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ORV Group Helps Launch Pilot Mentor Program

A collaborative effort between the Ohio River Valley (ORV) District's social justice group, Come to the Table, All In Community, the Cincinnati Adult Parole Authority (APA), and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) is underway to develop innovative approaches to reducing recidivism among high-risk 18-24 year-old young adults on parole.

The Cincinnati APA is one of four sites across Ohio that is piloting the Justice Involved Young Adults (JIYA) Bureau of Justice Administration Grant received by the ODRC. The JIYA approach incorporates recidivism reduction best practices: increased developmentally-based community supervision; enhanced wrap-around services for basic needs; family support for reintegration; and mentoring from community members.

ORV’s Director of Urban Ministries, David Meredith, and Reba Collins, All In Community consultant, were approached by Mr. Gary Croft, ODRC’s Faith-based Initiatives Coordinator, and Cincinnati APA Officer, Ebony Parnham, about developing a pool of mentors for 7-9 young people within Officer Parnham’s JIYA caseload.

David and Reba presented the mentoring opportunity to Come to the Table in December, and the group enthusiastically accepted the challenge to “do life with” their young neighbors.

Rev. David Brentley from New Vision UMC is excited to be part of this initiative. “This provides us an opportunity to let these young men and women know they are seen because, more than anything else, they feel invisible,” says Pastor Brentley. “You know the brain isn’t fully developed until age 25. These young people have so much potential to develop and thrive with the right support.”

Come to the Table and All In Community are looking for caring Community-Mentors to be part of this initiative with a small group of Justice Involved Young Adults who have returned to Hamilton County. An information meeting and mentor training will be held at Teaching Tuesday,  January 15, from 11:30am-1:30pm and 6:00-8:00pm at the ORV District office. On-going training and resourcing will be provided throughout the program’s six-month pilot phase.

Contact Reba Collins at rebakaco [at] gmail.com or David Meredith at dmeredith [at] wocumc.org for more details about the Caring Community Mentor Pilot Program. To register for January 15, go to: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090C4AACA822A57-teachingtuesdays1