This article is part of Scroll’s Second Chances series. Second Chances highlights the unique experiences and potential of individuals who have overcome substance abuse and/or incarceration, as well as the programs and people that supported their journey.

In a concentrated effort to reshape juvenile justice and prevent juvenile delinquency, Center for HOPE has taken the initiative to address the root causes of youth involvement in crime. The “Strengthen the Base” program differs from traditional disciplinary methods by instead focusing on supporting growth and bringing the community together.

Located in Idaho Falls, the Center for HOPE is a Peer Run Community Recovery Center dedicated to supporting individuals seeking assistance in their recovery journey since 2016. The program Strengthen the Base is led by Andra Hansen, a professor in the communication department at BYU-Idaho.

Strengthen the Base is an 8-week course designed to equip parents with essential tools and insights to navigate the challenges their children face.

Hansen emphasizes the program’s focus on understanding and addressing underlying issues such as substance abuse in the home environment, offering families constructive solutions and support mechanisms.

“We’re seeing a significant impact on children due to substance abuse in the home,” Hansen said.

In a concentrated effort to reshape juvenile justice and prevent juvenile delinquency, Center for HOPE has taken the initiative to address the root causes of youth involvement in crime

"By addressing the root causes of juvenile delinquency, we're empowering families to chart a course toward lasting change." Photo credit: Bailee Edwards-Kevin

She explains that it’s easy to blame loved ones who struggle with substance use, but what they may not realize is that it is a mental disorder.

Strengthen the Base has touched more than the individuals recieiving assistance at the Center for HOPE. Family courts adopted the program as a requirement for juveniles in trouble, offering them an opportunity to learn and grow instead of facing immediate incarceration.

“They look for the root of the problem and try to solve it,” Hansen said, speaking about the program’s proactive approach.

The program Strengthen the Base is led by Andra Hansen, professor in the communications department at BYU-Idaho.

The program Strengthen the Base is led by Andra Hansen. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Strengthen the Base aligns closely with the core principles of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), advocating for community engagement, support and the well-being of youth as a whole.

By fostering partnerships with the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections and leveraging resources, Strengthen the Base represents a comprehensive approach to juvenile justice.

“Strengthen the Base isn’t just a program; it’s a paradigm shift,” according to the Director of the Center for HOPE. “By addressing the root causes of juvenile delinquency, we’re empowering families to chart a course toward lasting change.”

In addition to Strengthen the Base, Center for HOPE offers complementary services such as grief classes, Start Where You Are, Women in Recovery and many other group classes that help individuals based on their needs.

Programs like these serve as vital, healthy sources for socialization, education and participation in activities. They promote wellness and recovery, reducing the risk factors associated with juvenile delinquency.

Participants praised the peer recovery program and the strength it provides for others who struggle, often referring to their fellow peers as family.

Providing children with the opportunity to develop positive behaviors is the foundation of most efforts to prevent youth crime and violence. As communities continue to combat this, the Center for HOPE’s innovative approach offers a beacon of hope to those in the program.

Center for HOPE has taken the initiative to address the root causes of youth involvement in crime.

Center for HOPE has taken the initiative to address the root causes of youth involvement in crime. Photo credit: Chester Chan

Communities play the primary role in preventing juvenile delinquency. With federal and state leadership and support, communities can successfully change local conditions to help youth become lawabiding, productive citizens.

“What we can do in our communities is having prosocial things for kids to do,” said Shane Boyle, District Seven’s liaison. “They need to belong to something. When they feel like they belong to something then theyre less likely to look for things that they can belong to that arent healthy.”

Communities play a central role in preventing juvenile delinquency and the criminal victimization of juveniles. With support from Federal and State leadership, communities can effectively change local conditions to help youth become law-abiding, productive citizens.

“Another part of prevention is being aware of what is going on. If you can have a heightened awareness and see what people are needing, then I think you can look at things and address them before they actually happen,” Boyle said.

By nurturing resilience, strengthening bonds within families and cultivating supportive environments, Strengthen the Base continues to pave the way for second chances and limitless opportunities for youth and families alike.