Sen. Ventura

JOLIET – State Senator Rachel Ventura recently chose two young adults to serve as interns through a new program she started in partnership with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice at the Illinois Youth Center - St. Charles Facility.

“One such note I took during interviews was that the DJJ candidates felt uncertain about the future and unsure about their role in the community, whereas my Stateville interns had time to self-reflect and had goals planned out,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “With this in mind, I wanted to craft an inclusive internship that would provide guidance and show them that it is possible to have a vision for a bright future – and what a better way to help than to focus on legislation that directly impacts our community.”

Current educational opportunities at the St. Charles Facility include classes for 8th grade and high school graduation, a credit recovery program, and tutoring. Additionally, they offer different career driven programs including barber skills, culinary and finance classes, forklift operation and now Ventura’s internship.

“The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is excited to partner with Senator Rachel Ventura’s office to provide a legislative policy internship opportunity for two young adults in our care. An important part of our mission is to build youth skills, and this internship allows young people to learn about the legislative process in the state of Illinois, “ said Robert Vickery, Interim Director of IDJJ. “Not only will they gain valuable research and writing experience, but they will also provide important insight on their experiences within the juvenile justice system to the Senator and her team.”

Under Ventura’s DJJ internship, the two individuals will learn the basic building blocks of researching skills, how to craft summaries, as well as the duties of office work. They will work in tandem with the three interns Ventura has at the Stateville Correctional facility in partnership with DePaul University.

“Senator Ventura’s internship program offers a lifeline to young people who need the chance to see hope for their future,” said Lt. Governor Stratton. “As a restorative justice practitioner, I see tremendous potential in these internships to interrupt the familiar, harmful cycle of incarceration. By providing youth in state custody with the opportunity to responsibly engage with the legislative system, we give them a way to heal themselves and their communities.”

“In addition to the internship program I have with Stateville, I wanted to expand it to our youth center to get involved with all aspects of our community,” said Ventura. “These individuals bring a unique perspective and voice concerns about their own niche communities that are far often silenced.”