What makes JW special? Our people!
Mike grew up in Reading, PA – and had seen second-hand the impact that violence has on families. That sparked an interest in juvenile justice. He enrolled at Penn State University’s Capitol campus, earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and a Master’s in Applied Psych. His belief was that working with the 8-21 year-old population would help to prevent them from becoming a part of the correctional system as adults.
After graduating, Mike worked as a TSS and mobile therapist for a youth detention center in Steelton, PA. He returned to Reading to work with a ‘Good Guides’ juvenile justice program funded by the US DOJ. According to Mike, this program had a similar-to-JusticeWorks belief in “Whatever it Takes.” It was successful in keeping kids off the streets while engaging them in more productive, safe, and fun activities.
When asked the best thing about working at JusticeWorks, Mike states “the organized structure of JW, but also the ‘boots on the ground’ strategy, since it allows the FRS’s to tailor services specifically to each child and family. This enables you to make a difference to them.” Mike has always been part-time, so he appreciates the ability to flex his schedule
Mike’s advice for a new hire? “Observe first, to learn what a particular family’s needs are; don’t assume authority until you understand those. Your approach has to be specifically tailored -it’s not one size fits all. You need to build trust and respect the family’s privacy – you’re a part of their team.”
When not working, Mike enjoys spending time with his 3 dogs, who are rescues.
“Mike has been an asset to Berks County since day one. Mike’s approach to working with families and his ability to engage with youth has made him successful in helping to foster change within youth/families involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.”