Hand in Hand: Baltimore Program Services Children Charged as Adults
(Hand in Hand has outgrown its current location. If your church or business has space that they would like to donate or rent for a nominal fee please email me @ email@example.com.)
Founder of Hand in Hand Baltimore
Upon graduating from The Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Psychology, Jessica Turral desired to work with young people, but was unsure of how to do so. Since the tender age of 16, Jessica worked as a mentor with youth, and was able to understand the importance of developing relationships. So she began researching how several young people were charged as adults for specific crimes and detained at the Baltimore City Detention Center awaiting trial. Due to this she became very discouraged about the lack of mentoring and counseling opportunities for the youth, for most were between the ages of 15 and 18.
In September of 2009, Ms. Turral started an organization called Hand in Hand Baltimore, which helps to connect charged juveniles with caring mentors (most of whom are graduate psychology based students) who are willing to help provide them with counseling, individual and group therapy, mentoring, academic enrichment, and case management. The awesome leadership skills of Ms. Turral help provide nearly 30 young men with contact with our volunteers three to four days a week. They spend time individually with a counselor once or twice a week, and also attend group therapy sessions on Tuesdays, in which our goal is to build relationships to help the young men eliminate feelings of isolation. On Fridays, the youth discuss and debate current events and write plays or poems to perform for their peers. Finally, on Sundays the youth are assisted with help focusing on academics and planning for their future.
Jessica clearly emphasizes that she and the counselors arent here to save or help them, but are looking forward to empower them to help themselves.