Restorative Justice and the Fresh Start & Harvest of Potential Program

This week we are thrilled to be hosting Rachel Pearl and Youth Representatives from the Restorative principles-based GREEN Corps Fresh Start programs in conjunction with the Clackamas County Juvenile Justice Department and other key partners. They are leveraging programs that combine youth empowerment with job skills in Green jobs and food production to reduce juvenile incarceration and recidivism successfully. Their approach not only saves thousands of dollars in the diversion of youth from sentencing and incarceration, but also gives them an opportunity to exemplify accountability and repayment of their offenses by putting their hands in the soil, literally. It's exciting to see the inclusion and connection of Green programs with Restorative Justice and I'm really excited to hear all about how the program got started, how it works, and how others can replicate it. Many agree that youth should not have a track record that tracks them endlessly and stigmatizes their chances to gain employment and establish successful lives that illuminate their own unique gift to the world. This is one big way to make that difference without losing the important values of accountability, restitution, and community safety.

A little bit more about Rachel Pearl:
Rachel Pearl is the Community Connections Coordinator for the Clackamas County Juvenile Department. Her current role is to develop, implement and coordinate a Restorative Community Service program for youth offenders. In her current role, Rachel is also the co- founder and Program Coordinator for GREEN Corps Fresh Start, an urban horticulture and small business training program for youth in the Juvenile Justice system. GREEN Corps allows youth an opportunity to pay restitution to victims while also developing skills in the areas of farming, food and customer service, bicycle repair and forestry while assisting in the business aspects of the program. GREEN Corps is a social enterprise model within a restorative framework with youth working three Farmer's Markets a week in addition to other business ventures. Rachel formerly developed Strength Based programming for youth transitioning back into the community in Portland, Oregon. Prior to this she coordinated a sexual assault and domestic violence prevention program for Incarcerated youth in California. She has over 15 years of experience working with youth offenders. Her experience includes program development and management, direct client services, group facilitation and case management.

For more information and a one-pager PDF description with images: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/clackamas/sites/default/files/green_corps_2012_volunteer_descriptions.pdf

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