RISE Court, or Restorative Intervention To Support and Empower youth, a juvenile drug treatment court, officially starts on Oct. 17 but its staff needs some help from the community to get things off the ground and running.
Grayson County Assistant Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Greg Sumpter said they will have two different volunteer opportunities for the community. The first of which is RISE Youth Justice Circles. The second of which is called Justuce League.
Grayson County Commissioners recently approved the launching of the program.
Sumpter said there will be an informational session for the two volunteer groups from 9-11 a.m. on Nov. 2 at Grayson College’s Center for Workplace Learning.
“A light breakfast snack will be available. This will be part information session/ part training,” Sumpter said. He said there will be a brief orientation on abuse, neglect, exploitation reporting duties and then there will be training on confidentiality and training on building dynamic relationships with teens and setting boundaries. There will also be a question and answer period for RISE Youth Circles and the Justus League. The session will be limited to 100 people so those who are interested should use the following link to sign up: https://riseandjustus.eventbrite.com.
The Youth Justice Circles program will ask two or three volunteers to partner with each particular youth during his or her six to nine months in the program.
“We plan to have between 8 and 12 youth in the program at any given time,” Sumpter said.
The pamphlet that the has been put together about the Youth Justice Circle says to be a participant requires only a minimum of two hours each month. That includes one monthly circle meeting and then one additional individual contact with a youth per month. That is, however, meant to be a minimum and is not meant to limit the amount of contact a volunteer might have with a youth.
“We Anticipate that there are individuals that would like to volunteer on their own terms or for special events—so feel free to let us know what you might be willing to offer,” the pamphlet says.
To become a member, one needs to fill out an application, attend some additional training and then pass a background check.
The other opportunity, Sumpter said, is called the Justus League and will be less time intensive. “We are asking individuals who aren’t able to invest a longer time frame to invest of the time and with the skills that they do have in some way,” he explained. That might mean a one-time investment of money, talents, or resources. He said it might be an instance where the needs of a youth in the program or their family has a need that matches with some particular talent or resource the volunteer has.
The pamphlet for the Justuce League says, ” It is not JUST officers, teachers, or parents that build up young people. It is the friends, family, community, and random supportive strangers that get added to the mix. Whether it is through donations, helping in a particular time of need, or JUST words of encouragement and support – it is the JUST US League that brings it all together.”
In order to become a Justus volunteer, one would need to fill out an application, participate in some additional training and pass a complete background check. See the link above to reserve a space in the informational session about the program.