CUMBERLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE SEEKS VOLUNTEER VETERAN MENTORS FOR ITS’ VETERAN’S DIVERSION PROGRAM
The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office has instituted a Veterans Diversion Program (VDP). This program is designed to assist individuals who have served in the U.S. Military and now have come into contact with the criminal justice system. If an individual is accepted into this program and successfully completes the program, it is possible for the individual to avoid a criminal conviction. The goal of this program is to assist veterans who find themselves falling victim to substance abuse and becoming involved in criminal activities. Such behavior may be caused by post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, traumatic brain injuries and other physical injuries that are a result of their time in the service. VDP is a collaborative partnership between the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, local law enforcement agencies, veteran’s administrators, state and county agencies, volunteers, community-based organizations and medical treatment facilities to assist veterans in the criminal justice system.
A vital component of the Veterans Diversion Program is to provide such individuals with as much assistance and support as possible in order to for the individual to have a reasonable chance of being successful. For this reason, the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is seeking volunteer veteran mentors for their Veterans Diversion Program (VDP).
We are seeking peer mentors to support program eligible service members through the criminal justice system while also assisting in their individual treatment plans. Mentors are an essential component of the VDP. The mentor is intended to encourage, guide, and support the veteran mentee. Mentors should be good listeners and be willing to spend the time necessary to understand the concerns of the veteran mentee.
Mentors do not need a legal background or experience, just a desire to help a fellow veteran. Generally, mentors are expected to make weekly contact with their assigned veteran through a phone call or an in-person meeting. Mentors must be a veteran of one of the branches of the U.S. Military, including the Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, or their corresponding Reserve or Guard branches. Training for mentors will be provided. Individuals who wish to volunteer as a mentor must complete an application, a background check and submit their DD214 verifying an honorable discharge or proof of being on active duty.
Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said: “We want to do all that is possible to give the veteran’s in the Veteran’s Diversion Program the best opportunity for success. It is our sincere hope that veterans in our community who have an interest in helping their fellow veterans, apply to be mentors so that those men and women in the program have every tool they need to succeed.”
To apply to be a mentor, please visit the State of New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs Website using the following link: https://www.nj.gov/military/veterans/diversion-program/#intro and complete the online application. Any questions regarding the Veteran Diversion Mentor Program can be directed to Lt. Jasmin Calderon at (856)453-0486, ext. 11108 or Veterans@co.cumberland.nj.us . More information about the program can be found at: http://njccpo.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/CUMBERLAND-COUNTY-VETERANS-DIVERSION-PROGRAM-002.pdf .