(V.E.T.T.S.┬«) A Restorative Justice Mentoring Program

Six months ago, the V.E.T.T.S. Teen Summit was all a blur, but the day finally arrived. We had prepared for months to host our very first V.E.T.T.S. Teen summit. It was an opportunity to bring together youth from our community and provide them with useful tools and skills that will allow them to make the most of their situations.


We gathered on a beautiful New Haven morning in July 2015, at the Sound school, unaware of transformation that was about to occur. A lot of unknowns filled the air, but that was not a concern. We were led by the vision to love the youth in our community, entertain them, and give them as much as we had to offer. V.E.T.T.S. are invested in our young men and women. They are our future leaders, and we genuinely believe that we must do everything in our power to ensure their survival and success. The V.E.T.T.S. Teen Summit is just one way of delivering on our commitment.


The morning kicked off with a friendly welcome by Dr. Maysa Akbar.  James Roy spoke on the importance of positive branding. Hector Alicea provided useful interview skills and proper attire for the youth to consider when job hunting. Additional Vets taught on various topics such as team building exercises; that would encourage communication, team-effort, and camaraderie.

We were fortunate to have representative Robyn Porter of the 94th district who addressed the students about the importance of their right to vote; we also heard from her son Addison Joseph, who gave his testimony and details of his troubled times as an adolescent. He encouraged the youth not to make the same mistakes he committed earlier in his life.


A Special shout-out to the Teen Group of Jack and Jill of America, Inc and the Boy Scouts of America for sponsoring the 2015 Summit. It was invigorating to hear several youths state they wished the summit could be longer. At that point, we knew we had done our jobs. We learned so much about these youth, and we feel that we will be able to impact their lives in an even greater fashion in the upcoming years.