Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $492,730)
Take Heart, Inc. will continue and expand its work with system-involved youth in ways that improve their outcomes, allow them to repair harm they have caused, and interact with other adults who have been incarcerated but changed their own lives. Take Heart works with incarcerated youth in the restorative justice circles format. The circle method impacts youth by allowing them to explore inner pain and trauma, to make plans for future success, and to contemplate the gifts they bring to life. Take Heart will expand the current work to any juvenile arrested in St. Joseph County and will include work with them after release but still under the supervision of the legal system. Further, Take Heart will pilot Repair of Harm circles with juveniles pre-trial and post- in order to repair the harm the juveniles caused and the harm that they have experienced as well. In situations where the youth have not yet gone to trial, Take Heart’s work will serve as pre-trial diversion, allowing them to complete the work and not have a criminal record upon successful completion. In other scenarios where the youth come to Take Heart after incarceration, successful completion will allow them to be released from any legal supervision and provide grounds for expungement of their juvenile record. Finally, Take Heart will hold additional restorative justice circles for the youth and their families. Family involvement is essential for harm to be repaired and accountability to be achieved. Agreements from all participants will be developed to allow any necessary party to take on responsibilities and help create transformation for all.