During unprecedented unemployment and marketplace uncertainty, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Tyrone Oliver has figured out a way to ensure youth who need jobs and funding for higher education can obtain them. It’s called the F.R.E.S.H. (Focusing Resources Effectively to Sustain Hope) Start Initiative.
The DJJ’s most recent partnership is with the Pinky Cole Foundation to provide an annual scholarship of $10,000 and jobs for DJJ youth. The Pinky Cole Foundation was established by well-known restaurateur Pinky Cole, owner of Slutty Vegan ATL, to empower generations of youth who may have had unfortunate run-ins with law enforcement. This program seeks to empower youth financially, educationally and through entrepreneurship.
“I am excited about this new partnership that will strengthen our efforts to provide job-related services for our youth once released from our custody,” Oliver said. “The Pinky Cole Foundation is giving these young people a better opportunity to succeed in life and be productive workers in their community.”
The F.R.E.S.H Start Initiative highlights the agency’s collaborative effort to ensure that youth receive a “fresh start” by utilizing resources in the community. Similar efforts have been shown to decrease recidivism, lower gang activity and increase opportunities for success with youth who experienced juvenile detention.
“Being able to partner with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice to help kids in our community is what we are about at Slutty Vegan and the Pinky Cole Foundation,” Cole said. “I am thankful for the leadership of Commissioner Oliver for thinking outside of the box to ensure Georgia youth are given the tools necessary to thrive. We are excited about this partnership!”
The Pinky Cole Foundation has agreed to employ, provide paid training and a ServSafe certification for up to 30 current or former DJJ youth at Slutty Vegan restaurants and food trucks in metro Atlanta. The foundation will also provide a $10,000 scholarship annually for youth that they hire who have earned a high school diploma or G.E.D. to use toward college or technical school.
Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice is actively looking for more local partners in the community. Those who are interested can contact Glenn Allen at [email protected]