This article appears in the December 2019 edition of the Salem Business Journal.
By Commissioner Kevin Cameron
On Center Street in Salem surrounded by county and state government buildings is a local gem, the Fresh Start Market and Espresso. As the name implies, you can get a variety of baked goods, coffee drinks, and soups, salads and sandwiches – a local favorite is the Marionberry smoothie. The market also features seasonal fruits and vegetables, firewood and kindling, hand crafted items and holiday gifts. But, there is much more to the Fresh Start Market.
The Fresh Start Market is one of the most innovative programs offered by the Marion County Juvenile Department. It is one of several Alternative Programs aimed at providing work opportunities for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. The job training and skills the youth receive helps enhance their future employment opportunities and more importantly ensures timely payment of restitution to crime victims.
While the circumstances that bring youth into our care are often unfortunate, our goal is to not only ensure accountability, but give youth a more complete toolbox and increased skills to become participating and contributing members of our community.
We're pleased to report that 72% of youth referred to the Juvenile Department in 2018 did not have a new criminal referral during the following 12 month period. Additionally, almost $55,000 in restitution was paid to crime victims in 2018. Of the cases closed in 2018, restitution was paid in full by 92% of our youth. We're always working to increase these numbers and opportunities at the Fresh Start Market is one way we do that.
While employed at the market, youth learn skills in all aspects of the market's operation including customer service, cash handling, food service, merchandising, stocking, and more. Almost all of the products offered at the Fresh Start Market are made or cultivated by program youth. We have three greenhouses where annuals are started from seed for beautiful hanging baskets and our youth work to grow a variety of produce that is sold in the market throughout the year. We also feature handmade art and garden gifts made from recycled materials, also made by youth. Youth are taught woodworking and metal welding to create these one of kind items.
Throughout the year the market hosts special events including the popular Spring Plant Sale which will be held May 1, 2, & 3, 2020, and our Holiday Season sale. The market will be open on Saturday, December 7, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in addition to the regular Monday-Friday schedule. Our youth have been working hard to have extra handmade gifts on hand.
I encourage you to check out the market. Have lunch or a snack and meet the youth and see first-hand what our youth have built and the business they now operate. The Fresh Start Market is located at 3020 Center Street NE in Salem. For more information visit: www.co.marion.or.us/JUV/freshstartmarket/ or call (503) 585-4956.