Two from Ventura Youth Correctional Facility share experiences

By Catherine Conneally-Salazar, Catholic Chaplain
Ventura Youth Correctional Facility

Two girls from Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF) visited St. Peter Church in Simi Valley on a recent Sunday to speak with 50 high school students who were attending an all-day retreat.

The youths, Jocelyn and Consuelo, are participating in the Community Labor Experience And Responsibility (CLEAR) program.

The event was organized by VYCF volunteer Deacon Brian Clements.

The Chaplaincy Program at VYCF was the recipient of numerous donations from the Confirmation Class, including items for the annual Christmas gift bags. The youth from St. Peter Claver have been attending a two-year program to prepare for Confirmation, which will be conferred on them on Saturday, May 2.

The CLEAR girls were there to represent all the VYCF youth and to help the students gain a better understanding of the lives of incarcerated youth and their struggles as the seek to better their lives and rehabilitate.

“It was nice to go to a different environment than where I came from and talk to younger youth and knowing there are people there to support us,” Jocelyn said.

The girls were warmly received and were given lots of praise after the talk for their honest and heartfelt sharing.

“It was a good opportunity to share my experiences with youth my age,” said Consuelo.

It is through partnerships such as these the principles of restorative justice benefit the youth of the Division of Juvenile Justice and the wider community, according to those involved.