Mentoring is a positive step for Vicksburg

Published 9:42 am Monday, June 27, 2016

About two weeks ago I visited the Warren County Youth Detention Center as administrator Kathy Holden welcomed five women to speak to the juveniles staying there.

Each day of that week a different woman came to speak with the young people about anything for health and hygiene to making better choices in the future. In July, Holden will welcome five men from the community and surrounding areas to speak during a second week of mentoring with a firefighter and a lawyer on the schedule.

This is the third summer that Holden has welcomed speakers at the detention center in an attempt to reach the young people early so they won’t find themselves back in the center or eventually in jail.

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She said the key is reaching children early and she wants to implement a shadowing program in the public schools as early as fifth grade to get students on the right track. It is important to her to start early and reach children before it is too late.

Holden hopes to build a relationship with school counselors who can identify children who may be on the wrong path to students who are simply just shy who could benefit from guidance or a kind word. Her plan is to then match that child with a member of the community who could support the student throughout their years in school. She said it doesn’t take money, just a little time and attention to change lives.

These role models are needed to care for the students. Holden is very passionate about the future of the community and finding solutions to crime through education. Everyday she said she takes time to speak to the juveniles in the center to give them advice and to let them ask her questions.

While I was there the students seemed to respond to Holden. One said no other administrators in other institutions he had been in had ever shown any interest in him or his future at all. Another student showed her vision board that had magazine clippings displayed to a poster board of words that inspire her and her dreams for the future.

I appreciate the work Holden is putting in to make a difference in our community through the youth and think it is an admirable quest.

Local lawyers and judges will be participating in an expungement clinic and workshop this week to help tutor qualified applicants in how to expunge certain convictions for their record.

Low income residents who have preregistered will meet in municipal court Wednesday for free legal advice on how to represent themselves in court.

I see this clinic as another way the community has come together to rally around those who are trying to turn their life around and hope its success is a positive step for Vicksburg.

Alana Norris is a staff writer at The Post. You may reach her at Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.