H.O.P.E, an acronym for helping offenders prosper in employment, is a mentoring service for juvenile inmates that helps them develop life skills and continue their education. I was able to get a glimpse into the program through Hannah Heidenreich, a sophomore at Indiana University, who is one of the mentors for the program at the Madison Indiana Juvenile Correctional Facility.
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H.O.P.E, an acronym for helping offenders prosper in employment, is a mentoring service for juvenile inmates that helps them develop life skills and continue their education. I was able to get a glimpse into the program through Hannah Heidenreich, a sophomore at Indiana University, who is one of the mentors for the program at the Madison Indiana Juvenile Correctional Facility. She began the process of becoming a mentor the fall of her freshman year here at IU, while searching through the IU classifieds. Hannah said she decided to become a mentor due to “it sounded like an interesting thing to do, and I’m intrigued by the prison system.” There is a lot that goes into processing the applicants before they can begin mentoring. There is a lot to the application process of becoming a mentor like observing two other mentors as they meet with their mentees, being screened for tuberculosis, and doing large amounts of paperwork. It took over four months for Hannah to finally get approved, and in February of 2016, she was matched with her first mentee. There is also a great amount of work that goes into matching up mentors and their mentees. You have to be given permission from the girl and her parents. If she says yes they’ll pair her up with a mentor who lives close to the facility so the two can begin meeting. Hannah and her mentee meet once every week for about an hour. In these sessions Hannah said they’ll talk about useful life skills; for example last week they talked about interview tips. The program also helps offenders further their education by providing information about colleges and financial aid. Every mentor has a binder full of activities to help engage with the mentee. Once the mentee is released the program still tries to keep her in touch with the mentors, that way they still have someone to help them down a good path. Hannah said that the program is “continuously growing, but we’re always looking for more people to come help out.” The Madison Indiana Juvenile Correctional Facility will be closing down in November and moving to La Porte, Indiana.