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The Hon. Jared R. Rice, who launched OYP in October of 2020, noted that "We have come a long way in three years" and that "We have built an effective team on both the Court and community side of OYP and together we are seeing that our efforts are transforming lives and helping our participants receive a favorable legal outcome."
When Judge Rice launched OYP, he had two primary goals in mind: to connect participants to community organizations that could provide workforce trainings, job placements, GED classes, Mentors, and assistance with behavioral health and substance use challenges; as well as to offer participants a legal path that would enable them to complete the program without a criminal record. It typically takes a participant 12-18 months of complying with a customized Wellness Plan before they can graduate or complete the program. Of the 73 participants who have successfully completed the program, 91% have been able to exit OYP without a criminal record.
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The event also honored City Manager Kathleen Gill with its Community MVP Award for her staunch support of OYP's Mentorship, Housing, and Employment efforts. The City Council has voted to support this program for two years now; investing in young people is a top priority for them. In addition to this support, they created a paid six-week internship program for OYP participants which has connected 31 individuals to numerous New Rochelle businesses over the past year alone.
Former Federal Judge Karen Friedman was also present at the ceremony; she is now Director of Criminal Justice Innovation, Development and Engagement with the Bureau of Justice Assistance. She noted that "This is innovation…about investing in and creating opportunities for young people to reach their full potential" while Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah observed that "We are all so hungry for positive outcomes…Judge Rice is making that happen"
Westchester County Executive George Latimer concluded by saying "We look at OYP as a success…one that can be replicated" – an optimistic sentiment shared by all present at this celebratory event marking three years since its inception.
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