Troubled teens in Georgia’s juvenile justice system might soon find new mentors in Macon’s faith community.
Volunteers are needed to create “stations of hope” for youths in Bibb County and nearby communities.
The Department of Juvenile Justice is inviting local churches and community organizations to be a positive influence in the lives of the young people and their families.
“Our commissioner, he’s very strong on mentoring,” said DJJ chaplain Danny Horne. “That process, it requires guidelines and an intense care about the young people and their families. The best place for that has been the faith community.”
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The department’s Faith and Community Alliance formed to strengthen the support of those already involved with juvenile offenders and recruit others.
The new alliance will hold its first Macon meeting Thursday from 10 a.m. until noon at the Buck Melton Community Center at 2015 Felton Ave.
Recent juvenile justice reforms spurred a renewed commitment to develop mentoring programs.
Another priority is to provide counseling and parenting classes for youth and their families.
The department also plans to provide additional character-building seminars inside the Regional Youth Development Center and adjacent Youth Development Center.
Ministers, community leaders and those interested in making a positive change in the lives of young people are urged to come to the meeting.
“This is a great hands-on opportunity to help develop effective strategies for increasing youth success and for creating safe communities where we live,” Keith Horton, assistant commissioner for Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice, said in a release.
All volunteers must go through a background check, be fingerprinted and complete training to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.
“So you’re aware of those particular concerns you need to be aware of working with young people,” Horne said. “This is yet another opportunity for the faith community to embrace their duty to care.”
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303 and follow her on Twitter