April 21, 2010

April 18 to 24 has been proclaimed as National Volunteer Week. The Multnomah County Department of Community Justice (DCJ) recognizes the efforts of volunteers and community partners to support and enhance services to youth and adults in the community justice system. “DCJ has over 180 volunteers who have worked over 16,000 hours this past year volunteering across the department in various units, states Autumn Ray, volunteer coordinator.”

DCJ recently received $100,000 of grant funding through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention from the Oregon Commission on Children and Families to implement the Gang Resource Intervention Team Mentor Program (GRIT). The goal of the program is to meet the needs of high-risk adjudicated African American males ages 12-18. The youth will be engaged in educational and employment enrichment activities, cultural learning, recreational activities, and community service. The GRIT program will utilize an indigenous model, better known as the “Rights of Passage."

Research shows that mentoring can go a long way in promoting positive youth development. The GRIT Mentor Program is one program which could benefit youth by establishing mentor relationships and assisting them in developing the necessary skills to be productive citizens.

“Our community cannot afford to sit idly by and witness another young African American male’s life wasted”, says Lynn Mangum, Mentorship Program coordinator. “Now is the time for African American men in this community to step up, answer the call and become a mentor and role model for these high-risk African American males.”

To learn how you can become a mentor, contact Lynn Mangum, at 503-988-3978 x229.

Press Release