Alternative sentencing program seeks volunteers for mentor-type role

The Albany Works! pilot program just began in Albany. / Mary Green

A new alternative sentencing program just started in Albany, and now it needs the community's support to make it a success and change lives.

The Albany Works! pilot program is for people who can't afford their municipal court fines.

Debra McFadden-Bryant, business process improvement specialist for the City of Albany, said they've discovered not only do many people who are fined in municipal court fall into that category, but there's also a high recidivism rate for them as well.

Therefore the program also aims to help those people get on a better path in life at the same time.

Now they're looking for residents who can serve in a mentor-type role as accountability coaches.

"That is someone who would talk to that person, stay connected with that person, cheerlead that person, help encourage that person to do what it is that they have on their life action plan," McFadden-Bryant said.

She said examples of the people they're looking for include those with experience in leadership roles, education and social sciences, though it is not limited to those groups.

"What we're learning is that many of the young people that we're targeting, which is between the ages of 18 and 35 coming through the court, many of them just don't have someone that they can talk to to encourage them to do what they need to do. They think they're out there trying to do it by themselves," she said.

McFadden-Bryant said accountability coaches will go through an interview and screening process, and they can expect to commit about 5.5 hours each month for six months to the program, including training and orientation.

If you're interested in applying, contact Ashley Jacobs at 229-431-2819.

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