On January 11, 2018 the Youth Justice Sector at BRIDGES USA opened the new year with their first session with the 3rd cohort out of Jail East. This session began with the introduction of AmeriCorps Service Member, Jasmine, being introduced as she would help facilitate on this day.
After the check-in where 4 youth were counted present, Mahal, Evan and Jasmine began the session with an energizer to lift everyone’s spirits. In this energizer, everyone wrote 5 random facts about themselves and then raced to see who could find others who had those facts in common with them.
Following an overview of the day’s agenda and the program’s overarching goals, the youth continued the 500 Mentorship Program Activity, where the youth learn about different mentoring programs from around the country and ranking these programs based on how effective they think they are. This is an important part of the program as it provides the youth with a foundation of understanding that will eventually contribute to their construction of a Change Model of their own that revolves around community mentorship.
The group ended this session with a viewing and a reflection over The Interrupters, a film that follows three former street criminals from Chicago in their attempts to lessen violence within their communities. This is a part of the program where the youth is immersed in the historical and social context of their incarceration, in attempts to further their insights of their situation and to add to the value of their soon-to-be proposed Change Model.