Kings County Probation Department FAVOR Unit College Tour Program
On November 20, 2015, the Kings County Probation Department FAVOR (Facilitating Accountability through Victim Offender Restoration) Unit in collaboration with Kings County Behavioral Health achieved the first college tour to University of California Berkley, where several at-risk minors integrated with non at-risk minors from Kings County were given the opportunity to experience the likes of a college campus firsthand. Tours to Fresno State University and the University of Los Angeles California have followed the Cal Berkley college tour. The partnership of the Kings County Probation Department and Kings County Behavioral Health has made the funding of the College Tour Program possible, as each agency has shared in the total costs involved. It is believed the fruition of the college tours will steer at-risk youth in the direction of attaining an education, while at the same time allowing them to explore the possibilities of a mental health career path.
Between twelve to fifteen minors were selected to participate in each of the college tour trips. The process of selection of the participating minors is divided by the Probation Department and Kings County Behavioral Health, which allows each agency to select minors they are familiar with. The Kings County Probation Department selects minors who are on informal and formal probation, that show promise by earning satisfactory academic grades and are in good standing according to the specifications of their probation classification. The majority of the minors selected by Kings County Behavioral Health are non at-risk youth who are involved in academics and sports. This joining between the two youth groups has been beneficial, in that the minors have been able to form positive peer friendships and enhance their awareness of understanding social diversity within their community peer culture. These bridges are essential to forming a community of positive change!
While at the college campuses, it is our goal to give the minors an immersive experience that will enable them to realize the accessible goal of becoming a college graduate. The tours have commonly consisted of meeting with college faculty or current attending students for presentations given to the minors on inspirational topics related to the benefits of a college degree and college being an attainable achievement for everyone regardless of socioeconomic status. Additionally, the minors are treated to a family-style dinner and an entertainment sporting event. Each minor is able to come away from the trip with positive experiences that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to do on their own.
The Kings County Probation Department is proud to have been able to establish the College Tour Program with Kings County Behavioral health in our combined efforts to improve the self-efficacy of the youth in our community. We look forward to the youth flourishing in their futures and our program collaborating in many more college field trips.