Coalition for Engaged Education Offered Probation Officers Direct Arts Exposure

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The Coalition for Engaged Education ( and seven other nonprofits hosted an experiential training retreat for probation officers on July 16, 2014, at the Herb Alpert Educational Village in Santa Monica, California.

Probation Experiential Training Day

Coalition for Engaged Education ( partnered with Violence Prevention Coalition, Street Poets, Inc., InsideOUT Writers, Rhythm Arts Alliance, New Earth, and The Unusual Suspects, on July 16th to offer more than 70 Los Angeles County Probation Department field officers an opportunity to experience firsthand the power of arts education provided to youth in juvenile detention camps across L.A. County.

Deputy Sears commented, "I've seen the change from before the programs were in Camp G. (Camp David Gonzales) to where it is now. All the kids need programs like this. It keeps them busy and gives them the opportunity to learn what they want to do or explore."

Probation officers who work in the field were asked to be open, to take personal and artistic risks, and to be creative. Both probation officers and former juvenile-justice-involved youth attending the retreat reported that they saw each other in a new light. For the officers, seeing youth who succeeded and are now employed, in college, and moving forward as productive citizens was very rewarding. One such youth stood on stage in the closing session and thanked his own parole officer, who was in the audience, for caring and making a difference—and extended his gratitude to all the officers on behalf of all the youth currently on probation and those to come.

CEE Hope, which coordinates arts education and ongoing support for juvenile-justice-involved youth, has proven that these programs, combined with consistent support and mentorship, work to increase probation compliance and dramatically reduce recidivism. When they become engaged in their own educations, youth exit the juvenile justice system permanently, achieve their academic and professional goals, and become leaders in their communities.

The goal for the day, according to Kelly Kagan Law, Vice President of the Coalition for Engaged Education, and Kaile Shilling, from the Violence Prevention Coalition, was to increase connection, awareness, and partnership between probation and arts-based organizations that work, both inside and outside juvenile detention settings, to achieve positive transformation of young people.

David Mitchell, Bureau Chief, District 1, agreed. "When we work together, when our goals are similar, and when we're united as a community, it's always beneficial to the youth. It's a difficult job changing youths' behavior, and you need all hands on deck. We cannot do it on our own."

“This day was very meaningful to the probation officers who didn't know about the program at Camp,” said Deputy Sears, “so now they will refer their kids to these programs. I think it's just going to be better. Seeing the kids that are doing well now and took advantage of what was offered, it's great."

For more information, please contact:

Kelly Kagan Law
Vice President
Coalition for Engaged Education

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Kelly Kagan Law

Kevin Kate McQuhae
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