Criminal Justice students mentor youth

Twenty-one undergraduate and graduate criminal justice student mentors arrived at Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe on March 25.The student mentors are volunteers committed to making a difference in the lives of youth placed in a secure care facility.

The mentors completed the required background checks and academic screening necessary to serve as student mentors.

The mentors who visited the secure-care facility were treated to lunch, and a tour of the facility while interacting with the mentees.

According to Charvo Lampton a senior criminal justice student mentor, “The trip was very rewarding. It makes you feel good to know that you are helping youth that are in need of guidance.”

Mentoring provides a unique opportunity for criminal justice majors.

The criminal justice system, particularly as it relates to juveniles, always stressed treatment.

At the same time widespread cutbacks severely limit rehabilitation programs.

The criminal justice faculty and staff recognize the need for treatment programs and wanted to provide their students the opportunity to give back through service-learning.

The mentoring program organized by Dr. Joyce Montgomery-Scott, an advocate of the concept of mentoring is clearly making a difference in the lives of the youth.

Swanson has 180 young males housed at the center. The Grambling Swanson Mentoring program is designed to connect young men who are making good choices with young men who made poor choices.

The program started over six months ago addresses the social, cultural, physical and psychological needs of the youth ages 14-18.

The mentors and mentees meet once a month. The first visit was held at Grambling State University on Feb. 17 when the mentees and administrators from Swanson Center for Youth were greeted by the criminal justice faculty and student mentors.

The visit included the mentor and mentees attending a college classroom lecture by Dr. Charles Minifield and a tour of the Conrad Hudchinson Jr. Performing Arts Center by Dr. Larry Pannell.

The director of Swanson Center for Youth, Carolyn Atkins, stated that the visit to Grambling gave the young men a different perspective on life. The mentees are now expressing the desire to attend college.

The service-learning project has two components, besides the 20-plus student mentors, there are over 200 undergraduate and graduate students taking part in the classroom phase of the project.

They are conducting original research to expand their knowledge of mentoring.
The research is being used in the training of student mentors, evaluating the program and for academic publications and grants.

The Grambling State University faculty and staff that serve as the advisors for the Grambling Swanson Mentoring Program are Dr. Joyce Montgomery Scott, Professor Mae Conley, Dr. Lurie Thomason, Dr. Marianne F. Giorlando, Dr. Dan Dotter, Inetha Wimberly, Dr. Charles Minifield and Dr. Mahendra Singh.

The advisors for Swanson Center for Youth are Director Carolyn Atkins, Principle William Lee, Ricky James, Vernon Foy, and John Preston. The student mentors are Kaleb Alexander, Carlton Brown, Christopher Brown, LaDarius Conley, Donald Covington, Brandon Davis, Nyle Dixon, Khalid Eddy, Zachary Felton, Ja’ Marlon Foster, Derek Fulbright, Anthony Galloway, Cameron Golston, Gregory Hudson, Brandon Jackson, Steven Jackson, Arthur Jankie, Langston Johnson, Charvo Lampton, Byron Lewis, Mario Madison, Reginald Mask II, Jason Navarre, Edward Patterson, Germaine Patterson, Derrick Peoples, Van Phillips, Jr., Marquis Ryder, Anthony Scott and Dale Smith.