Last week we highlighted the New Memphis Institute. This week let us discuss an organization working with court-referred adjudicated delinquent youth and equipping them with the skills and support necessary to break the destructive cycle of criminal behavior: Juvenile Intervention and Faith-based Follow-up.
Founded by Rev. Rick Carr in 2003, JIFF targets youths ages 12-21 (and their families), who are involved in the juvenile justice system. These youths are primarily repeat offenders who are referred from the juvenile court for structured intervention services. So, Carr and his team are working with our city’s pre-adult criminals and affording them a chance to turn their lives around, become productive citizens, and flourish, free from a life of crime.
JIFF’s program targets six key areas of a youth’s life. Focusing on Head, JIFF works on academic ability through various tutoring, GED training, and mentoring. Heart is core to teaching values and providing a foundation centered on Christ. Health encompasses mental health access and fitness training to teach discipline and routine and to promote positive self-worth. Hire-ability is taught through their structured vocational classes, like culinary arts training. Home incorporates parents, teaching skills, like anger management and conflict resolution. Hobbies are then explored to see what gifts or interests might be further developed.
JIFF has become a positive force in the lives of more than 650 youth and is helping our community lower the recidivism rate with juvenile offenders. Their recidivism success rate is currently under 35 percent, which is astounding when you consider various national studies suggest a range of 50-80 percent.
So, consider taking a tour of their center located at 254 S.Lauderdale. Plan ahead and sit down to a delicious lunch, made from scratch at their culinary school. Volunteer by playing pool, ping-pong, or basketball with the kids. Or, simply call one of the kids once a week or send an email of encouragement. Your investment in JIFF yields a lasting return.
Learn more about JIFF by visiting jiffyouth.org or contacting Rick Carr at 901-522-8502 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeremy C. Park is president of the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club. He is host of “The Spark” on WKNO-TV Channel 10 on the third Thursday of each month at 9 p.m. and the “Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club” on KWAM-AM 990 on Saturday at 1 p.m.