Often the evening news is riddled with stories of crimes committed by youth. The juveniles who get caught enter a broken system that unfortunately sees many of them return. According to statistics, “73% of incarcerated juveniles in Illinois return to imprisonment within three years of being released.” The courts can only do so much as far as rehabilitation and integration is concerned.
To fill the void, not-for-profit organization Tabula Rasa (@TabulaRasaCHI, 1903 N. Milwaukee Ave.) works to help youth avoid recidivism (relapsing into criminal behavior). Tabula Rasa, which means “blank slate,” offers an opportunity to start from the beginning that many ex-offenders don’t get. Since 2009, the nonprofit has been active in the community in integrating youth back to their environment with positive results.
The organization, whose program is based on research, provides a Transitional Living Program for recently released youth ages 17-21. Strict guidelines and expectations are outlined to these young residents to keep a sense of accountability and to give them much-needed structure. They are required to participate in educational, therapeutic and extracurricular activities. Keeping residents engaged in important life skills reduces the possibility of them returning to criminal behavior.
Interested in helping Tabula Rasa achieve their mission? Attend their spring fundraiser on Saturday, May 11 from 7 pm to 9 pm. Tickets are $40 and the event features a silent auction and raffle.
Tabula Rasa is also recruiting volunteers to help support the organization’s efforts. Become a mentor and offer guidance and support to mentees via phone conversations and in-person meetings. Other positions include web designer, photographer/videographer, fundraisers and community outreach. If you would like to make a difference in how youth is integrated back into society in a meaningful and constructive way, please contact [email protected].
Photo: Tabula Rasa