My Journey Begins

By Kenneth Westberry ’13

Before I applied to the Georgia Justice Project, I was familiar with their work. In my freshman year at Davidson, I remember hearing Doug (Doug Ammar ’84) speak at a dinner at Dean Terry’s house and saying to myself then…”Wow, I need to intern with this guy and his people!” I never was able to get around to it during my summers in college due to various travels. I knew that the Georgia Justice Project (or an organization similar to it) was where I wanted to be once I graduated. The problem is; however, there are not many organizations similar to GJP. What stood out to me then, and still stands out to me now after this first month, is the value in GJP’s systemic theory of change. This theory is presented in the book Forces for Good, explaining: “the most effective non-profits generate impact by combining direct service along with policy efforts.”

This is, working side by side with those whom histories are deemed deplorable by society so that they may become more productive citizens and not regress to a life of crime while simultaneously researching the statistical likelihood that these individuals will return to prison once stably employed.

This is, throwing Christmas parties and Back to School events for the children of clients who are currently incarcerated and may remain so for the next twenty years or more.

My Journey Begins

Doug Ammar ’84 and Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harold Melton

This is, sitting down in our intake lobby with a homeless, ex-offender on Monday, and sitting down in the State-House Lobby with the Governor of Georgia on Thursday to discuss needed legislative changes.

This is true impact.

Yet, even while I was able to say that I was familiar with GJPs work, I cannot say I knew what to expect.

I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with you throughout the year.

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