Events to be an opportunity for healing and reconciliation
Across the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), activities commemorating National Victim’s Rights Awareness Week, April 18-24, allowed youth to participate in restorative justice and raise funds for victims.
A Buffalo Wild Wings fundraiser held at the DJJ Northern California Youth Correctional Facility complex in Stockton netted more than $4,000. The funds will be donated to various community and victims’ rights groups in San Joaquin County.
The Women’s Center of Stockton will receive $1000 while Victims of Violent Crimes of San Joaquin County will get $1,000. An additional $500 will go to the Angel Fund program, which serves single mothers and victims of domestic abuse. The remaining money will be held in a victims account for holiday giving.
The N.A. Chaderjian Student Council created a tee shirt that represents the struggle COVID-19 had placed on the educational system. They met their goal and sold 50 shirts to facility staff and teachers in 30 days, under the direction of Dr. Jay Gibbs, who oversees the student council.
With the proceeds, they made a $500 donation to Haven of Peace, a shelter assisting women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Chad’s Victims coordinator, Violet Borrego, matched the education department’s donation with another $500 that had been raised by selling Buffalo Wild Wings to the youth.
DJJ youth help victims
At Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp in Amador County, youth held a fundraiser with $4,000 split between Operation Care Amador County and the Center for Non-Violent Communities in Tuolumne County.
The Northern California Youth Correctional Complex in Stockton also held an art, essay and poetry contest. Additionally, youth participated in a clean-up and refresh of the Victims’ Garden.
At Ventura Youth Correctional Facility in Camarillo, activities allowed youth to pay their respects to their victims. This included poster board art, and a fundraiser that netted $600 for victim support organizations.
Youth used art and writing to process the pain and suffering of victims of crime and to take time to empathize with their plight. One youth wrote, “When I read the victim empathy exercise, it surprised me because I had done something like that, and I regret it now because I could see it on paper. Now I wonder what my victim was going through while lying in a hospital bed. I sometimes have chills when I think about it.”