Tag Archives: Brattleboro

Brattleboro Community Justice Center merges with Restorative Justice programs at Youth Services

The Brattleboro Community Justice Center and Restorative Justice Programs at Youth Services announced that they are joining forces, effectively shifting restorative justice practices in the greater Brattleboro area under one administrative umbrella and roof, a move long-considered by both organizations and heartily endorsed by other community partners, according to executive directors of both organizations.

“This merger will build on the strengths of each of our two entities, promote synergy and permit more resources to be devoted to community outreach for using restorative practices in area businesses and organizations,” explained Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Youth Services’ Executive Director and Mel Motel, Brattleboro Community Justice Center Executive Director, in a joint statement.

The Brattleboro Community Justice Center, with 3 staff and an AmeriCorps VISTA, engages with community members to repair harm caused by conflict and crime. The Center provides trainings in schools and neighborhoods; offers mediation around community conflicts; facilitates restorative interventions with individuals involved in the criminal legal system; and works with individuals returning to the community after incarceration.

Mel Motel, Executive Director of the Brattleboro Community Justice Center described the work of her organization as “building restorative communities where all people get what they need and “where we ourselves have the skills to respond to and transform harm within our own relationships and communities.” 

Youth Services, with a staff of 21 and an AmeriCorps VISTA, has a long and impactful history of serving young people and families living in all kinds of difficult circumstances in Windham County. Since its inception in 1972, nearly forty-nine years ago, Youth Services has been and continues to be a community innovator. As such, it was one of the first organizations in the state to embrace Court Diversion 40 years ago as a way to help youth repair the harm and address underlying conditions that lead to crimes. 

With time, Youth Services was asked by the State’s Attorney Office to apply this successful approach to adults in the community.  More recently, adults also benefit from its pre-trial services and a program to reinstate driver’s licenses under specific circumstances. 

Expansion in the last decade also occurred in Restorative Justice programs for youth, according to Sally Struble, Director of Restorative Justice Programs at Youth Services. Added in the last decade is a Youth Substance Awareness Safety Program and BARJ, which seeks to reduce and eliminate further involvement in the juvenile justice system and improve school attendance. Struble confirmed that all programs in each organization will continue after the merger, which will officially take place in July.

Brattleboro Community Justice Center and Youth Services’ Restorative Justice programs have long collaborated. Now they’ll be under one roof.

Mel Motel is expected to remain with the merged entity as a co-director of Restorative Justice Programs, shedding the executive director role while increasing her community outreach for restorative practices, something she said she is thrilled to be able to focus her energies on.

Struble explained that the two organizations have a long history of collaborating, striving to develop a seamless experience for the community that uses their restorative justice services. Now the public will be able to find all Restorative Justice programs under one roof at 32 Walnut Street in Brattleboro. 

Brattleboro’s Youth-Led Business Seeks Volunteer Mentors: Experience with design, business, entrepreneurship or sales especially needed

Youth Services is recruiting additional volunteer mentors for its youth-led enterprise, DemoGraphix, a business-to-business screen-printing company in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The employees, ages 12-24, have been instrumental in readying the business to open this month, building a strong team, selecting the name and designing a logo, training on the screen-press, established policies, a pricing structure and a marketing plan, all with the input of adult mentors, according to Emile Kornheiser, Youth Services’ director of Workforce Development.

Employees of DemoGraphix can make and sell their own designs as well as be employed by the company, Kornheiser explained. Launched earlier this year, the company employs young people in every aspect of the business— design, printing, shipping, customer service, marketing and accounting.  “DemoGraphix is dedicated to delivering job skills for these young people and fostering entrepreneurship and community connections,” stated Kornheiser.

 Mentors join a caring, fun team of adults who support the youth both at the screen printing shop and through one-on-one meetings. “The mentors are an integral part of the overall structure which guarantees the success of our outcomes,” said Kornheiser. “Our participants learn how to be a member of a team in a connected, supportive environment, learning from adults who are on the other side of so much of what they’re going through,” Kornheiser explained. 

Youth Services asks for a commitment of four hours per month, for one year, as well as attendance at quarterly trainings. There is no one profile for a successful mentor; excellent mentors can all have different backgrounds and be different ages, confirmed Kornheiser, who suggested scheduling an initial visit or a meeting as a way to determine a good fit before formally applying.  “What all our mentors share in common is an interest in working with young people and a willingness to share their expertise,” Kornheiser said.

A one-year commitment is requested from volunteer mentors; they must be at least 21 years old; provide references and pass a background check.  Kornheiser stressed that DemoGraphix mentors must be dependable and consistent in the minimum commitment: attending two group meetings a month, typically from 4-6 pm on Wednesday afternoons at the Printmakers Co-op space in Brattleboro.

The description for mentors lists as desired qualities being a willing listener, patience and flexibility. Youth Services offers quarterly ongoing trainings for mentors and an optional mentor support group.

To learn more about joining DemoGraphix as a mentor, visit email info@youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361 x138. For screen printing estimates, email: demographixvt@gmail.com or call 802-275-7871.

View application materials to become a mentor