FYI Reaches Out to Juveniles in Clark County Detention Center
When COVID-19 hit Ohio, juveniles in the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) were cut off from visitors. Those visitors included FYI mentors who were visiting in The Mentoring Program’s first year at the JDC.
FYI immediately worked on a plan to continue reaching these juveniles with the critical life coaching they were receiving and so desperately needed. The Mentoring Program Director Julie Driskill has continued training a group of teen girls through Skype, preserving all-important continuity in the initiative.
“Life is full of challenges, and we help them map out a plan to overcome them,” Driskill said. “It touches on the idea of forgiveness, but you can’t move forward until you acknowledge the curves and breakdowns of the past. The end result is they can take suffering and misfortune and turn it into something positive.”
The impact, despite the sometimes-awkward video conferencing format, has been life-changing ... even for Driskill. It is all accomplished in just an hour per week because of current JDC staff furloughs.
“The significance of talking to those girls about forgiveness is just unbelievable,” she said. “It took my breath away. They are plotting and making timelines of their life, and the irony of that did not disappear for me.”
FYI is using the program called “Storyline” by Donald Miller, who wrote the powerful book Blue Like Jazz. The curriculum helps students understand personal development using a unique approach.
“It follows the same process you would take to make a movie, and he (Miller) would take it and help them to make a plot out of their life,” said Julie. “What role do you play?”
Julie also uses inspiring video clips often and distributes materials in advance. A corrections officer on the inside sets up the meeting, and oftentimes helps. Sometimes the group will even play a game of Candyland or some other simple childhood game. “Think of a time when you were little and everything was perfect, but you get a gumdrop card and have to move backwards,” Driskill will tell them.
“I spend a lot of time getting kids to think about their dreams,” Driskill added. “Would people want to come and see your movie?”
Driskill shared that many of the students’ “movies” are full of drama and twists. The encouragement she gives is that it’s never too late to rewrite their story and it has sunk into many hearts … in less than a year of the program.
“I feel that the whole reason I was put there is for this moment,” Driskill said. “You have to find a way to forgive other people and yourself. It’s powerful!”
For more information on this program or to find out how you can volunteer, visit https://www.fyiohio.org/mentoring-program, call the office at (937) 845-0403 or email Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pat at email@example.com.