Living the mission, why a Restorative Justice nonprofit exists. When people do the right thing, it takes care of the future.

Email subject line: I really need some help

Email:  I attended a class at the Restorative justice center about 4 years ago for underage drinking. I am 23 years old now and have been trying to enlist in the military but my non-wise adolescent decisions are holding me back. I have jumped through many hoops to clear up my name and prove myself for the military. I need proof for my recruiter that I have completed an alcohol class otherwise I will not be able to enlist in the Army National Guard. I do not have any paperwork showing that I successfully completed a class with your program. I realize that it is my fault for not holding on to my documentation and I apologise for the inconvenience sincerely, but I am hoping that someone will be able to get back to me as soon as they can and help me get the proper documentation to accomplish a life goal. I am looking forward to hearing back from someone. This is very important to me. I just need to know how to find the proper paperwork. I am almost always available by phone but email is ok too.

I believe in the good of people, and I saw the responsibility in this email.  Mistakes should not permanently close doors for people.  This young man references a life goal and how important getting into the military is for him.  I know the benefits of the National Guard, I am aware of our military culture and climate right now.  This young man wants to serve his Country and our program has paperwork to help him.  I got to my garage and started to go through the dented file cabinet and the storage boxes.  My only lead was that he thought he attended on November 6, but was unsure of what year.  I found the documentation.

He was so happy, to hear the news.  He knew I was going to a box in my garage, he thought it would take a few weeks, not a few days.  He noted that the day he attended was his 19th birthday.  I told him he made a wise decision to spend his birthday at the Underage Consumption Panel.  He said it was a good class, he thanked me, told me this allows him to enlist. I asked his permission to write a blog post, and asked for more of his story.

He said at the time, he just thought it was a “stupid class” and now because he went he can enlist.  He’s a college student now, he comes from a family of military men, he found out that “screwing off was not working”.  He explained that when you are young, you don’t think your tickets are going to follow you.  He thought by the time you want a career or to go into the military it will just be forgotten.  He had positive things to say about our program, he mentioned seeing on our website that we take volunteers.  That opened the door, and I told him he was especially qualified to come to a Circle and share his perspectives.  I enclosed a volunteer application when I mailed him a copy of his verification.

He told me I made his day.  I told him he made mine.  He came to the class.  He confirms that people find the path, all the work of our volunteers, our staff, the agencies that refer youth to us, the victims who share stories and those that help in order to make amends.  They help SCVRJP live the mission.  You might make a lot of mistakes, but if you do the right thing, it can help you in the future.