Posted on Aug 20, 2018
Ken Dickson introduced the guest speaker, David Lockett, and reminded us that this program, started 8-9 years ago, places at-risk youth in a one - on - one mentoring, coaching program, which makes positive changes in their lives, and helps them to become successful adults.
Eight or nine years ago, David got a call from the John Howard Society, informing him that there was a need for a mentoring program for at risk youth in Belleville. Thirty - three youth have gone through the PACT program. Success factors include:  rate of re-offences (66% of participants do not re-offend); participation in meetings; articulation of and follow up in goal setting.  
The age of participants is between 13 and 17 years. The PACT program has been proven to change families for the better, and alter individual lives. The cost of running the program is between $35,000 and $40,000 per year (the cost of incarceration is over $100,000 per year). The Federal government removed funding , so efforts were made to get funding from other sources, because of the proven success of the program. Rotary and other service clubs stepped up to the plate and have been contributing regularly to the program. 
Last year, Belleville had 3 young people in the program. Next year, six are expected to be enrolled. Life coaches  see 40 -50 kids over a life career span. It takes a long time to create the problems, and it takes a long time to overcome the issues which created them in the first place. Long - term coaching and mentoring is needed. Candidates are recommended by judges, lawyers, and parole officers.  If kids are successful in this program, their record can be expunged before they  get a permanent record on file as an adult. They get a fresh start, with mentoring. 
"Aftercare":  The life coach makes regular visits to the clients and creates "personal capacity" standards, and deals with problem issues. Most participants do not offend again. They learn important life skills, and are guided to education programs and skills training possibilities.
Les (an offender who had lived in 21 foster homes from the age of 6) - convicted on home invasion charges, entered the PACT program, an intervention which resulted in his becoming the owner of his own landscaping business. 
How can we help? Liz (Wellington Rotary Club) gave an example of Travis.  With PACT assistance, Travis has graduated high school and has a job. Local Rotarians are staying connected with Travis and see him regularly, for family dinners and Rotary outings. PACT is a manageable activity for service clubs . 
Belleville had a 90% success rate last year in its PACT efforts.  Early intervention CAN make a big difference.  Gender  differences - 85% of offenders are male. 
Adam Zegouras thanked David and PACT on behalf of the Club and the Crown Attorney's office, for making a difference.  (L to R:  Adam Zegouras, David Lockett, Ken Dickson and Andrew Bandler).