For young people in our community, a second chance can make a big difference. Through a grant awarded by the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, a new project will help extend those second chances to even more central Indiana youths in need of a helping hand.
Reach for Youth Inc. has been named the 2021 recipient of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation’s Community Empowerment Fund grant of $35,000. Reach for Youth will use the funds to pilot a Restorative Justice Circles model, which diverts young people from suspension, expulsion and the justice system by helping them understand the negative consequences of their actions, how they impact others and how to restore and repair relationships.
Reach for Youth, in collaboration with Warren Township Schools, will implement the best practice model of Restorative Justice Circles, developed by past IndyBar Foundation grant recipient Peace Learning Center. This model is designed to replace punitive forms of discipline for school violations such as fighting, truancy and drug use and instead bring together those affected by a violation to address the root causes of the incident, establish accountability and promote healing. Students will also be educated on the potential legal consequences of their behavior.
Indianapolis Bar Association members will play an integral part of this project as facilitators for Restorative Justice Circles, with training and support provided by Reach for Youth.
About the Indianapolis Bar Foundation & the Community Empowerment Fund Grant
The Community Empowerment Fund (originally known as the Impact Fund) began in 2011 as a vehicle to maximize the financial generosity of Indianapolis Bar Foundation donors and to provide members of the Indianapolis Bar Association with compelling opportunities to donate their time through pro bono service. Since its inception, more than $350,000 has been awarded through the fund to organizations like the Center for Victim and Human Rights, Kids’ Voice of Indiana, Indy Reads, Peace Learning Center, the Joseph Maley Foundation, Indiana Legal Services Inc., Reach for Youth, and the Health and Human Rights Clinic at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in an effort to provide a significant positive impact in central Indiana through the promotion of access to justice for indigent persons.
The Community Empowerment Fund is an important tool in the foundation’s efforts to fulfill its mission: to advance justice and lead positive change in Indianapolis through philanthropy, education and service. In addition to the Impact Fund, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation grants $105,000 each year to a variety of community service programs co-sponsored with the Indianapolis Bar Association.
About Reach for Youth
For more than 45 years, Reach For Youth Inc. has provided quality mental health and youth services programming to Central Indiana youth and their families. Reach for Youth’s mental health and clinical services address important issues that impact students, parents and families, such as managing depression, anxiety, trauma, academic and school success, sexual acting out behaviors and substance abuse.
Reach For Youth is also home to a nationally-recognized Teen Court program that brings juvenile offenders and trained youth volunteers together to provide a second chance to youthful offenders.•