National Crime Victim’s Week provided the opportunity for five youth from O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility and N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility to give back to the community by assisting three victims’ organizations with their events.
The Division of Juvenile Justice encourages its youth to learn what impact their actions have had on their victims through hands-on methods such as excursions.
For the past five years, DJJ has supported the March on the Capitol during Crime Victim’s Week by sending a crew of youth to set up hundreds of posters of victims around the steps of the Capitol. Five youth and staff traveled to the Capitol in Sacramento on April 8 so the youth could give back to community.
This restorative-justice experience provided the youth a hands-on experience that they would never have received in a classroom or from a textbook. The youth were able to see the effects of their crimes on their victims and the community.
For the second year, DJJ youth and staff have helped set up for the annual event. The youth set up tables and chairs for the information booths of nonprofit victims’ organizations so they could assist victims of crime.
On April 10, DJJ youth traveled to the San Joaquin County Victims’ Event in downtown Stockton. The youth had a booth at the event that offered free mementos to the victims attending the event.
Pinwheels with the victim’s name were given to the participants so they could honor their loved ones. Photo albums made by the youth gave the victims an opportunity to place pictures of their loved ones in the albums for the youth to view time and time again.
Stickers asking people to call Crime Stoppers with tips of unsolved murders were passed out. At the end of the event, a raffle was conducted for items that were made by the youth and donated for this event, including a refurbished laptop computer donated by Merit Partners, two homemade quilts, a crocheted blanket, gift baskets of birdhouse gourds and other items.
There was no charge for participating in the raffle. It was the DJJ youths’ way of giving back to the community.