Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $700,000)
This initiative is a component of OJJDP's Tribal Youth Program initiative. This is the first year that OJJDP has released a solicitation that exclusively focuses on providing services and programming for tribal youth in juvenile detention facilities. With this new demonstration program, OJJDP seeks to enhance opportunities for federally recognized tribes to provide comprehensive and quality programs for tribal youth who reside within or are being released from tribal juvenile detention centers. This program also marks the first time that OJJDP is sponsoring an initiative that encourages funding recipients to partner with institutions and organizations to incorporate green technologies and environmentally sustainable activities as part of the program's educational, training, and reentry activities for youth participants. This program is authorized under the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2009, Pub. L. 111-8.
The Choctaw Youth Justice Center proposes to strengthen tribal youth, their family and community by providing culturally relevant activity which renews foundational values like stewardship of 'mother earth' and each member's significance in the community; replacing alcohol and other drugs with specific health and wellness activity; and ensuring the identification of mental and behavioral needs, delivering appropriate service.
This Choctaw Youth Justice Center can house up to 15 youths, 8 boys and 7 girls. The Center has a partnership with the University of Mississippi which has been recognized for its research, instruction and assistance in agriculture.
Community gardening will be used as a foundation to build success with youth before addressing other green technologies. Choctaw Elders will provide lessons on growing, nurturing, harvesting, storing, preparing, and consuming traditional substances. Youth will then begin their gardening with indoor plants, eventually planting them in the 'practice garden' outside of the facility. The produce grown from the gardens will be marketed for profit with the proceeds going to sustain this phase of the program. CA/NCF