I would like to share a very heart-warming experience we had at the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We are a relatively small detention facility (35 beds) and temporarily hold juveniles ages 12-17 that have been referred by law enforcement or juvenile court.
This year, the staff offered a variety of suggestions for voluntary contributions for the holidays, took a vote, and Nothing But Nets was chosen to get our support. We decided to invite the residents to also participate in this life-saving program, and the staff was thrilled with the results.
The detention center operates on a behavior management program, and the residents are able to earn points for anything from making their beds to participating in activities to completing chores. The points are not necessarily easy to come by – earning full points for a day of school will “net” a resident 30 points. They can use these earned points to purchase privileges of their choosing, including time on the Playstation, buying a candy bar, renting a movie, etc. Based on our point/monetary value ratio, we set a price of 300 points per net.
During one of their classes in school, the kids were educated about Nothing But Nets and they were encouraged to save a child’s life by purchasing a net. Coincidentally, we had two immigrants from Kenya who were residing with us at the time. It was amazing how touched these teens were by the knowledge that so many children are dying from malaria and that this is so easily preventable. Their response was fantastic. One of the residents was instrumental in creating a bulletin board and each time a resident or staff member would contribute $10 (or 300 points), we would place another “net” on the map of Africa. In two and a half weeks time, the kids donated enough points to purchase 23 nets!!! They were purchased along with the staff’s contribution of 28 nets – at total of 51 nets.
We were happy to participate in such a worthwhile cause and truly enjoyed Rick Reilly’s educating and captivating articles about Nothing But Nets. We wish the Nothing But Nets team and supporters nothing but ongoing success in continuing to help those who need it most!