This is an archive of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP's) electronic newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance. The information in this archived resource may be outdated and links may no longer function. Visit our website at for current information.
July | August 2015

Message From the Administrator: Encouraging Youth Voices

Hello. I’m Bob Listenbee, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

At OJJDP, we work hard on behalf of our nation’s youth. We strive to keep them safe and to ensure positive outcomes for them all.

Youth perspectives are important to our work; they provide us with valuable insights, recommendations, and direction. That’s why I’m thrilled about the recent interactions my staff and I had with some of the brightest, most talented, and most passionate of America’s youth.

At the recent White House Tribal Youth Gathering, convened as part of President Obama’s Generation Indigenous Initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama gave the keynote address. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and Karol Mason, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, and I—along with several federal officials—interacted with more than 1,000 youth in attendance. We listened to them speak eloquently and passionately about issues that are important to them and their tribal nations. We also vowed to continue working tirelessly to address their concerns.

I was equally moved by the seventh and eighth graders I heard from during the “Do the ‘Write’ Thing Challenge” held at the Supreme Court. At that event, four students bravely shared their experiences with violence. I have attended the annual ceremony for the past 3 years, and despite the heartbreaking testimonies I hear, I’m always proud to see these young ambassadors are taking a stand against violence in their communities.

This July, I also met several very impressive advocates at the Coalition for Juvenile Justice Youth Summit, cosponsored by OJJDP. These future leaders are passionate about keeping young people out of the juvenile justice system and improving conditions for those that come in contact with America’s juvenile justice system. Some of them visited the Department of Justice for a job-shadowing experience, and my colleagues and I were excited to give them insight on the ins and outs of working in a federal agency.

You can read more about these activities in the July/August 2015 issue of OJJDP News @ a Glance.

At OJJDP, we’re making a deliberate effort to include youth engagement into policies and programs. The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice has two sitting youth members. And, last year, the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention invited two formerly incarcerated youth to share their experiences during our meeting on reentry. We also cosponsor the United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) conference and the Coalition for Juvenile Justice Youth Summit for the same reason—we want to encourage youth voices, and we want to learn from their inspiring stories.

The voices and insights of our nation’s young people are critical to our future successes. Please join us in encouraging more young people to speak up and use their powerful voices to effect lasting change.

Thank you.