If you haven't heard of The Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project, I suggest you look into it. What is it, you say? LARJP is a program that works with victims and offenders of crimes committed by juveniles. The majority of these offenses are misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor crimes that are committed by first-time juvenile offenders.
We as volunteers work hand in hand with the victims and their families and the offenders and their families to restore justice to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
This program works outside of the court system and has saved the taxpayers approximately $500,000 since 2005 when it was introduced to Crow Wing County. Also, the success rate is 90-plus percent that these juveniles have not re-offended.
For more information, contact Stephanie Haider, director of Volunteer Services, at (218) 562-4926.
Political correctness gone awry
The obvious results of our political correctness were seen this past week at Fort Hood, Texas. Many of our brave soldiers were killed and wounded by an Islamic extremist; when will we wake up and stand our ground as our forefathers intended?
We need to call a horse a horse and not withdraw to the shadows as is seen in many of our recent reactions to extremism. This Islamic murderer had, it seems, been very outspoken on his stand, our military is an all volunteer organization and he should have been immediately discharged upon taking this stand.
In the late 1980s the political correctness movement began on college campuses to combat prejudice and injustice toward certain groups. Today this has spread to everyday situations and our speech is now so safe people avoid speaking the truth or taking a stand on issues for fear of offending someone. This makes life more peaceful but it is a false peace.
Remember those who are alone
This past Mother's Day, the majority of my 11 siblings, their families, and mine, all headed to my parents' home to wish Mom a Happy Mother's Day. Some brought gifts. Others came with hugs and homemade cards. The most important aspect is, we took the time to tell and show Mom that we cared and love her.
I visited an elderly client shortly after Mother's Day and her weekend had been an extreme opposite. She told me none of her children had even bothered to call, send her a gift or even a card.
A few months later I went out to complete another visit with this elderly client. I arranged the visit to coincide with her birthday. She was very glad to see me. She said none of her family had come by, sent a card, or even thought to call her. The home care agency and I, were the only ones who had remembered this special day.
This elderly little lady recently died. Her family can and will get a chance to see her, visit with her, and send their cards. But this time it will be to say good-bye.
As we begin this Christmas season, think of those people who may be alone or not have anyone close. When sending out your Christmas cards, send a few extras to those who may not receive one. When you are baking Christmas goodies, bake a few extras. Then share those with your elderly neighbor, or someone who may be alone this season.
Licensed social worker
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