Monday, April 4, 2011

A Small Sample Goes A long Way

Fania Davis knew she had a story.

Actually, the director and co-founder of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth Director can name hundreds of students in Oakland public schools whose downward spirals her organization is credited with turning around. And thanks to a recent study measuring RJOY's progress, Davis now has the stats to prove her organization is a powerful tool for preventing violence in one of the world's most crime-ridden cities and improving academic standards in its schools.

RJOY hired Stories Matter Media to make the case for RJOY, which according to its mission, seeks to "fundamentally shift the way we respond to youthful wrongdoing from punitive approaches that inflict more harm to restorative approaches that repair it."

We took a small sampling of success stories -- two students; Jasmine King, a wannabe gang-banger in middle school and Eric Myles, a high-schooler who never thought he'd survive adolescence. The reshaping of their lives through restorative justice puts a pair of human faces on the statistics: an 82 percent drop in suspensions, zero expulsions, a dramatic uptick in test scores, and perfect teacher retention, while restorative justice was implemented.

Davis has already presented the video in an appeal for donations at the Rotary Club. She has begun circulating the video online to raise funds and to educate the public about RJOY. She will also be able to embed the video on RJOY's site and link the video in grant applications.

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