On September 14, 2017, the Youth Justice sector of BRIDGES USA met with the nine-incarcerated youth apart of the third cohort of Incarcerate Youth Speaking Out for Change out of Jail East for the third session. During the ninety-minute session, the groups agenda was a continuation of last week’s where they were to dive even further into their life’s story and continue their reflection into their own insight and knowledge in order to articulate recommendations for systemic change.
Each session always begins with a check-in, where each person can share their current state of being and they’re reminded of the goal of the program.
After this, the group was to share a summation of their written life story with everyone. This was to be followed by a group discussion over recommendations which would ultimately lead to a potential change model.
Only one person had their life story finished and shared with the group. The sharing of his life story led to a conversation about the value and importance of mentorship. The students unanimously agreed that having an active mentor in their life could have possibly changed the path which their lives have trekked – and not simply “someone that would tell [them] what to do and push [them] around.”
The youth’s critical assessment of the different factors which would have changed their lives, and could possibly change others, is a good sign of a start to potential change models – which is a unique list of recommendations created by the youth through the reflection of their own insights and knowledge of their community and the jail system alongside their knowledge about the history of systemic factors that have influenced their current life’s path which they will be informed of in future sessions.