Juvenile Probation Office awards ‘good choices’
WEST CHESTER >> The proverb says that virtue is its own reward. But sometimes a little recognition for being good can be nice.
This week, two young men who found themselves in trouble with the law and then climbed out of the hole they had dug for themselves were honored by officials from the Chester County Juvenile Probation Office for their success at turning heir lives around.
The pair — whose names are not being published by the Daily Local News for confidentiality reasons — were given the first ever “Good Choices” awards at the department’s annual award ceremony, at which longtime probation supervisor Tricia Ushler was given the 2016 George M. Bratcher III Juvenile Probation Officer of the Year award.
The ceremony was held Wednesday in Courtroom One of the county’s Justice Center
The choice award winners, C.O. and S.C., came into the juvenile justice system as teenagers and eventually found themselves in residential placement. But working with the juvenile probation staff and involving themselves in programs offered by the department, they were discharged from super-
vision successfully. C.O. is working his way through the McDonald’s corporation as a store manager, while S.C. works, attends college, and hopes to be an architect. “Both of these young men experienced significant challenges and obstacles very early in life,” said Don Corry, the county’s chief juvenile probation officer. “Rather than have those
experiences define the rest of their lives, both worked hard to make the internal changes that have led them to their current positive and productive path.”
Said his probation officer, Chris Bernard, “C.O. serves as a role model for all youth within the juvenile justice system, who are inundated with problematic circumstances and barriers that may impede or thwart successful outcomes. C.O. overcame seemingly insurmountable odds and achieved true positive
change through his ability to maintain focus on his goals, despite his struggles and a few poor decisions throughout his journey.”
He did not attend the ceremony because of work duties.
In introducing S.C, who was able to attend, probation officer Melissa Creedon said he had experienced a very abusive childhood and came into the system at 15, “with very little insight as to how his negative behaviors impacted those around him.”
“S.C. has been able to take a very difficult childhood and make changes for himself that are helping him become a more positive member of society,” said Creedon in her remarks to those at the ceremony. “Individuals he worked with, as well as his counselors, say that S.C. is an amazing young man. He is a role model who demonstrates that people can change despite some of the unfavorable conditions they were put in at any stage of their life.”
The Good Choices Award
was created this year in honor of Mothers Against Drunk Driving volunteer Cheryl Nichols, who dedicated 20 years to presenting the “Choices” program to over 2,000 youth involved with the Juvenile Court.
Ushler, the probation officer of the year, is one of the office’s most experienced staff members, celebrating 15 years on staff. In her current role as a diversion specialist, Tricia has worked to increase awareness of the collateral consequences of delinquency
adjudications for youth, as well how to most effectively address victim restoration and skill deficits in the county’s lowest-risk offenders, according to a citation issued by the county commissioners. She works effectively with the District Attorney’s Office, Public Defenders Office, private attorneys and many communitybased child-serving organizations.
“Her experience, hard work and positive demeanor have contributed greatly to
Chester County Juvenile Probation Officer Chief Don Corry, right, is seen here with the 2016 Juvenile Probation Officer of the Year, Tricia Ushler.