Ju­ve­nile Pro­ba­tion Of­fice awards ‘good choices’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

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

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ch­ester County Ju­ve­nile Pro­ba­tion Of­fi­cer Chief Don Corry, right, is seen here with the 2016 Ju­ve­nile Pro­ba­tion Of­fi­cer of the Year, Tricia Ush­ler.

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