We believe in "calling youth in" rather than "calling them out".
One Step A La Vez has a long history of being a safe space for youth involved in the juvenile justice system to explore their goals and strengths and learn about the power of their own voice. We know that when a youth exhibits extreme behavior it is often because they have experienced extreme trauma. We are fond of quoting Richard Rohr’s sage advice, “If you don't transform your suffering, you’ll transmit it.” We visit youth in the juvenile facility and build relationships there, so youth are more likely to visit the teen center when they are back home in their community
Youth who are referred to the ERC program by Probation or the community, benefit from all of the regular teen center programs such as mentoring, art classes, daily meals, field trips, free music lessons and job skills training in our silk screen shop. Additionally, youth enrolled in the ERC program are provided case management to help them meet the terms of their probation.
We provide assistance with signing up for court ordered classes, opportunities for community service hours as well as transportation to and from their probation and court appointments. The goal is for every youth to successfully complete their probation. Along the way this program also helps youth learn to socialize outside their regular peer group. They begin to build connections with supportive staff as well as make new friends.
We offer youth free counseling, Restorative Justice & Way of Council Circles, and Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) on site. MRT is an evidenced based program that helps youth see how their behavior affects themselves, their family and their community. It uses art, reflection and group accountability to give them a chance to become more self aware about their own patterns.
The ERC Program is made possible through a partnership with Ventura County Probation Agency because of their long standing juvenile justice reform work in collaboration with the Burns Institute and the YES Collaborative (Youth Equity & Success). One Step A La Vez joined the YES Collaborative because it works to address racial disparities in the Ventura County Juvenile Justice System and advocates for VCPA & state funding to be directed to community based organizations that help youth heal their wounds and wrongs in their community rather than in detention.
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