Winners of the 2024 Steps for Real Second Chances

In April, the Center for Improving Youth Justice (CIYJ) hosted its 2nd Annual Steps for Real Second Chances event, rallying communities across multiple regions to step up for a noble cause. As participants laced up their shoes and hit the pavement, they weren’t just walking; they were walking with purpose, advocating for the habilitation and empowerment of young people involved in the justice system.

Beyond the physical steps, the event also made significant strides financially. Together, individuals and facility teams raised a commendable total of $2965, demonstrating the power of community-driven initiatives in effecting positive change. In total, our event saw participation from 248 young people and 55 adults who in 30 days walked a collective 18,676,784 steps or roughly 9,338 miles. A person could walk from Maine to Alaska and back and still not travel that many miles! With each step taken and each dollar raised, we have reaffirmed our continued commitment to providing real second chances for justice-involved young people.

The engagement of 248 young people in this challenge was particularly heartening, highlighting the enthusiasm and commitment of young people to advocate for their own futures. Helena, the captain for the Mat-Su Steppers shared how young people got involved, “This was our first time participating in this event. Quite a few residents that are interested in sports participated in basketball and other outdoor sports, while those who wanted to participate but were not so inclined to sports, walked laps or utilized the treadmills to get in their steps. It was a fun and healthy challenge!” Their active participation not only contributed significantly to the step totals but also underscored the importance of including young people’s voices in initiatives that impact their lives. Their involvement brought a sense of community and hope, reinforcing that together, we can continue to create meaningful change.

Congratulations to our 2024 Winners:

  • The Team with Most Steps: -Eastern Oregon Youth Correctional Facility, Oregon Youth Authority: 26 adults collectively logged an astounding 7,628,579 steps!
  • The Team that Raised the Most Money: Mat-Su Youth Detention Facility, Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice came together as a team to raise an incredible $250 dollars on their team fundraising page!
  • The Team that Engaged the Most Young People: Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Center- Durango, Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department had 217 young people participate in this year’s challenge!

Here’s a look at the final step totals of all participating facilities across the US from Maine to Alaska:

-Hartford Juvenile Center, Connecticut Support Services Division: 6 adults amassed a notable 1,349,325 steps.

-Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Center-Durango, Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department: Making a substantial impact, 217 young people contributed, clocking in a total of 1,407,500 steps.

-Mat-Su Youth Detention Facility, Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice: 15 young people and 7 adults totaled an impressive 4,110,223 steps.

-Long Creek Youth Development Center, Maine Department of Corrections: 16 adults stepped up, accumulating a noteworthy 4,181,157 steps.

These numbers aren’t just figures, they represent the determination of individuals coming together to support a cause greater than themselves. As the footsteps fade and we stop calculating our step totals each day, the impact of Steps for Real Second Chances reverberates, serving as a beacon of hope for a future where every young person is afforded the opportunity for redemption and growth. Through unity and action, we can continue to pave the way toward a brighter tomorrow, one step at a time.

Kapiolani Kassal is the Communications Director for the Center for Improving Youth Justice. She has over 10 years of experience in various aspects of the Communication & non-profit industries. Kapiolani has her Bachelor's in Communications, Management, and Design from Ithaca College and her Master's in Television Producing from Boston University. Prior to working at CIYJ, Kapiolani worked as the Communications Administrator for MIT's Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science. She's had a passion and enthusiasm for the justice industry for as long as she can remember and is excited to be able to dive in as CIYJ celebrates the 20th Anniversary. In her free time, she loves playing social sports, attending weekly trivia, going to the theatre, and hanging out with her dog, Gatsby.

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