DJJ Director Buys First BARJ Adirondack Chairs
DJJ Director Bill Byars tries out one of his new chairs
DJJ Director Bill Byars became the first customer for DJJ's "BARJ Building Blitz" on Thursday, July 24th. Judge Byars purchased two of the Adirondack chairs, made by students at DJJ's Birchwood High School as part of the agency's ongoing restorative justice efforts.
The chairs were built in a construction class taught by DJJ teacher Andrew Johnson. Johnson is in the process of implementing an ambitious new construction curriculum that will lead to National Center for Construction Education (NCCER) certification for Birchwood students.
"They're learning the basics now, building small stuff. But eventually, we'll teach them blueprint reading, foundation layout, floor and wall construction; all the skills they'll need for building construction," Johnson said.
Over the next two weeks, students and DJJ volunteers will be participating in the "BARJ Building Blitz," in an effort to produce 20 more of the chairs for sale to the public. Money raised in the sale of these chairs will fund victim restitution, GED testing, and other educational and restorative justice initiatives. The students themselves will also receive a portion of each sale.
Two of the chairs will be donated to the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network (SCVAN) and Habitat for Humanity.
According to Byars, construction of the chairs is a great opportunity for students to offer restitution for their crimes. But it is also a great opportunity for them to learn a trade that they can take home with them. Addressing the students who built the chairs, Byars said "Construction is a real skill that you can take with you when you go home . . . this is something positive you can do."
The "BARJ Building Blitz" will begin Monday July 28th and continue through Tuesday, August 14th.
South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice
4900 Broad River Road
Columbia SC, 29212-3552