Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The thrill of not getting caught. The ability to take something you can’t afford. The rush of hanging out with other friends. Teenagers have given these reasons why they have shoplifted.
From Duct tape in backpacks to smashing the windows of an electronics store, some teenagers take a chance on a pointless crime. But what many don’t realize is that one small charge of petty theft can keep them from seeing their dreams of college come true.
That’s where Jennifer Paden and volunteer facilitators with the county’s Victim Offender Reconciliation Program come in. In essence, the voluntary court program that is offered to a teenager being charged with shoplifting can give someone a second chance.
“Kids just really don’t know what they are doing [when they shoplift],” Paden said. “We put shoplifters face to face with their victims and they learn how it affects everyone, even the community.”
VORP and nonprofit Community Reconciliation Inc. are looking for a way to fund the program as state funding diminishes.
The Gems for Justice Raffle is one way representatives hope to raise funds to mentor teenagers.
For $20 per Easter egg, local residents receive one of 250 semiprecious gemstones and raffle tickets. The final raffle drawing has a grand prize of a $3,995 solitare diamond. There will only be 250 tickets and eggs will be sold
The generous donation of the diamond from Hixson’s Bench Vizion Jewelry owner David Morgan was natural.
“It really just came from a conversation,” Morgan said. “It seems like a great program to help out with. If you can keep teenagers from getting in more trouble, you’ll help them out more.”
Paden said she hopes to make $5,000 from the raffle.
To purchase a raffle Easter egg, stop by Bench Vizion Jewelry at 3901 Hixson Pike, Suite 101, or call 605- 3725.
The raffle drawing is being held at noon Saturday, March 30.
Email Meghan Pittman at email@example.com