Keeping HOPE in the Time of COVID-19
As of March 23, 2020, HOPE mentoring sessions have been indefinitely suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the need for physical distancing to reduce infection from COVID-19, the three hundred seventy-two youths already separated from their families and community will now experience further isolation. While youth at all facilities will continue to attend school and while the correctional facility staff is doing all they can to care for the youth under their custody, youth can no longer get visits from their families and mentors.
Boredom, frustration, irritability are normal and common reactions to the sudden shelter at home order forced upon everyone by the pandemic. Research shows that prolonged isolation can lead to heightened levels of anger, anxiety, depression, and suicide (Brooks, Webster, Smith, Woodland, Wessely, Greenberg, & Rubin, 2020). Now, more than ever, youth in correctional custody need our love and attention to protect against the negative outcomes of prolonged isolation. We are physically separated but we have to stay connected at heart.
That's why we're launching our #keepinghope campaign.
Despite the distance, mentors will stay socially connected with their mentees for the duration of this crisis through old-school written cards. The HOPE Leadership team will deliver weekly cards to Logansport, LaPorte, and Pendleton juvenile facilities.
Keep an eye on this website to follow the #keepingHOPE campaign.
If you are interested in joining our writing campaign to help these youth feel connected to the world outside their correctional facility and to thank the IDOC personnel for their work with incarcerated youth, please submit a letter below! You can also submit questions, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Click here to email).
Here's what your letter
will look like!
Qualified undergraduate students who are passionate about making a difference in young peoples’ lives, through mentoring students in juvenile correctional facilities in the state of Indiana.
WHAT DO WE DO?
HOPE Mentoring pairs incarcerated juveniles with college mentors who will support the student in their efforts to avoid recidivism by obtaining and maintaining employment.
The current recidivism rate for youth in Indiana is around 33% largely because of an absence of support and services for youth as they return to their communities after incarceration. One promising way to combat this issue is mentoring, a research-backed method to reduce juvenile crime rates and reduce re-offending.
Mentors first receive training from qualified professionals to ensure volunteer readiness. Then, through weekly meetings, mentors help their mentees look for employment or educational opportunities, explore different paths for their future, and provide positive, encouraging role-models who will work to instill a sense of hope in their mentees. HOPE mentors start their work beginning in the correctional facility, following mentees out into their communities upon release.
Our aim is to lower recidivism rates and empower juveniles by giving them the skills they need to obtain employment and stay out of the correctional system.
Help empower the youth in our Indiana communities, and gain invaluable personal experience as a student and future employee, by getting involved today.