One Heart Project to launch initiative to help youths at Juvenile Justice Center

Sarpy County

One Heart Project to launch initiative to help youths at Juvenile Justice Center

August 19, 2020

The One Heart Project is collaborating with the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility and the Patrick J. Thomas Juvenile Justice Center to provide a holistic set of services to youthful offenders at NCYF and Sarpy County.

One Heart will launch the initiative with virtual kickoff events at NCYF and in Sarpy County on the weeks of Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, and will then begin working with initial cohorts of male juvenile offenders, between the ages of 16 to 19, at both NCYF and in Sarpy County. Additional cohorts will be launched later in the year.

A non-profit organization, One Heart provides a comprehensive restorative justice solution, offering a second chance to youthful offenders. Through a collaborative effort that includes other partner agencies and service providers, youth are equipped with the necessary skills, tools, and relationships to navigate life. The evidence-based initiative focuses on social and emotional intelligence education, one-on-one mentoring, life skills training, employment, and re-entry services for youth between the ages of 13- 19, reducing recidivism rates and producing prosocial behavioral change.

Steve Riach, CEO of One Heart, says these youth deserve a second chance. “These youth are just as important as anyone else on the planet. They were created with a purpose and destiny.

Sadly, most of them come from very difficult, emotionally fragile backgrounds. They need to know someone cares about them, believes in them, and is willing to help them get on a different pathway. That’s what we, and all of the great partners that work with us, do.”

At the kickoff event, One Heart Project national spokesperson, Mack White, will share his captivating story of moving from prison to a career as an actor with the help of One Heart.

“Reentry and recidivism are directly impacted by the successful reintegration of these young men and women back into our communities,” said Geri Knight, One Heart Project Nebraska State Director. “The support of One Heart, community partners, and a dedicated mentor, could change the game for these youth. We are passionate about bringing positive support to the foundation of their lives.”

With a 20-year history of impacting underserved youth in schools across the U.S., One Heart turned its focus to justice-involved and at-risk youth five years ago, beginning in Texas and New York. The organization, which has worked in five states, is dedicated to providing these youth with a true second chance. Nebraska is part of the planned expansion into new states during 2020 with others to follow. One Heart has continued to provide services during the COVID-19 challenges through technology tools and other mechanisms.