(WKBN) — In this edition of our In-Depth segment, WKBN Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford spoke with Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown Jim Byrd about a potential program combining the Boys and Girls Club with Juvenile Justice.
“One of the things that we recently are actually working out right now is opening a club experience in the Juvenile Justice Center in Youngstown. It would be the first in the state of Ohio and the reason for that would be to to get youth who when they leave that sort of setting, that maybe punitive or justice setting, would have a relationship with the Boys and Girls Club of what we do, how we do it, and they would know that they’re a part of it,” said Byrd.
What would Byrd’s description be of a relationship with Boys and Girls Club? What happens at Boys and Girls Club that would be so impacting?
“Well, I think it would be eye-opening that there is something that not only that you can do, but it can give you an eye towards something that you can become. And what do I mean by that? In our program, we have what’s called Power Hour, where kids after school come to our program and they work on their schoolwork. You know, that we say this is a focus. This is something that you have to do that you must do. We’re not tutors, we’re not teachers. But we say, you know, we need to spend time on this. Then we focus on other areas of their life and in their growing workforce development. On being a man, being a woman, being a citizen and what that means,” said Byrd.
What’s the age range that Byrd will be addressing in the juvenile facility? Is it the same as the facility on Oak Hill?
“Well, it’ll be part of the same. The juvenile justice system are our club welcomes children from the age of five, 6 to 18. The Juvenile Justice Center has a particular age that they have, which fits within our model that we can work with them,” said Byrd.
Byrd said they will focus on a particular age group.
What would be the daily activities or offerings that would be brought to the Justice Center?
“Nearly the same as the club? And the reason for that is that it would offer good integration when someone leaves and that they know what to expect when they come through. What we see, when they come through our blue doors, they know what to expect, but also to develop a relationship with the YDPs, as we call them, the youth development professionals. So just there we would have a unit director or program director. And at least two, maybe three youth development professionals. They would then develop a relationship with them and get to know them. That then helps in that transition,” said Byrd.
When Crawford returns Wednesday, she will talk to Byrd about this program and how they plan to actually integrate the youth into the program.