CollegeLEADS at Bergen Community College is a partnership with the Bergen Volunteer Center, established to ignite the spirit of civic engagement and the exploration of issues facing Bergen County. Twenty (20) Bergen Community College students began a semester-long look at the issues surrounding heroin addiction and abuse in Bergen County. Four seminars, legal and criminal, mental health, physical health and education will be the focus of the students’ program.
On Friday, February 3rd, the students visited the Bergen County Jail and the Housing, Health and Human Services Center. They toured the jail, met with corrections officers, inmates, and a rehabilitation counselor to take an in-depth look at the corrections process. Visiting the shelter brought light to the Housing First approach to dealing with homelessness. The goal is to place individuals who are homeless in housing and provide the support services to ensure that the placement is permanent.
One student reflected on her visit, “Before we had time to feel shocked or express criticism towards those officials, they explain that the job is rather frustrating, allowing us to step into the shoes of the younger officials. I find this rather rare, having always seen a spirit of criticism in the workplace. Here, it is as if the older officials take care of both the younger ones and the inmates. It wasn't in a showy way, but every step they took was calculated and done with great compassion.”
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