This past fall, Washington state's Snohomish County juvenile court system ran a pilot project called Promising Artists in Recovery (PAIR), modeled after Reclaiming Futures. The program connected teens in the county's juvenile justice system with local artists who shared their craft and mentored the youth.
The Herald has a terrific feature story on PAIR, Reclaiming Futures and the teens and mentors who participated. Check out this video on the pilot:
The piece really gets to the importance of standardized care and community involvement in helping and mentoring struggling teens. From the article:
[Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss] said he hopes to engage others in the community as mentors. There are kids interested in music and building cars. There are adults with those skills who could have a great impact in the lives of these children, Weiss said.
He recently signed up to be a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. The program agreed to find mentors for 10 kids in the drug court. In return, Weiss agreed to recruit volunteers for the whole program.
If kids are connected to positive adult relationships, they will be pulled forward to success, [Dr. Laura Nissen, Reclaiming Futures founder] said. That also means reaching out to their families.
"People are the biggest strengths here," Nissen said. "Our communities are full of resources, not just problems."
Mindy Hardwick (one of the creative writers and poets who participated in the program) recently shared her experience as an artist mentor on this blog. Through art and creative writing, she has been helping teens start over with a clean slate while learning from their previous mistakes.
To learn more about Reclaiming Futures in Snohomish County, call Dawn Williams at (425) 388-7813.
Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley. She tweets at @LizSF.
Updated: February 08 2018