A group of volunteers is helping young people improve communication skills and build better family relationships in Juvenile Court in Kenton, Ohio. We are mentors, recruited by Reclaiming Futures Hardin County.
For the past year, scrapbooking workshops have provided a conversation-starter for the families of our court-involved young people. On Thursday evenings, mothers and children gather and assemble "Life Books" that help them tell their personal stories. Families open up and get to know one another better. The results have been amazing!
Not all of the topics are serious. We ask participants to document their favorite TV shows and foods. We give everyone artistic freedom to design Life Books to their taste, with plenty of embellishments. Two more serious questions that form the basis of a Life Book are:
“One of your fondest childhood memories was…”
“One event that had a traumatic effect on your life was…”
The majority of parents have no problem thinking of a traumatic event, but few can think of a happy memory in their past. It is difficult for young people to hear this about their parents, but it also helps them understand their parents' vulnerability.
Scrapbooking has helped us develop a trust with our court-involved youth, making it easier to discuss topics of concern. Some of our participants are young parents themselves; it's twice as important to talk with them about responsibility and parenting.
We enjoy helping these families get to know one another. Ultimately we’d like the scrapbooking class to be just one of many happy family memories.
Cindy Beverly is administrative assistant and deputy clerk for the Hardin County Common Pleas Court, Probate Division. She has worked for Hardin County for 18 years and works closely with Judge James A. Rapp, judicial fellow for Reclaiming Futures Hardin County. Cindy graduated from Kenton High School with honors; her faith has motivated her to learn more about art therapy and help kids. In addition to scrapbooking, Cindy enjoys reading and exploring nature.
Updated: March 21 2018