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The mission of Inspire, Encourage, Achieve (IEA) is to initiate and support educational programming and rehabilitative services to at-risk youth in Southeast Texas by inspiring and encouraging them to achieve.
IEA has a 15 year history in the Southeast Texas community for creating paths toward promising futures for youth, particularly those who are involved in the juvenile justice system. . IEA has served more than 5,000 youth and 1,000 caregivers and siblings of juvenile justice involved youth. From counseling, case management, academic support, workforce development, community service and mentoring, IEA has made a significant positive impact on individuals, families and the community at large.
According to findings from an internal analysis (conducted by the Jefferson County Juvenile Probation Department) for the purpose of assessing the impact of services offered by IEA to juvenile offenders revealed: Of the 229 juvenile offenders served by IEA over a three year period, 79% did not have a negative outcome. At total of 17.9% would have been sent to an alternative placement or TYC had IEA not been a resource. With an average of 11 juvenile offenders per year being kept from placement as a result of IEA's comprehensive services, taxpayers have been potentially saved $188,100 per year. When factoring the cost of TYC incarceration for one juvenile offender, there is an additional expense that escalates to nearly $100,000 or more annually. Therefore, the Jefferson County Juvenile Probation Department estimates that IEA has potentially saved Jefferson County and the State of Texas nearly $287,000 annually.
Next, IEA’s work and impact has been highlighted in print by local newspapers, featured in publications (including the Jefferson County Juvenile Probation’s Annual Report, Texas Public Policy Foundation’s article "Getting More for Less in Juvenile Justice" and the U.S. Department of Justice’s article "Project Safe Neighborhoods: Sustaining Community Outreach with Limited Funding) and endorsed at the local, state and federal levels. In a videotaped interview, City of Port Arthur Chief Mark Blanton expresses confidence and support of IEA’s role in "enhancing public safety and building stronger support systems that offer alternatives to crime as well as delinquency."
In 2012, IEA recognized three high school seniors (graduating from Central Medical Magnet High School, Monsignor Kelly High School, and Premier High School) and one college student who had completed two semesters of courses at LIT. Each of them had plans to continue their path toward a positive and productive future. For example, the student graduating from Central Medical Magnet High School was accepted to Lamar University, Wiley College, University of Houston, University of New York, and Mary Baldwin College. Both University of Houston and Mary Baldwin College have offered this student a significant amount of scholarship funding (a combined offer totaling nearly $80,000). Over the past four years, IEA has motivated nearly 50 students to achieve a high school diploma while enrolled in the organization’s outreach program. Many students who complete the IEA program prior to becoming seniors in high school continue to either remain in school or enroll in an alternative education program. Although youth served at the Minnie Rogers Juvenile Justice Center benefit from IEA’s services while detained, Jefferson County Juvenile Probation may refer them and their parents for continued support through IEA’s outreach programs (including Ben’s Kids and Parent Project).
- Timika Fisher
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