Last Saturday CRYJ participated in Global Youth Service Day, the largest service event in the world, and the only day of service designated to youth! CRYJ, Montana Conservation Corps, and Farm Hands Nourish the Flathead worked hard to plan and make the day a huge success.
Youth (and adults) from all over the Flathead Valley helped to prepare the Farm Hands Nourish the Flathead’s community garden at FVCC for its summer season by removing weeds from the raised garden beds, sifting the soil, putting down weed mat, and hauling the sifted soil back in the plot! We also got the soil ready for planting in the Flathead Food Bank section- everything grown there goes directly to the food bank.
In addition to garden maintenance, youth learned about healthy eating habits and water conservation, created signs for local elementary school gardens, and participated in games throughout the day.
There were a lot of smiling faces and hard work at GYSD 2013!
To view photos of the event, visit our
Thanksgiving is over and all the folks here at CRYJ hope everyone felt grateful and joyous on their day of thanks. Now that the day has passed it is time to start getting ready for the next set of holidays! Anders, our resident holiday helper, wants to turn this already bright and colorful office into an extravagant exemplification of holiday spirit. To do that he needs the help of CRYJ kids to both put up the decorations, and to provide ideas to make everything even better. There will also be an opportunity to make Advent Calendars of Commitment and Change to end the year on a good note. So come one and come all and help make CRYJ the most festive place around!
It’s that especially spooky time of year, and CRYJers are a big fan of true Halloween spirit! So with the ideas of having a good time, dressing up in the coolest costumes, and giving back to the community running through our heads; CRYJ kids and staff dressed up and headed out into the neighborhoods of Kalispell on October 25th to collect canned and boxed goods to donate to the food bank! Lucky for them, Katie brought in a box of costumes to share with everyone so no one would be underdressed for the occasion. It was a fun time as CRYJers did what they do best and gave back to their community. Also the inner child of everyone came out and shone brightly through the chilly Montana afternoon.
The FVCC Mercury Newspaper is a student run newspaper that writes about Flathead Valley Community College and the greater Kalispell community. Recently one of their writers wrote an article about CRYJ! Here is what they wrote:
Restoring Justice to Kalispell Youth
by: Nick Andrews
At the Center for Restorative Youth Justice (CRYJ) in downtown Kalispell, a type of justice is being practiced that helps build a stronger community while also restoring harm done by crimes. Restorative Justice is the name of this practice and it is an alternative to the regular form of justice Americans are used to.
Restorative Justice focuses on the impact of the crime and how harm can be repaired, with a focus on accountability from the person who committed the crime. Those who believe in restorative justice feel that this is more helpful in building a community then just issuing a punishment for a specific crime.
The way CRYJ practices restorative justice is through different programs. There is the Community Accountability Board (CAB), the Drug and Alcohol Awareness Program (DAAP), the Theft Impact Circle (TIC) and the Victim Impact Program (VIP). When referred to the CRYJ program a youth is also referred to a program specific to the type of crime they committed. In the CAB and DAAP programs, volunteers from the community help to talk to the youth and listen to what they have to say.
Listening is a key factor in restorative justice as the person who committed the crime has a side to the story as well. Volunteers in a CAB act as a representative of the community and try to show how harm has been done to them as a member of the community while also listening to the side of the story that they have not heard. There is also community service available to those in the program in order to give back to the community. Also listening to the victim is important as well. Shareen Springer the director at CRYJ feels that “restorative justice is about letting the victim have a say in what happens to ensure that the harm done is restored and future crime can be prevented.”
CRYJ is an interesting non-profit in downtown Kalispell that is working hard at restoring justice to the youth and the overall community.
On Tuesday, June 19th, CRYJ hosted an event to show appreciation for the volunteers who are such a crucial part of the organization. The event was held at the Conrad Mansion, who we thank for the non-profit to non-profit love. Late in the afternoon the festivities started and 37 volunteers were invited to enjoy the evening in their honor. Flashy new CRYJ mugs were given to all of the volunteers along with some other small gifts.
Although we love all of the people who come to help us, there were 3 particular volunteers that we wanted to thank:
Joan Creek has been with CRYJ longer than any of the staff working here. Throughout her years volunteering with CRYJ and multiple other organizations in the area, she has proved to be the most reliable person one can meet. We thank her for her work with the Community Accountability Board, and with the Victim Offender Conferences, where she works directly with the youth in trying to improve their level of accountability as well as offering insight into how one’s actions can really affect others.
Dave Bailon often volunteers with the Community Accountability Board and with the Victim Offender Conferencing, and he also happens to be on the board of directors for CRYJ. Dave is known for his contagious energy and intense charisma. He loves the concept of Restorative Youth Justice, and is one of those people who truly just “get it.”
Pam Cabonari founded this organization more than a decade ago, has served on the board of directors, and has helped guide us to where we are now. She is the soul and passion behind CRYJ and her idea has brought us to our current reality, but is also pushing us, like Buzz Lightyear perfectly states, “to infinity and beyond!”
Thanks again to all of the volunteers who have helped us, your support and love is what keeps us moving!
CRYJ Trail Warriors
On Saturday June 2nd, the self proclaimed CRYJ Trail Warriors donned their masks of mud and entered Herron Park with an energy that was described as infectious by the organizers from the Montana Conservation Corps. The eleven youth that made up this group joined over thirty other kids to work on drainage systems on the family trail. As the youth marched up the hill to the trail in the pouring rain it could be seen that they were about to be pushed out of their comfort zone. Many had not done trail work before and most had not used trail-building tools such as a McCloud and a Picmatic. While everyone was working on the trail they were taught the ergonomically correct stance and way to use the tools safely and efficiently. The rain continued straight through the three hours of labor which will,in the end, help prevent erosion on the trail, and will protect hikers, runners, and bikers from the dangers of a wet trail.
The rewards of this work were numerous. The CRYJ volunteers were not only introduced to other youth and adults in the community, but they were also introduced to Herron Park as a place to participate in healthy outdoor activities. The instant gratification of a barbecue also served as a nice finale to the work. Even though the rain continued through the afternoon, the kids would not let that stop them from having a great time. There was even a raffle where CRYJ volunteers won a self filtering water bottle and an MCC thermos to drink coffee from the next time they head out to work on local trails.
Congratulations to Alexis Waite from Whitefish… winner of the 2012 CRYJ Cruiser Raffle! Thanks to everyone who purchased tickets to support our scholarship fund!
Director Shareen Springer drawing the winning ticket!
On Saturday more than 90 youth descended upon the Nourish-FVCC Community Garden – led by fearless leaders from Montana Conservation Corps, Center for Restorative Youth Justice, Montana Academy, and Montana FoodCorps these youth joined together from around the Flathead Valley to get the Nourish-FVCC garden ready for growing, to create a school garden at Elrod Elementary, and to participate in wildly exciting crafts, games, and art projects.
Check out our Facebook page for some great photos of the day.
A huge thank you to Global Youth Service Day Sponsors, including: Montana Serve, Disney Friends of Change, Park Side Credit Union and the ipay2give campaign. Or course, an incredibly loud “woo hoo” for all of the amazing youth who spent their Saturday making the world a better place.
Stop by the community garden this summer (located behind the Arts and Technology Building on the FVCC Campus) to see CRYJ kiddos and staff in action this summer – planting, tending, and harvesting food for the Flathead Food Bank. Of course anyone who plays in the garden is encouraged to eat a delicious home-grown carrot or two – all while learning about growing food and supporting local projects that bring nutritious food to families in need.
Images and Voices: Youth Art Exhibit Recognizes Victims
Harper Lee once wrote “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” As an opening quote in “To Kill a Mockingbird” it is a powerful reminder of the path to empathy and understanding.
In recognition of National Crime Victims Rights Week (April 22nd– 28th) the Center For Restorative Youth Justice (CRYJ) has offered this Youth Exhibit to the Flathead Community – focused on unfolding and uncovering the ripples caused by crime, and honoring the voices of those most impacted.
CRYJ’s programs work one-on-one with youth and victims of juvenile crime to ‘reweave the fabric’ of relationships (community, family, peers) in ways that promote true accountability, inspire connection, and increase community safety. Conversations with victims and community members allow youth to focus on what steps are needed to repair the real harm caused by their actions, and to create opportunities for victims and youth to move forward in positive ways that reconnect them to our community.
Description of Exhibit:
For this exhibit CRYJ youth participants worked to gather voices and perspectives in an attempt to discover not only how victimization and harm can
separates us as a community – but how we can use empathy and understanding to come together. When choosing to walk in another’s shoes the choice is made to listen to those who wish to be heard, and to see the truth in others who wish to be seen.
This exhibit is titled “Images and Voices: Road to Repair” and is built to be an interactive artistic piece where the observer also becomes a participant. The project encompasses real voices and images of local youth, as well as voices of victims – providing an opportunity for you as the community to view both the outside and inside experience of these two populations and to offer words, wishes, or hopes for healing and growth.
What do we do as victims of crime to move forward, to find safety and our voice when both feel so far away? What does the world say about teenagers? How do we exist in a world of stereotypes and external pressures while trying to hold on to some sense of who we are? One of the goals of this project was to interview teenagers about what other people (especially adults) think about them, and to describe the ‘inside person’. Youth participants were also asked to look through statements and quotes from real victims of youth crime in our community – broadening an understanding of the far reaching impacts a single decision can make on the world around us.
The goal of this exhibit is to honor voices – to create ways to repair and rebuild relationships. To step aside from judgment – to offer our hopes, to find the goodness in each other. To restore.
The Images and Voices: Road to Repair will be on display at FVCC from April 23rd through April 26th, in Colter Coffee from April 27th-May 27th, and in the Park Side Credit Union Whitefish Branch from May 28th – June 8th. We hope you will participate in this exhibit and encourage others to as well.
For more information about CRYJ’s Restorative Programming please visit our website at www.restorativeyouthjustice.org or give us a call (406) 257-7400.
Well, it’s about that time of year again, everybody, everywhere is getting ready for Global Youth Service Day (GYSD)! First established in 1988, Global Youth Service Day was made to mobilize youth around the world to improve their community. Today, GYSD is celebrated in over one-hundred countries and supports over three-thousand projects that work on both local and global issues.
This year, for GYSD, CRYJ will be partnering with Nourish the Flathead (NTF) and the Montana Conservation Core (MCC) on April 21st to help organize and improve the local community garden located at the Flathead Valley Community College. Over one-hundred youth volunteers from around the valley are anticipated to partake in the event. “While this project aims to engage youth from all demographics to work together and improve the garden,” Said Anders O., “It’s also aimed to help build a better community and combat against local food and hunger issues by educating youth and showing them what they can do to help solve this problem.”
Some activities during the day include: a mural painting, making bird feeders, garden bed preparation, making seed bombs, and more. For more information about Global Youth Service Day and what CRYJ and others are doing around Kalispell, you can visit www.GYDS.org and look on their map.