Custom birdhouses help teens make restitution payments

One Roanoke program has a unique way to help teens who had run-ins with the law. The goal is to teach young people life skills and help them design products that many people use at home.

“Project Payback” helps teens earn the money they owe the court system for fines and court fees. This year, the teens built birdhouses to raise money. Some of the artwork includes cartoons, military themes and other unique designs.

Organizers said each piece is up for sale with prices ranging from $5 to $20. The money raised help pay restitution cost. Counselors said painting the birdhouses are a therapeutic way for teens to gain confidence and learn valuable life skills.

“They are involved in a positive activity” said Jim O’Hare, Project Payback organizer. “It is something the teen can work on with their hands and they have a product at the end.”

O’Hare said many of the supplies were donated by the community. The group partnered with Junior Achievement to help sell the birdhouses and make restitution payments The teens plan to have a booth at next month’s Art and Crafts show at the Roanoke Civic Center.

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