For Immediate Release
September 25, 2001
For More Information
Contact: Assistant Warden
Department of Corrections Secretary Michael W. Moore today announced the Sun City Center Rotary Club will hold its luncheon meeting at Hillsborough Correctional Institution in Riverview, Florida on Friday September 28 at 12:00 noon. At the meeting Rotary members will hear from youthful offenders who are graduates of the nation's only Junior Achievement Program inside prison walls.
"The press is welcome." said assistant Warden Chris Dennard. "Past graduates of the Junior Achievement Program write, call, and email me to tell me how well they are doing outside. You know that is very unusual. How often does someone who leaves prison ever call back?" he said.
The Sun City Rotary Club members have adopted this program as their project. Members come into the prisons to mentor youthful offenders on a regular basis.
Secretary Moore praised the unique prison program. "This is a cost effective program that builds the inmate's self esteem and improves prospects for success once the inmate is released," Moore said.
Governor Jeb Bush is a strong advocate of mentoring between volunteers and troubled youth. "Our office emphasizes youthful offenders in our crime fighting initiatives," said Governor Jeb Bush. ."Mentoring these young men and women has never been more important. They need the guidance of adults and role models around them -- programs like this make a difference," the Governor added.
The inmates first complete a ten-week basic Junior Achievement course held from 5:00 to 7:00 PM each evening inside the prison. During this time, the inmates learn life skills such as preparing a job resume, getting a letter of recommendation, and completing a job application. They also learn money management, budgeting and balancing a checkbook. "It is an excellent opportunity for these young men to get in a dialogue with business leaders about the prospects for success once they get out. Rotary members are business people who can explain to young men what a typical employer is looking for; what the realities of running a business actually are," said Assistant Warden Dennard.
Following that course the inmates go on to "Head Start for Success." The goal of the second course is to put together an individual release plan for each inmate. The plan includes employment and housing.
Hillsborough Correctional Institution is the only prison in the United States that runs a Junior Achievement Program. Hillsborough CI is a youthful first offender institution for young men aged fourteen to twenty. Over 120 inmates have graduated from the Junior Achievement Program.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders that provide humanitarian service and encourage ethical standards in all vocations. The main objective of Rotary is service.
"The Sun City Rotary club awarded two $1,000 scholarships to junior achievement graduates after they were released from prison," added Assistant Warden Dennard. More funds are earmarked for scholarships in the future.