Hello Friends!

Well, January/February has been hectic as all get out. Shifting schedules and kid availability has us always nimble and on our toes. A blessing for me is that I have completed all my classes on my PhD journey and am simply doing dissertation research which is easier than class work! The focus of my dissertation is how volunteer’s values in a juvenile detention setting affect youth. I think the biggest thing I’m pondering this month is that the more we do to narrow our social distance with the youth, the more successful we can be as mentors. Whether that is religious mentors, group mentors, or secular mentors, the result is the same.

What do I mean by social distance? Social distance is the divide of lived experience. If you are a white, relatively financially comfortable, highly educated person meeting with a youth who is not white, who struggles financially, and has been lost to the education system, there is more work to be done to fully understand the socio-economic lived reality of that particular youth.

Narrowing the social distance comes in three ways.

  1. Lived experience. If I was from a background similar to the youth, that nearly wipes out the social distance. There is still differences in age and cultures (a Gen-X and a Gen-Z or Gen-Alpha) that must be accounted for.

  2. Socialized experience. I have been working with incarcerated people for 20 years this year. That means I have a lot of socialization in this area. Again, it doesn’t wipe out the differences but mitigates against the divide if I have not hardened my heart to their lived experiences.

  3. Education. You can educate yourself on techniques that narrow the social divide such as trauma informed care, CBT, motivational interviewing, and other tools. These tools generally help us slow down and listen better. Education can also come in the form of learning about the lived reality of other micro-cultures in the United States. For example, a recent survey found that 42% of White Americans say that racism against Black people is NOT a problem. That’s a big chunk of the population. But if you ask Black people the same questions, the answers are quite different: 78% say racism against Black people IS still a problem. That tells me that there are two different perceptions in the population. That’s where listening skills and education can help narrow the difference so that we can more effectively meet youth where they are.

To that end, we are going to embark on an educational program that helps us meet youth where they are by utilizing Mentor Washington’s “Becoming a Better Mentor” curriculum. We believe that all adults that go into juvenile detention facilities are mentors to youth: spiritual, religious, secular, and group mentorship. This training is open to anyone who is a mentor of youth.

The training program will be 12 months long with a new topic each month on third Thursdays at 6:30 pm.


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You’ll see the monthly topics when you register and can choose which meetings to attend.

JoJo and I hope to see you next month!


Rev. Terri Stewart


Notes from JoJo

Hello Youth Rise Community, I’d like to start by saying THANK YOU! Terri and I are so grateful for each and every one of you and your continued support. It’s inspiring to see our community come together, everyone with their various gifts and talents, to support the youth at King County and Echo Glen.

In honor of Black History Month, I want to highlight the Black Prisoners’ Caucus (BPC), a community you may be familiar with, which actually started in Washington State. Founded in 1972 by Billy Bell, the BPC was created in response to the social injustices occurring within the Washington State prison system. One example of such injustices was employment in prison; Black, Asian and Latino folks were only eligible for positions in the kitchen as dishwashers and servers, while their White counterparts held all of the more desirable, vocational type positions (barber, launderer, butcher, chef, etc.); the BPC changed that.

Shortly after its inception, the BPC invited members of UW’s Black Student Union to come tutor folks inside. These students tutored math, law and other Associate and Bachelor Degree level curriculums that they themselves were learning. In addition to providing education, advocacy, change and community for all, the BPC created new programs like the Motel Voucher Program, The Free Transportation for Visitors Program, BPC University (now known as University Beyond Bars and formerly known as Prisoners Education Network), and many more!

The BPC has now spread across the State and continues to work with partners to Build Positive Communities outside of prison. This program, founded by people of many different races, is a testament to the power we hold when we come together for social justice. If they can do this from inside prison, we can surely do it, with the many more resources and freedoms available to us outside of prison. I encourage you to let the Black Prisoners’ Caucus be an inspiration to you this month and share this message with a friend!

To learn more about the BPC, visit there website here!



Wish List


Baptism Invitation

On April 2, we will be baptizing one of the young men at Echo Glen. Please contact Rev. Terri if you would like to attend.

Are young folks asking legal questions?

There are resources available that you can connect youth with.

Team Child:

Northwest Justice Project

Legal Counsel for Youth and Children (LCYC):

Helpful for identifying youths’ legal needs through conversation legal needs checklist

Can a Minor Consent: minor consent chart

Court Options for Out of Home Placement LCYC: out of home placement chart

Washington Law Help:


Donation Information

You can support us financially if you are so moved! We do not take funding from juvenile detention facilities so that we can be fully independent. But we will take any funds that you donate!

Donate Online via FlipCause

Donate Via Mail

Youth Rise of Circle Faith Future

16544 191st PL NE

Woodinville, WA 98072