A young offender from the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility speaks with a resident of a local convalescent home.

A young offender from the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility speaks with a resident of a local convalescent home.

Convalescent hospital residents benefit from community service work

By Erika Allen, Senior Youth Correctional Counselor
Ventura Youth Correctional Facility

Three young women from Ventura Youth Correctional Facility have been working to better the surrounding community through service projects.

Known as the Community Labor Experience And Responsibility (CLEAR) program, three three youth have clearance to perform various community service jobs outside of the institution.

The youth work with food banks, homeless outreach programs, family assistance programs, landscaping projects and grounds keeping in the front of the institution.

On Valentine’s Day, the CLEAR youth visited a local convalescent home.

They passed out flowers to the residents and spent time speaking with them. Many of the elderly residents do not have regular family visitors.

The residents expressed gratitude and joy after visiting with the youth.

The three young women said the outing touched them and they felt as though they were actually making a difference in the local community.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with the elders. It broke my heart to see how sad they were despite the fact that I believe it is a blessing alone to make it to (their ages),” Laquiria said.

The girls had the opportunity to visit with a military veteran.

“It was something new to me,” Joselyn said. “I liked having the opportunity to come into close contact with a veteran.”

Jasmine said she made a connection with one elderly gentleman.

“When I saw how these people lived, my heart dropped and tears formed in my eyes,” she said. “I saw another side to it and was humbled. It made me realize I can be selfish.”

This outing exemplified what the CLEAR program is all about, according to program organizers.

Three young women represent a community service-oriented program at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility.

Three young women represent a community service-oriented program at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility.