Writer before anything else – I include that as a regular portion of my introduction. I write often, and I aspire to share the power of words with college students, too. I intend to teach (and continue to learn) how to use creative nonfiction as a way to advocate for social justice for all, especially underrepresented and underprivileged communities. I believe in teaching beyond books and with experience. To gain that, I spend time (the last four years so far) serving the communities I live in through work with nonprofits.
During the fall of 2019, I am serving Iowa’s youth as a Future Leaders in Action (FLIA) Community Resource Fellow with the Iowa Department of Human Rights (DHR). My work lives in the Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning (CJJP). With two large projects to complete in the next 12 weeks, I plan to live full days – days full of learning, practicing, listening, asking, reading, and, my favorite, writing. The projects confront the lack of resources and requirements in the juvenile justice system that truly help youth.
First, I will assist in the planning, writing, and publication of a final report regarding reentry and recidivism rates. This report looks at policy and practice changes in group care and detention facilities in Iowa during the last five years. How did these affect the percentage of youth who were rearrested? How did these affect youth as they left group care or detention and reentered family living or started independent living? The publication of this report shares crucial information with local, state, and federal entities.
Second, I will continue the outreach and development of an online, statewide Service Inventory. Services for those in the juvenile justice system matter. This project will share what is available to youth in each judicial district. It also helps find gaps. What is missing? Are we providing services for LGBTQ+ youth, or refugee youth, or immigrant youth? Are we providing job skills, individual and/or family therapy? Are we helping our youth grow into better selves?
I expect – and desire – to learn so much. I also anticipate gaining project management skills, new style sets for writing, and outreach development across the state.
Until my final fellowship day (December 13), I will ask you to support Future Leaders in Action and the changes we owe our youth. Why we? The kids in the juvenile justice system are kids that we know, kids that we see ourselves in, and kids that we see futures for. We are all affected by what the system lacks. We all can improve it.
Please consider donating, sharing this page to those who can, or mentioning our Venmo account to friends: @futureleadersinaction (include my name in the description).
I appreciate your time and support – thank you for giving it to the kids with me!
|Kim Gard||11/08/2019||$36.24||Happy Birthday Lacee. Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of youth.||Tammi Blackstone||11/04/2019||$20.00||David Kuker||11/04/2019||$20.00||Diana Cimino||10/31/2019||$51.64||you are made of awesome.||Anonymous Friend||10/30/2019||$100.00|