By Dianne Frazee-Walker
The first time Jeanette Holtham, Founder and President of The Youth Transformation Center visited a youth prison she was scared to death. Image courtesy of youthtransformationcenter.org
Holtham is a petite red head with a serene composure, but her aspirations are much larger. She is no longer intimidated by rough looking teens masked with baleful tattoos, multiple piercings, and an array of trinkets hanging from every body part. Holtham knows there are incredible young people hidden behind the masquerading attire.
Holtham is appalled at the 30-50% drop out rate of juveniles ages 12-17 in Colorado, and the 62,000 that are suspended. She is on a mission to salvage the lives of these young people. Holtham is collaborating with Colorado school districts and the Department of Youth Corrections to make this happen.
Holtham is one of the pioneers of a growing global phenomenon called restorative justice, which is a set of principles used to hold offenders accountable for the harm he or she has caused, provide victims with a voice about how the criminal action has affected them, and how the damage should be repaired .