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.