Multigenerational volunteer duo support young people in police custody

Human Resources professional, Zavier Harris, had been looking for a way to contribute to his community, but not just in any old way. “I wanted to volunteer for something where I could support my community using my skills, something that I’m passionate about it,” explained Zavier.

Zavier knew that his grandmother, Sharon King Harris, volunteered with CMY’s Youth Referral and Independent Persons Program (YRIPP). This program offers invaluable support to young people being held in custody through a network of trained and impartial volunteers who help safeguard their legal rights and monitor their welfare. Sharon has been volunteering with YRIPP since its earliest days, around 14 years ago.

“I get a lot of passion out of volunteering because I believe that youth need someone that cares for them and that is what YRIPP represents for me,” says Sharon.

Sharon Harris and Zavier Harris

Zavier and his grandmother had talked many times about Sharon’s experiences volunteering with YRIPP, and it was something that had always captivated Zavier. After doing some more research about the program, Zavier had found the role he was looking for.
Without telling his grandmother, Zavier joined YRIPP. It wasn’t until his training in the program started that he told Sharon that he
would be a volunteer too. “I was on the moon when he told me,” exclaimed Sharon.

For Sharon, having her grandson join the program was to realise that there is a new generation willing to help their community. When Sharon and Zavier talk about what it means to be a part of YRIPP, they show what truly drives them.

“It is to be that voice for the young person and be sure to look after everything they need, and that the due process is followed. It is a great program that I enjoy being part of,” explains Zavier.

While for Sharon, “working with youth is the most treasurable thing. It is the most well-worthy thing you could do because they are our tomorrow, and if we can give them options in life and they take them, our tomorrow would be a lot safer, a lot
better, and we would be building our community of tomorrow.”

With the help of our incredibly dedicated volunteers, like Sharon and Zavier, we are a step closer to creating a society that respects everyone’s human rights and is fair and equal.

If you’re interested to become a YRIPP volunteer, visit: