CROSSROADS: Community Partnership for Youth, Inc. is an agency whose mission is to prevent or reduce youth involvement with the juvenile justice system by fostering positive mentoring relationships between youth and volunteers in the Houston area.
We recruit, screen and train volunteers from the community to work with children who have been referred to us by the Juvenile Probation Department. These children are typically 10 and 17 year olds who the Probation Officer or Juvenile Judge feels need the friendship and support of a caring adult role model.
The goal of CROSSROADS is to reduce juvenile delinquency in Harris County by providing one-to-one mentoring to high-risk children who have committed an offense and are currently in the juvenile justice system. Many young people in correctional settings do not have the type of supportive relationships that can prepare them for life outside of a facility. As a result, these youth may face isolation from their peers, family and from the nurturance, safety and guidance that comes from sustained relationships with caring adults.
How CROSSROADS Works
In 2012,CROSSROADS mentors made 2,882 visits to 335 at-risk youth. Most of these kids were involved in non-violent offenses, which, without intervention, could have led to more serious offenses. Many of the children who become involved with the juvenile justice system suffer from low self-esteem, backgrounds of family strife, parental alcoholism, drug abuse and physical or sexual abuse. One or both of their parents may be in prison or the child simply got involved with the “wrong crowd.” Most have little to no positive adult role models in their lives. Unfortunately, CROSSROADS is only able to serve a fraction of these children. You can change that by getting involved.
Our volunteers are people just like you that want to give something back to their community, and mentoring an at-risk youth is one way. Maybe you had a positive role model in your life, and you realize that without that person your life would have taken on a whole different direction. Our volunteers recognize that they truly make a difference in someone’s life. Volunteers provide our direct service by mentoring the youth. Without faithful volunteers, we would not be able to provide the level of service to reach youth in our community who need it most.
All Youth Need Caring Adults in Their Lives
Mentoring is one way to fill this need. Unfortunately, at-risk youth and youth offenders often have limited contact with positive adult role models with whom they can form and sustain meaningful relationships. Our volunteers mentor at-risk youth by helping them build self-esteem and set goals for the future, while also encouraging them to get involved in community service projects themselves. Mentoring programs can and do provide the opportunity for these young people to establish supportive relationships with positive adult role models.