To rehabilitate juvenile offenders and reduce future acts of delinquency, Lawrence County Juvenile Court Judge Angela Terry is finding creative and cost-effective ways to meet the needs of all children in the county.
In conjunction with the Children’s Policy Council, Juvenile Court has partnered with Lions Clubs International to add Lions Quest, the research-supported social and emotional learning program of Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), as a resource to improve the lives of those on juvenile probation.
“My juvenile probation officers and I are thrilled with this new program and to partner with the Lions Club again,” Judge Terry commented when asked about the new resource to those before her. “Miners today are exposed to so many bad influences. We hope this will bring many new role models into their lives.
“I’m proud to say that without hesitation everyone I mentioned this to said they would help in some way. I expect the combination of this world-class hardware and local Lawrence counties willing to donate their time will make Lawrence County a pilot county within the state, if not beyond.
More than 700,000 children are apprehended and processed through juvenile justice systems each year in the United States
According to the Office on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), programs that teach social skills are effective in reducing crime and delinquency by preventing general antisocial behavior, aggression, delinquency, oppositional behavior and disruptive and general antisocial behavior.
“Many young people who are involved in the juvenile justice system have a history of negative childhood experiences or traumas that can lead to long-term complications with mental and physical health,” said Kimberly Haynes, program development and evaluation for the Lions Quest program.
“Studies have shown that delivering high-quality social and emotional learning programs through a network that provides additional support services can have a significant impact on their future behaviors and overall life expectancy,” Haynes said.
Local attorney Jerome Thompson, former international director of Lions Club International, helps introduce Lions Quest to the county.
“Working together, we can use Lions Quest to give youth on probation a fresh start by introducing them to the skills needed to improve self-esteem, build healthy interpersonal relationships, promote better decision-making, and create empowerment. awareness of the impact that drugs and alcohol have on our community,” said Thompson.
“LCIF and Lions Quest are thrilled to support this initiative that provides evidence-based programs to at-risk youth,” said Mathew Kiefer, Lions Quest Program Manager (LCIF, Oakbrook, IL). “Lions are uniquely positioned to serve as a catalyst to bring the community together through the Lions Quest program while improving access to the local support services they need to realize the long-term benefits associated with social and emotional learning. .
“The Lawrence County Children’s Policy Council (LCCPC) welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Lions Club and the Juvenile Court to bring Lions Quest to young people who appear in the juvenile justice system,” commented Jerry Armour, director of the LCCPC. “The information presented and the positive influence of the participating mentors will help prepare these young people for the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Judge Terry will identify 16 community leaders to receive Lions Quest training and access materials online, at no cost to the juvenile court. One of the signature elements of Lions Quest is service-learning, which is a way to help young offenders reintegrate into society by involving them directly in the selection and planning of projects that benefit others and the community. community.
Over the next year, the initiative will provide free Lions Quest training, program support and materials to more than 200 young people who will appear before Judge Terry. The goal is to provide these children with the skills to be more successful, move forward, and ensure that the past does not define the future for those who stand before Judge Terry.
“The Children’s Policy Council and the Lions Club have worked together on several other projects to benefit young people in our county. The Lions Club’s desire to help our children is well documented. This innovative program has the potential to be their best work yet,” Armor said.
“This is another example of the service provided by the Moulton Lions Club since its inception in 1943,” said Moulton Lions Club President Judy Ramos. “Lions Quest will have a huge impact on families in Lawrence County.”
“The Lions Club International Foundation has approved a grant for the Lions Club of Moulton to help cover the cost of implementing the program and providing access to the program for the next five years,” said Thompson.
Lawrence County Children’s Policy Council will hold its quarterly meeting March 22 at the Moulton Church of Christ at noon. Jerome Thompson will introduce the Lions Quest program to all attendees. In addition, Lions Clubs International Foundation staff will be on hand to announce the awarding of the grant to implement the program.