ICHANGE – Interfaith Chaplaincy Affirming a New Generation of Excellence

Make a difference in the life of a  justice-involved youth!

Become an ICHANGE mentor!

ICHANGE provides training in evidenced-based practices and provides ongoing support that enables caring adults to effectively mentor youth and help young adults to prepare for and successfully reenter the community after release from Juvenile Hall.

“The data support the effectiveness of mentoring programs – in short, they work…  The data show that the mentees are involved in less criminality, less aggression, less substance abuse, and improved academic success all leading to a more positive role in society. Perhaps most significantly, mentors are problem solvers and can help mentees plan for their future.”

– Judge Leonard Edwards Santa Clara Superior Court (Ret.)  Winter 2017, The Bench

Join us in making a difference!

Orientation February 2, 2022 via ZOOM

Contact Meg Keeley mek.ICHANGE@gmail.com for more information and to register.

Announcing the ICHANGE Mentoring Program

Multiple issues challenge young adults and lead to their involvement in the Juvenile Justice System.  Unaddressed, many of these same issues challenge young people as they reenter community after residence in juvenile facilities.  While government agencies, the Juvenile Justice System, schools, and community programs and service providers endeavor to prevent and to support young people during justice involvement, the complexity of issues often make it difficult to provide sufficient services.  Young adults often have difficulty accessing the services and the assistance they need.

ICHANGE provides caring adult mentors who offer one-on-one guidance as they encourage young adults in their emotional, spiritual, and cognitive growth and help to bridge the gap between residence in Juvenile Hall and reentry into the community.  We work in collaboration and in cooperation with Probation, community-based programs and services, education and training providers, and members of faith communities in the County.

ICHANGE mentors assist young adults as they develop skills they need and prepare then to navigate the process of reentry.  Mentors help their mentees to identify their own strengths and community supports that can assist them as they pursue their goals, avoid further justice involvement, and sustain continued success as contributing members of the community.  Best practices in trauma-informed programs suggests that young adults benefit from mentoring relationships as they practice and develop in skills in:

  • Establishing trust
  • Self-esteem enhancement
  • Dealing with emotions and conflict resolution
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Goal setting and decision making
  • Exploring options for further education and training
  • Career exploration and developing strategies for employment search

Recruitment and Application for Mentorship:  Mentors are recruited from various faith, educational, community, and business groups in the county.  After application and a careful screening process,

Training and becoming a mentor:  Mentors receive 20 hours of training offered in 10-two hour sessions and receive continuing support and training by the Chaplain of Juvenile Hall and ICHANGE volunteers who have experience in the juvenile justice system.  Training includes a background in the issues and challenges that lead to justice involvement and focuses on health centered approaches to youth development that include trauma-informed, culturally responsive, strengths-based and restorative practices.  Training includes strategies for encouraging social/emotional development and reflective inquiry– identifying and building on strengths and encouraging the development of critical thinking and decision making that enables young people to determine goals, identify barriers that might keep them from success, and develop plans for reaching their goals.

After a brief period of group meetings with the Chaplain, ICHANGE volunteers, and youth, and a careful matching process, mentors commit to one year of weekly meetings with young adults in Juvenile Hall under supervision and later, independently in the community.  Continued support and training are offered throughout the mentoring commitment.

Other options for volunteering with ICHANGE

Individuals who are unable to commit to a full year of weekly meetings with youth as a mentor, may consider another form of volunteering.

  • Career talks – share information about your career
  • Develop resumes and conduct mock interviews
  • Assist with outings/community service projects, etc.
  • Provide workshops in art, music, writing, technology, etc.
  • Decisions for Change or TARGET facilitator – 12 hours of instruction (TBD) after completion of mentor training.
  • Write letters to youth
  • Technical support for Chaplain/initiatives of ICHANGE

For more information, contact:  Rev. Julius Van Hook or Ms. Meg Keeley

Download the ICHANGE Program Flyer here: ICHANGE Flyer 1-6-22

ICHANGE provides training in spiritual care and mentoring to caring people of faith as they in draw upon their own compassion, spirituality, and life lessons and commit to support and assist justice-involved young adults with ongoing weekly contact and guidance for at least a year. 

Steps to becoming a mentor:

  • Contact ICHANGE to register for Orientation and to receive application and screening forms
  • Complete ICHANGE application and screening forms for Dept of Probation
  • Attend orientation
  • Participate in interview with ICHANGE staff leadership or in person
  • Complete training sessions
  • Receive Letter of acceptance, complete Interest Inventory
  • Attend group sessions with youth at Juvenile Hall; complete Match Request
  • Receive and accept match recommendation
  • Meet at Juvenile Hall until mentee is released
  • Meet in community until closure


Winter 2022 Training Schedule (updated 1/5/22)

The evidence-based foundations of our healing-centered spiritual care and mentoring offer caring adults the training and ongoing support they need to mentor justice-involved youth.

Due to Covid, all training will be offered by Zoom on Sundays (3:00-5:00) and Wednesdays (5:30-7:30) with options for independent study for some modules via recorded training sessions.

Feb 2           5:30-7:00          Orientation

Feb 6           3:00-5:00          Trauma-informed mentoring

Feb 9           5:30-7:30          Cultural sensitivity and responsiveness; strengths-based mentoring

Feb 13         3:00-5:00          Restorative justice practices and developing emotional intelligence

Feb 16         5:30-7:30          Challenges of reentry to community; community resources

Feb 23         5:30-7:30          Education and training opportunities; job search strategies and resources

Feb 27         3:00-5:00          ICHANGE policies and procedures; reporting requirements; getting started

Department of Probation volunteer training session and tour of Juvenile Hall TBD

ICHANGE is a new mentoring and spiritual care outreach program sponsored by:

  • the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
  • The Chaplaincy of Juvenile Hall
  • ICHANGE Committee Members
  • Community volunteers

In collaboration with the Juvenile Justice System, community-based organizations and services, and the youth and families of Contra Costa County.

Our Mission:  To provide justice-involved youth and young adults with the support and guidance of caring adults from the Interfaith community that will:

  • Offer healing-centered spiritual care that is culturally sensitive and responsive, trauma-informed, strengths-based, and grounded in restorative practices.
  • Guide youth as they develop critical reflection and social/emotional skills that will enable them to explore new possibilities, develop and fulfill their goals, and to avoid further justice involvement.
  • Assist youth in identifying their internal strengths and the external assets that will provide continuing support as they become responsible adults and contributing members of the community.

Our Goals:        To help young adults to develop:

Confidence:      A sense of self-worth and belief in their capacity to succeed

Character:        A connection to and an ability to embody personal principles and values

Caring:              Sympathy and empathy for others; commitment to community

Contribution:    Active participation and leadership that makes a positive difference

Competence:    The ability to act effectively in different settings

Connection:      A feeling of safety and belonging; positive bonds with people and social institutions


Join Us!        

For information on how to become an ICHANGE mentor,

or to arrange a presentation for your congregation or organization

contact:   Meg Keeley  mek.ICHANGE@gmail.com

Our Interfaith Juvenile Chaplain, Rev. Julius Van Hook, serves at the Martinez Juvenile Detention Center and the Orin Allen Boy’s Ranch in Byron. He ministers to young people in the facilities in Martinez and Byron.  He oversees volunteers and religious visitors to the young people there.  Please contact him to volunteer.

Rev. Julius is ordained by the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), California Northwest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, at Genesis Worship Center, Oakland, CA where Rev. George Matthews is Pastor.

Rev. Julius is available to speak at area congregations and groups about his ministry.

ICHANGE – this is the committee that helps Rev. Julius Van Hook plan mentorships and service to the young people in Juvenile Hall, and those who have graduated that system.

Contact Julius if you are interested in mentoring youth in Juvenile Hall, please email Julius for helping with the ICHANGE program.  Julius will send you a zoom address for joining the meeting.  

This committee works to help Rev. Julius Van Hook with mentors and trained volunteers who can help support the young people as they leave Juvenile Hall and return to make a life for themselves.  

First Thursdays at 3:30 pm.

Topic: ICHANGE Meeting
Time: December 3, 2020 03:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Every month on the First Thursday

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Chaplain’s Corner: with Rev. Julius Van Hook from the August 24th eblast

I hope this note finds you well! Given all the things that we have experienced thus far in 2020, be at COVID- 19, economic strain, or the demonstrations and fight for peace, justice and equality, it can be easy to find yourself slipping into a negative state of mind. Many of us are wondering how much more we can endure, or if things will ever get better? You may be asking yourself, Is this the new “normal” and how will our friends, family, and loved ones be affected?
I too felt myself starting to worry about how all of this will pan out, but events like these have taught me the importance of consistency, discipline, and most importantly, maintaining a positive and optimistic outlook on life!
Every year around this time, I like to send out flower seeds to my acquaintances for them to plant. With everything going on, I almost forgot to send them out again until a friend of mine sent me this photo.
Those little sprouts reminded me that there is a silver lining behind every cloud. This lets me know that despite everything happening around us, we can still find reasons to smile and find hope. I may not know exactly how your family or friends are being affected, but I do know that we are all in this together.
Please consider this a small reminder that something great, (no matter how small) can always grow out of a difficult situation. Let’s plant good seeds and give our minds a break from all of the news and media outlets.
I am always here to help and assist, be it spiritual care related or otherwise.
We will meet online to organize the new ICHANGE committee on Wednesday, August 26th at 5:00 pm. Let me know if you’d like to join us.
Yours Very Truly,
Reverend J.X. Van Hook
Director of Spiritual Care & Interfaith Juvenile Chaplain
Contra Costa Probation Department
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