Mesa County Partners
Many young people get into trouble because they lack the experience coping with problems and pressures that exist in their lives at home, in school, and in the community. PARTNERS believes that a one to one relationship with a successfully coping adult can help a young person learn skills that will improve his/her adjustment to societal expectations. PARTNERS believes in holding youth accountable for their actions while supporting them and teaching them new skills. Our goal is to help young people become independent and productive members of society.
Partners is part of a national association that began in Denver in 1968. Initially PARTNERS focused solely on juvenile offenders. Today there are 6 PARTNERS affiliates throughout Colorado that works with a wide range of youth who are in need of friends, advocates, and positive role models in their lives.
For more information about the Partners Mentoring Association and our other Colorado Affiliates, Visit: http://www.partnersmentoringassociation.org/
Mesa County PARTNERS was formed in August of 1977 when a group of business leaders, agency representatives, and private individuals met to discuss the rising crime rate among youth in Mesa County. This group decided to invite PARTNERS into Mesa County because other PARTNERS programs had successfully curbed crime among youths.
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” – Nelson Henderson
In 2012, 50 new partnerships were matched and a total of 132 partnerships were active. There is a strong return on investment when it comes to mentoring. It costs the Partners Program $1,700 per year for each partnership served. However, the return on the benefit is $7,426 per child based on reductions in crime, truancy, and substance abuse and enhancements in school achievement and future lifetime earnings for the child. (From Social Return on Investment in Youth Mentoring Programs, University of Minnesota, 2007).
The Purpose of the mentoring program:
• Provide positive adult role model to youth
• Establish communication, trust and respect
• Raise the child’s self esteem and outlook on life
The Partners Organization Provides:
• Staff support and monthly contact
• Free or low cost activities and life skills workshops two times a month
• Senior Partner training
• Monthly newsletters
The task of an adult mentor, (21 years of age and older) is not an easy one but 3 hours of volunteering a week could mean a lifetime of difference to a child in need of guidance. The first step in becoming a Partners Mentor is basically effortless. Simply attend a Partners’ sponsored orientation, which is noncommittal. During this session, it can be determined if the program will work for you.
Restitution/Community Service Work Program
The Partners Work Program helps youth who are court-ordered to perform community service hours and/or to pay restitution, which are any monetary damages owed to the crime victim.
•1070 juvenile offenders completed 25,496 hours of community service work in 2012.
• Juvenile offenders are referred to the Youth Accountability Program of the District Attorney’s Office, Municipal Courts, County Court, District Court and Division of Youth Corrections
• Restitution may be converted to a number of hours that the youth works, which in turn the program uses funds to pay to the courts for the monetary obligations. Consequently, crime victims receive money owed to them much more efficiently
• The general public and community businesses can ‘hire’ work crews to do a variety of clean-up and yard work. The money raised is used to help pay back crime victims
• In addition to satisfying court-ordered obligations, the work program also provides educational classes and instills work ethics, accountability and responsibility for their actions
• In 2012, $130,300 of restitution was paid back to crime victims in Mesa County
• 87% of the juvenile offenders, who are referred by the court system to the Partners Work Program, successfully complete the Program
”I was really surprised when my business received a check from the Partners program. I could not figure out what it was for. So I called Partners and found out that the 13 year old juvenile who had started a fire at my business actually worked to pay off over $4,000 for the damages done.” R. M. Business Owner.
Victim Empathy/Victim-Offender Mediation Program
The Victim Empathy classes are an eight hour program that is designed to educate delinquent youth on what crime victim’s experience. Over 200 juveniles participated in 2010.
• The class is facilitated through a curriculum, videos and hands-on activities and is usually court-ordered. Parent referrals are taken for this class, as well. The cost is $80.00 for the eight hour program
• The Victim/Offender Mediation Program entails a process which facilitates a face-to-face meeting between the offender and the victim of a crime
• The goals of the Mediation Program are to educate the juvenile offender on the impacts of their crime on individuals as well as the community. This program gives crime victims a voice within the justice system
• The Mediation process is completed either as a face-to-face meeting between the offender, victim and a trained mediator, or as a circle involving the offender, victim, mediator and a variety of community representatives
• There is no cost to the Mediation Program
Minor In Possession Classes
The purpose of this program is to provide instruction on alcohol/drug education for those youth who have been arrested for ‘minors in possession’ or ‘minors in consumption’ of alcohol and other drugs. The Minor in Possession Classes are conducted by Partners in cooperation with the District Attorney’s Office, Mesa Co Sheriff’s Office (Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws and Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grants), local Municipal Courts and Mesa Co. Combined Courts. Over 200 juveniles participated in 2010.
The curriculum involves eight hours of class instruction, conducted in four consecutive sessions and covers the following:
• Legal implications of the offense
• Effects of alcohol/drugs on the body systems. How addiction works
• Special emphasis on damage inflicted on the brain during the crucial maturation phase. Brain scan studies confirming damaging effects on memory and learning – both short and long term
• Obvious dangers of drinking and driving as a driver or passenger. Implications of a DUI offense
• Warning signs of eventual dependency/addiction. Shows how a person can progress from casual use to alcohol dependency. Teens are four to five times more vulnerable with early usage. Evidence of alcohol and marijuana being the gateway drugs, is stressed
• Binge drinking. Dangerous elevation of the BAC with binge drinking. Warning signs of alcohol poisoning and emergency steps to be taken
• Exit papers filled out at the end of the course show that class participants leave with a better understanding of alcohol and drugs and are able to make better decisions
Exercise to develop effective decision making skills
“In the future I plan to make smarter decisions when it comes to things that can affect my safety. I will choose my friends more wisely and stay away from people making bad decisions.” C. S., 15 year old female
“What I learned in this class is that I am on the verge of becoming like my parents (alcoholic). But I didn’t know how I got into this class and now I know how I can differ from them. I have changed. I have stopped drinking and doing drugs. I have been doing better with my life.” U. Y. 15 year old female
“The MIP classes were helpful. I learned a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. I (myself) have seen what drugs can do to people in my own family. I now know the health risks that are involved in my actions.” M.D. 17 year old male
“I enjoyed having the police officer come and speak with us and asking him questions. The classes gave a lot of good information but you can’t change anybody but yourself and no one can change unless they want to. And until you do that, there is no overcoming the addiction”. S. D. 16 year female.
After School Program
The after school program operates at Rocky Mountain Elementary and Clifton Elementary this is set up through the Century 21 grant. There are around 90 students enrolled in the program within Rocky Mountain and Clifton. The kids participate in teamwork activities that are skill building and cooperative. Partners staff help with tutoring and homework with the kids. The program also offers fun, exciting experiments and activities which allow the children to interact with each other in a different socialized setting.
· The summer program operates at Rocky Mountain Elementary, Clifton Elementary and Mt. Garfield. There is over 200 kids enrolled it the summer programs. The program offers, tutoring, activities, art, and gym. There are 18 positions at the three different; several of the staff works at more than one school.
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