Celebrating 10 Years of Natural Helpers in Montgomery County, Ohio!
On October 16, 2013, Montgomery County Juvenile Court, Judge Nick Kuntz and Judge Anthony Capizzi hosted the 10th annual Natural Helper Recognition Banquet. As one of the first Reclaiming Futures sites, this year’s celebration was significant as Montgomery County was celebrating its 10th year of our Natural Helpers Program. Volunteers and community partners that have made this initiative a success were recognized for their achievements. This year’s event was held at The Salvation Army, Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Dayton Ohio. Over 100 community leaders, partners, natural helpers and juvenile court staff were in attendance.
The evening also showcased the talents of many students from two local high schools. Kettering Fairmont High School Acapella Group, Eleventh Hour, and Stivers School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble provided entertainment for the evening. Special guest speaker Scott McGohan, CEO of McGohan Brabender provided an inspirational message for all in attendance. Judge Nick Kuntz and Judge Anthony Capizzi gave special recognition to 12 natural helpers for their years of service, assistance on advisory projects, and for their distinguished services to the youth of Montgomery County.
Horse Therapy as Intervention Strategy for Young People
Winston Churchill once said, "There’s just something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." Horse therapy has indeed been proven effective in several different cases regarding mental health, addiction, physical therapy, and human development. Hardin County, Ohio is putting this idea to the test.
The H.A.Y. program will provide intervention strategies for the adjudicated youth who need a way to build self-confidence, leadership skills, and group interaction capabilities. The young people will have 12 weekly sessions to create a bond with their horse, as well as the people, of Serenity Stables.
“The horses do not care who you are, what trouble you have been in, or what problems you may have. Each youth will be able to establish a bond with an animal that is totally non-judgmental,” Judge Christopher, Hardin County Juvenile Court, explains.
This type of bond will serve to build confidence in the young people of Hardin County and help them develop a new, healthier mindset. Judge Christopher also believes the people of Serenity Stable, who have ample experience working with challenged youth, will serve to be positive role models for the participants.
Fitness Program Encourages Healthy Lifestyle in Hocking County Juvenile Justice
Preventing drug use before it begins, especially among our youth, is a cost-effective way to reduce substance abuse and its negative consequences. A great way to achieve this is by encouraging an overall healthy lifestyle, which is exactly what the Hocking County Juvenile Court (HCJC) did this summer in Ohio.
HCJC partnered with North’s Fitness Center, a local gym, to invite 14 court-involved young people to exercise in their facility at no cost for the duration of the six-week summer program called “Crush-It Fitness”.
Similar to programs like SPORT and InShape, Hocking County’s Crush-It Fitness was designed to channel the youth’s free time into something positive and guide them toward a healthier lifestyle—a tactic that can be very effective to prevent substance abuse and reduce recidivism.
A celebration ceremony was held on Sept. 12, 2013 to recognize the young people who completed the program. They received t-shirts and positive affirmations. Participants gave mixed reviews on the program—mandating exercise is tough business! But, a combination of logistic and planning feedback came in that will help Hocking County succeed if they continue the “Crush-It Fitness” program in summer 2014.
Major Gains for Family Engagement in Indiana’s Juvenile Justice System
Last year, the Vera Institute of Justice’s Family Justice Program wrapped up a multi-year project to develop and pilot family engagement standards for the Performance-based Standards Learning Institute. All juvenile corrections facilities participating in PbS are now collecting information related to family engagement—including a survey of family members twice a year. There are currently 48 facilities across 15 states collecting family surveys with a total of 1,033 family surveys collected since the start of the project.
One of the original pilot states is already benefiting from having data on family engagement after implementing the new standards last fall. Based on feedback from their PbS reports, Indiana’s Pendleton Juvenile Correctional facility decided to increase their rates of visitation. They analyzed their visitation policies and made drastic changes—opening up visitation hours to just about any time a family member can get to the facility. In addition to the expanded visiting hours, all restrictions on the number of visits a young person could receive were lifted.
These changes went into effect at the beginning of this year and, after just a few short months, the staff are seeing big changes. Not only did they successfully double their normal rate of visitation, they saw improved behavior by young people in the facility. The Family Justice Program found a similar correlation between improved behavior and visits in Ohio.
Juvenile Court Awarded $975,000 in Montgomery County, Ohio
Congratulations to Reclaiming Futures Montgomery County!
Under the leadership of Honorable Anthony Capizzi, this Juvenile Drug Court was recently awarded $975,000 from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The three-year Drug Court Expansion grant supports Montgomery County's efforts to unite juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Through this grant, Ohio will be able to serve an additional 45 families per year and 135 over the grant's three-year span.
Together, they are improving drug and alcohol treatment and connecting teens to positive activities and caring adults.
There is statewide interest in Ohio to expand the Reclaiming Futures model beyond the four current sites. If you know community leaders interested in breaking the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime, or philanthropies investing in juvenile justice reform, we'd like to hear from you.
For more information about bringing Reclaiming Futures to your community, please call Susan Richardson at 503-725-8914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Map at right illustrates current (blue) and potential (orange and green) Reclaiming Futures communities in Ohio.
We Need Mentors: Lucas County, Ohio, in the News
Have you ever wondered how you could make a difference in the lives of young people in your community?
Less than one year into a $1.3 million grant, Lucas County Reclaiming Futures Project Director LaTonya Harris breaks it down for Leading Edge guest host Rob Wiercinski in Toledo, Ohio.
Watch this video to learn how they are decreasing recidivism and increasing drug court graduation rates. They will make even greater strides with more mentors to provide positive activities for teens:
Report from the Field: Hardin County, Ohio
Despite the fact that synthetic marijuana use is soaring around areas like Hardin County, Ohio, we continue to successfully break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime using our proven six-step model. At a recent site visit, we found that Reclaiming Futures Hardin County has:
- Strong, committed teamwork that uses a holistic, seamless, coordinated system of support for teens
- Effective, solid partnership with Ohio Northern University – good evaluation and site analysis with the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) data, and impressive internship development
- Cohesion: Probation, Behavioral Health Services and Recovery School all under one roof
- Superb GAIN rates, particularly upon follow up
- Many Evidence-Based Treatment options
- Well-implemented service coordination, with many positive pro-social activities (fishing, scrapbooking, archery, 4-H club, and community service opportunities)
- Great local partnerships, for example, teen financial literacy training with the local credit union
- Strong sustainability strategy
- Good representation at Juvenile Treatment Court staffing/team meeting, with input from many partners around the table
- Good communication with parents, evident by their attendance at the Juvenile Treatment Court hearing and positive interactions during family updates and high school graduation celebration at court
- Excellent feedback from youth and parents during interviews after court
- Wonderful community activities and exceptional fundraising events
Kudos to the Reclaiming Futures team in Hardin County, Ohio!
Successfully Tackling Generations of Substance Abuse and Crime
Leaders in Hardin County, Ohio, are using the proven Reclaiming Futures six-step model and strong collaboration to break the generational cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime in their community.
In the video below, Wade Melton, program director of Hardin County Juvenile Court and director of Hardin Community School, describes how Reclaiming Futures positively impacts his work:
Stay tuned for an update about my recent site visit to Hardin County, Ohio.
RECLAIM Ohio: A Promising Alternative to Teen Incarceration
PEW recently published a report revealing the effectiveness of the RECLAIM (Reasoned and Equitable Community and Local Alternatives to Incarceration of Minors) funding initiative in Ohio. The report found RECLAIM to be highly successful in lowering recidivism rates and saving the state millions of dollars:
RECLAIM is an initiative funding program that allows county courts to implement community based programs in order to provide alternatives to juvenile incarceration for juvenile offenders or youth at risk of offending. The increased funding for counties is based on an equation that refunds counties for the time juvenile offenders would have spent if they had been committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services (DYS) state facility.
Like many states in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Ohio saw an increase in the incarcerated youth population. By 1992, the state reached an all-time high of 180 percent of capacity with many of the youth being first-time nonviolent offenders. The idea was that by better serving low to medium risk offenders through locally tailored community programs, admissions would decrease as well as recidivism rates.
Celebrating Success in Hardin County, Ohio
Reclaiming Futures Hardin County recently hosted our first annual Run for Recovery 5k Run/Walk & Kids Dash. The event was held in order to involve the community in the services offered from both Hardin Community School and Reclaiming Futures, while encouraging our youth to live a healthier lifestyle. The name Run for Recovery was chosen in order to incorporate Hardin County youth in all aspects of recovery, including education, along with recovery from drugs, alcohol, crime, and mental health problems.
The race was held Saturday May 25th, 2013 at Hardin Community School/Lifeworks Center. Roughly 160 runners/walkers and youth took place in the 5k and kids dash. Each participant received a goody bag filled with local offerings and a Run for Recovery 5k t-shirt.
Businesses, organizations and individuals from the community astounded us with their overwhelming support months leading up to the race! Nearly 40 separate entities showed their support with monetary donation, door prize donations, post-race refreshment, prizes for the kid’s dash, participants’ goodie bag contributions, and sponsorships for kid’s entry fees, not to mention the countless volunteers who helped with race preparation.
Race morning was no different! Our team was greeted race morning with over 20 volunteers to help us organize. Volunteers from the Sheriff’s Office, Kenton Police Department, mentors, Hardin Community Schools’ 4-H chapter, and Hardin County Vietnam vets were on site to assist our team. Throughout the race, public bystanders lined the streets to watch as the race participants passed by their homes and offices. A huge hit for the crowd was seeing Hardin County Juvenile Court’s K9, Cory, complete the 5k with her handler Sheriff Deputy Rushing.