostos in the Juvenile Detention Center in Prince William County, Virginia. The prosecuting lawyer wanted to send Eduardo to the State Department of Juvenile Justice. Eduardo’s lawyer introduced Youth Outreach Services 12 weak Job Readiness Mentor Program to the Judge. The Judge ruled in favor of Eduardo participating in YOS program. Eduardo turned his life around. He received the Beat the Odds Award, did community service through YOS and receive a letter of achievement from the Honorable Congressman Gerald E. Connolly.
Eddie Ostos, Congressman Gerald E. Connolly, Antoine Harris, YOS Chairman of the Board.
Elizabeth Charity, CEO and Founder with the Honorable Judge Paul Gluchowski, Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Court who court order Eddie to Youth Outreach Services Job Readiness Mentor Program.
Ex-Executive Director of Youth Outreach Services- Travis Harris
Travis is my son who has a passion for ministry, people, and knowledge. Travis Harris is an high achiever and has always been energetic about ministry and humanity. He became Youth Outreach Services’ first Executive Director at the age of 19 years old. At 14 years old, Travis had quite a portfolio; he helped to produce the local television program , “ Community Involvement Showcase,” in Richmond, Virginia , where he helped host a weekly television show. He also did radio broadcasting, where he and his friends talked about social issues which included black on black issues in the neighborhood; injustice and ministry in the community. During the summer while he was at the University of Virginia, Travis helped to develop the 12 week job readiness program and implemented it in Prince William Juvenile Detention Center. He graduated from University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Art Degree in Religion. He further his education with a Master Degree in Divinity from Virginia Union University and is now studying for this PhD in African America Studies at the University of William and Mary. Including in his list of many accomplishments, which is the most important to him is that he is a father to his two beautiful daughters Grace and Faith Harris and a devoted husband to his wife Destiney Harris.
GMU College Interns: Raj Panth, Alan Boyce, and James Doran
Raj Panth is a very ambitious young man, who has goals and dreams. I met him at George Mason University and I was looking for someone to help implement the 12 week job readiness mentor program during the summer of 2013. Raj Path was the candidate and we had an awesome summer where we did video production and RETV (Reality Education Television) was birth. Reality Education Television is where we take the education out of the classroom and bring it into the community. One of the social issues we addressed was the transformation of the ex-juvenile offenders into social entrepreneurs. Raj Path had the opportunity to create a video tape that featured Arnold Harvey, who was stabbed to death and left to die on the street, but he survived. He is now an author of the book, “Every Decision Matters,” and a Motivational Speaker. You must read the book, it is an inspiring book. You can see Raj Path video production on www.youtube.com RETV. It is called “Transformation.” Raj Panth now works as an Intern, Chief Information Officer at Executive Office Of the President of the United States
Raj Panth and Alan Boyce came as a pair. I was double blessed. Raj did the video production and Alan Boyce did the interviewing. Alan interviewed lawyers, authors, and businessman at our Fundraising event at Columbus Grill, 8349 Centreville Rd, Manassas, Virginia. Alan wants to be a television journalist and Youth Outreach Services job readiness mentor program gave him the opportunity to get on the job training in that field. We submitted some of our television productions to DC50-WDCW Channel 50 Television and it was accepted to be air. Youth Outreach Services could not afford the airing time on DC50-WDCW at that particular time.
I met James Doran ( YOS intern and mentor) at the STAR Lab at George Mason University. We both were studying for spring examines. He sits down next to me and I began to share with him my BIS project on Reducing Recidivism. He volunteered immediately and said this is something he wants to help me with as a summer intern with Youth Outreach Services. James Doran is a Sociology Major and is working on his Master Degree in it with a Minor Degree in Public Policy. He wants to change some of the Public Policy laws especially those targeting juvenile recidivism. During his internship, he had the opportunity to meet Prince William County Board of Supervisor John Jenkins, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter of Prince William County, Delegate Michael Futrell, with Stafford and Prince William County, Senator Charles Colgan and Richard H.Buchholz, Gang Response Intervention Team (GRIT) Coordinator. He also helped to update the objectives and goals of the 12 week job readiness mentor program and revised YOS 5 weeks assessment program.
Moving Forward- Youth Outreach Services Introduced the Re-entry Program to William Stephens, Regional Re-Entry Specialist – Tameka Casselle, YOS Grant Administrator/Manager and Elizabeth Charity, CEO and Founder
Youth Outreach Services had the opportunity to introduce the re-entry program to Mr. William Stephens Regional Re-Entry Specialist from the Department of Juvenile Justice. He took time from his busy schedule to come to Prince William County and tour Youth Outreach Services Non-traditional Career center. Renovating the facility is therapeutically training, job training, business development, entrepreneurial training, and rehabilitation for the students involved. The Non-traditional Career Center is providing leadership, money management and career planning. Upon completion this facility, it will be a safe-self sustainable facility that offers employment, economic growth and education for the community. Your time and money invested will help build value in people lives and the community and help change Virginia statistics on recidivism which I shared with you earlier in the article. I am thanking you in advance for your time and consideration in this matter and making a donation to help make it happen.