It breaks her heart to see so many youth going to jail as repeat offenders.
Patricia Keith, counsellor and co-ordinator at the Break Free Family Centre, has over 20 years experience with imprisoned youth and wants to make a change.
“The young people that are coming out of the justice system do not have the money, they do not have the support,” Keith said.
Keith believes the Break Free program can help end the cycle of youth crime. But more resources are needed.
“I’m searching hard to get a house for the youth that are getting out of the justice system.” Keith said.. “If we could just get the house I know the government will help us… You have to have the house in place to get the support.”
The campaign seeks funding to open a transitional house offering counselling and other help.
The plan is to buy a home, then remodel it to accommodate at least a dozen youth. This will lead to more funding, it is hoped. The facility would offer troubled youth a place to go following their release from prison.
Most youth do not last even two or three weeks before they are back in jail, Keith said. One reason is that many troubled youth do not have anyone to talk to about their anxieties.
“It’s like a revolving door for them,” Keith said.
Currently, there are community shelters, which exist for people being released from custody. However, many of these shelters do not offer them the help they need. Break Free is hoping to raise $1 million through organized events based in their communities and other forms of fundraising.
Support can be shown by joining the Healthy Heart Catered Breakfast on March 28, at the Father Henry Carr secondary school. This breakfast event will include a guest speaker, a comedian, food, entertainment and prizes! There will be press coverage live from CHRY radio.