October 6, 2015

Youth Connect

YOU CAN CHANGE A LIFE!

Often it takes only one caring person or one act of kindness to help a young person change their direction in life from a destructive path to a positive path.  You and/or your organization can make the difference by participating in the Youth Connect Program.

What is Youth Connect?

Judges are often faced with sentencing youth who have made wrong choices but who are youth the Judges believe are not “hardened” and would benefit from meaningful activity as opposed to jail or juvenile hall. Youth Connect is a program that was envisioned and approved by a Riverside County Juvenile Court Judge.  Judges now have a sentencing option to help promising youth between the ages of 13-19 to redirect their perspective and their futures.

Youth participating in the Youth Connect Program will be assigned to do volunteer work in the community and will attend employment focused workshops for a set number of hours determined by the Judge. Their success will be reported back to the Judge and will affect the outcome of their Court involvement.

How can you and your organization help?

You can help by:

  • Providing a placement site for the youth to volunteer.
  • Being a guest speaker at one of the workshops talking about employment seeking activities such as types of jobs available in your field of work, resume writing or interviewing skills or as a motivational speaker sharing “overcoming challenges” or “changing life direction” experiences.

How does my organization become a placement site?

One of our Youth Connect staff will meet with you to go over complete details and the required paperwork.  Basically you organization will be asked to:

  • Complete a job description describing what a youth volunteer would be doing.
  • Meet with the youth when a youth is assigned to your agency.  Explain the work responsibilities and procedures to the youth.  The meeting would also be an opportunity to make the youth feel welcome.
  • Provide supervision to the youth while working.
  • Track the number of hours worked by the youth on the provided time sheets and return the completed time sheets to the Youth Connect Program.
  • Provide youth with a reference or thank you letter when the youth’s assignment is satisfactorily completed.

What if my organization cannot allow the youth to perform any of our organization’s job duties due to skill level, liability, confidentiality, or other issues?

In the job description, you may state any requirements or restrictions.  Even if a youth may not be able to perform exact job functions just being with caring professionals in an environment where the youth can do supportive functions such as janitorial work will benefit the youth especially if the staff allows the youth observation time for various job positions and/or conversations about the various jobs. For example, a youth may be assigned to do janitor work at a garage but certainly could not work on vehicles but could be allowed to observe a mechanic fixing a vehicle or have a discussion with a mechanic about the requirements to become a mechanic, pay ranges, etc.

A youth could shadow organization staff instead of actually performing job functions. The Youth Connect Program would then require the youth to report on what they had learned.

How long will a youth be assigned to our organization?

 The time will vary according to their court order from the Judge.  Time will range between 30-90 hours and the time period to complete the hours will also vary depending on the number of hours.

What if the youth isn’t a “match” for us?

 Youth Connect will simply cancel the youth’s placement with your organization and assign another youth to your organization.

For more information or to meet with a Youth Connect staff please contact:

 Leticia Plasencia
(951) 329-4734
Leticia@connectriverside.org