I'm not a bad kid, I just made a choice to feed my brothers because they were hungry.
The comment that inspired the Restitution Reimbursement Program
Restitution Reimbursement Program
How it Began
“I’m not a bad kid, Ms Lynn” was the words of a 15-year-old boy charged with burglary here in Palm Beach County in 2009. With humbled sadness in his eyes, he began to tell me his life story. He expressed how his father was is in prison, and his grandma with whom he had lived, had recently died. “Now I’m with my mom and she’s not around much, so I sold the stuff that I took to feed my three younger brothers because they were hungry.” This is just one story of thousands of youth who are in our community who have made poor choices. I looked at him with sorrow and stated, “You’re not a bad kid; you’re just trying to cope with life circumstances that you have no control over. However, you do have control over your choices.” At that moment, I knew there was not
much I could do to change his homelife, I could not help his father or bring back his grandmother, but I was able to help him complete what he needed to accomplish his court requirement of restitution. He helped me sell snacks at our group and I sponsored him the amount that he owed towards his restitution. We all know that we can’t change what we have done in the past. However, we can take our past and change the direction, so can youthful offenders, with Choice to Change, Inc.
Implementing positive intervention programs for the past 20 years in Palm Beach County, I kept encountering the barriers they face in paying their victims restitution. The restitution they owe is how they pay their victims back and move out of our court system. Most kids whom I work with are raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles, single moms with other siblings, have a parent in prison or the lifestyle of poverty. These kids were stuck with nobody around them to look up to, nobody to
help them figure out what to do to pay restitution, no credibility to have a job, and many are full of discouragement and hopelessness, turning back to negative choices. Perfect, I thought! I’ll have them give back to the community, help the widowed or elderly, clean a shabby area, or volunteer at a Choice to Change, Inc. booth, and Choice to Change, Inc. will sponsor their victim restitution obligations with the court.
Choice to Change, Inc. is offered for our court system in many locations throughout Palm Beach County. As we walk along side our youth and their families, we identify the impact of influences, build character strengths, understand the importance of relational needs, teach anger and stress management, address substance abuse and addiction awareness, and practice communication skills. Youth gain a true understanding of the impact of crime not only on themselves but also on their victims. Our youth do choose to change! They want success, they want hope and they want peace. They just need a little knowledge, mentoring and encouragement to be empowered to make positive choices.
I was given a blessing for this vision to help the compensation to victims and move my youth forward by the Criminal Justice Commission of Palm Beach County partnering in the Back to a Future Grant which gives us funding for event supervisors to mentor and teach our youth as they volunteer in the community.
Lynn Trimble, Founder
How it Works
Once enrolled, youth will be placed in one of our community events. The events are not on a consistent day of the week, and there is not a guarantee that there is an event each week. The youth is required to have transportation to any event they are volunteering at unless they are part of the Back to a Future program. The youth will be sponsored $8.00 an hour for each hour they participate at the event. Choice to Change, Inc. will keep track of all the hours they volunteer and will make a payment directly to the court towards their sponsorship.
We would like to first say that we are thankful for all the support that the county programs, courts and community have shown Choice to Change, Inc. as we continue our mission. We encourage each of our supporters to continue to inspire our youth that may have restitution/court fine obligations to accomplish what they need to change their life. The most important factor in our mission is for our youth to know they are capable of success and that begins with the support from their Judges, probation officers, program mentors, family and friends. We also ask you to use Choice to Change, Inc. at any events that you may have. Whether it is for food service, event set up and take down, or event assistance. Our youth obtain many different skills while in the program and we like to have them volunteer at many different events, so they can acknowledge and use their strengths. Finally, we request for you to spread the word about the opportunity that we give to our youth. Each youth is sponsored $8.00 per volunteer hour, many times this is sponsored by Choice to Change, Inc. however that is not always our only form of sponsorship.
We would like to be more active in local businesses partnering with our organization and sponsoring one of our youth where they can teach them a useful skill and sponsor their restitution/court fines that are owed. Choice to Change, Inc. would not be where it is today without the support of our community.
Registration # for donations #CH34812
How can you Help
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Our goal is to reach as many hurting individuals in our schools and community to give an understanding to the hurts, habits, triggers, and hang ups which is unprocessed ANGER in them. Our participants will recognize the importance of healthy relational needs in every relationship they encounter. Evaluating how their needs are met and unmet will give participants the awareness of area’s needing change that is destructive to themselves and others around them. Our participants will be able to identify the areas and choices they have the POWER TO CHANGE. They will also become confident in their strengths and learn how to use them to obtain a useful skill for their future. They will correct their actions toward their victims by working hard to pay what is owed for their poor choice. They will begin to have a better understanding of giving back to others.