When young people have been involved with the juvenile or adult justice system before they’ve even turned 20, they need help to get their lives back on track.
That’s why Future Foundation has joined with Stand Inc., Youth Connections, and community partners to provide the Reentry Enhanced Services & Training Optimizing Restorative Experiences (R.E.S.T.O.R.E.) Project in the Atlanta area. The R.E.S.T.O.R.E. project’s goal is to enable participants to overcome challenges in life and become positive, healthy and fully participating members of society by helping them get back in school, master a trade or learn basic life skills. It’s designed for Fulton County youth ages 16 to 20 who are now or have recently been involved with the juvenile or adult justice system.
R.E.S.T.O.R.E. is based upon the Positive Pathways approach, which includes workforce development, education and training, coaching/case management, mentoring, life skills, restorative justice projects, and community wide efforts to reduce crime and violence. At Future Foundation, we’re committed to helping 100 youth annually, for a full year on at least a weekly basis. “It’s all about giving them a second chance,” says Nikki Thornton, Project RESTORE’s program manager. “We empower our youth to want to make a difference and restore them to be productive citizens.” Nikki adds that of the five cities where the program has been implemented, the Atlanta program spearheaded by Future Foundation has the highest employment rate. “We’re like a GPS for these kids—their life navigator here to help them achieve their goals,” she says.
R.E.S.T.O.R.E. was developed due to the overwhelming amount of youth impacted by the justice system that we were unable to service in a traditional after school setting.
Acknowledging that there’s a lot more to getting an education than reading, writing, and arithmetic, Future Foundation’s Reef House and Reef Teen Center are devoted to introducing students to subjects they might not experience at school or home. Our enrichment programs allow students to participate in everything from creative arts, cooking and dance classes to college tours and vocational skills career training.
We provide enrichments to two groups of students: 5th-7th graders and 8th-12th graders.
The younger students can take part in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction, learn 3D animation, make movies, learn dance moves, discover how to cook, and participate in 4H activities.
In addition to dance, culinary arts, 4H, and creative arts classes, the older students can take advantage of high school prep (for 8th graders) and college and career prep.
Both age groups also receive instruction in fitness and nutrition, and can take part in organized physical activities.
Enriching the lives of students with opportunities for academic achievement; physical, performing and visual arts activity; and positive youth development is not only a fundamental part of our mission-it’s also one of the most important things we do.
Giving a Boost at Banneker
Like all high schools, Benjamin Banneker High in College Park is always looking for ways to help its students achieve academic success with limited resources. That’s why Future Foundation is bringing a variety of workshops and assemblies focused on academic success to the school.
Our relationship with Banneker is an example of a new education model called partnerships for learning. “In this model, educators are bringing together key players who provide a range of services to support learning, including families, school administrators, community-based organizations, health care providers, governmental agencies, and other institutions,” says Shaunae Motley, Future Foundation’s chief operating officer. “These diverse partners work together to support children’s development and reduce barriers to their overall success. This is where Future Foundation can really contribute.”
Otha William facilitating a discussion on college budgeting.
As a result, Banneker is the host of our College 4 Careers program, where we expose the entire 11th grade class of some 300 students in an assembly style setting to college and career discussions. That’s in addition to our after-school college career workshops, which works with some 45 students who are interested in one-on-one support with college essays and resume development etc. “Our college and career assemblies include speakers, college students and professionals who tell the students about the importance of graduating and about career and college options,” explains Brandon Woodard, program manager.
We also provide our RealTalk ATL program-which is focused on making healthy choices-to more than 100 of Banneker’s 10th graders. RealTalk sparks conversations with youth regarding sex, love, dating and relationships. Our innovative approach engages with interactive lessons, stories, facts, videos and games. The Banneker partnership is an excellent example of how Future Foundation supports the in-school, after-school and at-home environments of the youth we serve. Please contact us at [email protected] if you’re interested in leading a career or college discussion.