Tomorrow, August 1st, we celebrate JusticeWorks’ 19th birthday!
In 1999 we incorporated and began our first JustCare service with Lehigh County Juvenile Probation. We had 2 staff; one in Western PA working with delinquent youth placed in public and private institutions, and another in Lehigh who provided support and supervision when kids returned home. We were successful at reducing length of stay in all facilities, and achieved very positive recidivism results. Which started our growth, and today we operate in 91 counties in 5 states with more than 600 staff!
The $300 I invested to create JusticeWorks has worked out pretty well (at the time, it was pretty much all the money I had!).
All of our growth and all of our miracle stories with thousands of children and families each year are only possible because of the commitment and hard work of each of you. We have built a winning culture of doing whatever it takes to achieve a positive outcome with our families AND to be able to document the results of our work so our public sector partners know that their money is well-spent. This formula has kept us going & growing… and will continue to!
I thank each of you for helping to make this possible and for helping to build better futures for children, families and our community.
Soon, you will be receiving a birthday present from JusticeWorks. Enjoy & use/wear with pride!
Every best wish,
We are planning a fantastic 20th Anniversary Party next August… time and place(s) to be announced. Stay tuned!
Email from Megan Coppock, caseworker in Chester County in praise of Rebecca Piorko-Shelly, Visit Coach with JWYC-Chester:
“I would like to take a moment to let you know just how amazing our Visit Coach, Rebecca Piorko-Shelly has been with our family since she joined our “Case” in August of 2016. She was an integral part of our family for approximately 15 months. In that time frame she has gone absolutely above and beyond what was required of her. Rebecca worked so hard to ensure our visits were successful. She educated herself on Bobby’s* diabetes, helped us plan special outings for Bobby, provided transportation for every single visit, no matter how inconvenient it was for her, just to make sure Bobby was never disappointed. Rebecca grew very fond of Bobby and our entire family (my husband, myself and our older 2 sons) and provided very effective “therapy”, communication skills, parenting tools and behavior techniques that contributed in our success. She was the liaison between us and Bobby’s Foster parents, and on many many occasions she would sacrifice her own time to ensure our visit took place. That’s how vested she was in our success. Any family that has the privilege of her as their Visit Coach is absolutely blessed as they are acquiring a hardworking, professional, compassionate and knowledgeable asset to their Team. Rebecca makes being in such a difficult, often traumatic situation very bearable. We would not have been able to endure half of the heartache we went through had it not been for her.
Justice Works is very lucky to have such an amazing person on their team because she embodies every aspect of success. Our family is a true success story and Rebecca was an integral part of that success! I wish her all the happiness she has allowed our family to have, one hundred fold.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith*
*actual names are not used
Thank you, Megan Coppock for sharing this positive feedback and for being such a good working partner. Thank you, Rebecca, for “going above and beyond” for your clients and their family. Your dedication and contribution to the JWYC mission are appreciated and achieve positive outcomes.
Pictured: JWYC Visit Coach, Brenda Arellano
Brenda Arellano, JWYC Visit Coach, makes history by successfully closing our very first reunification case at our JWYC- Ohio branch! The referral was made to JusticeWorks because we had a skilled bilingual professional on staff.
Brenda worked diligently with the family since receiving the case on March 1, 2018. Not only did Brenda establish goals around the children’s needs and explained additional “next steps” for both parents to achieve reunification with their children; Brenda, whose native language is Spanish, also identified additional barriers that were presented while working with the family and with other Spanish speaking families, not only in Ohio but at all JWYC locations. Brenda assisted in the translation of JWYC documents from English to Spanish so that families understood the information presented and were better connected to the services provided by JusticeWorks YouthCare. Being able to communicate with the family and translate information was also beneficial as she frequently communicated with the family’s caseworker, supervisor, and GAL, by phone and submission of weekly progress reports, which helped to reunite the family in a little over two months; sooner than anticipated. The family was relieved that Brenda could not only understand them, but was also there to help break the communication barrier between all parties involved in their case.
Congratulations to Brenda for making JusticeWorks Ohio history and embracing our mission!
JusticeWorks YouthCare is excited to announce the opening of a new Compass Academy, Compass Academy – Schuylkill, for the 2018/2019 academic year. JusticeWorks has enjoyed a strong partnership with Schuylkill County since 2016 and welcomes the opportunity to provide alternative education services for 50 or more Schuylkill County youth.
JWYC Compass Academy is designed to reduce drop-out rates, improve school attendance, and teach skills that enhance academic performance, increase graduation rates, support resiliency development, and provide a full-service credit recovery program. Non-traditional students are given the opportunity to experience learning through small group instruction in a structured environment with teachers that emphasize a differentiated approach to teaching. All materials, curriculum, support, and guidance is provided to support students towards meeting district and state requirements to either graduate or transition back to their home school. Centrally located in Minersville, PA in the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit #29, Compass Academy- Schuylkill will also provide students with access to a wide variety of educational and recreational facilities on site such as an indoor gym, a pool, spacious classrooms, and an independent living suite that offers full kitchen amenities.
Enrollment for the 2018/2019 school year will begin on July 2, 2018 and will be available to students within the 12 Schuylkill County School Districts and school districts in surrounding counties.
JWYC Staff from left to right: Russ Lambing, Lauren Dickinson, Lisa Snyder, Lindsey Jones, and Justin Smyers
On July 3, 2018, JWYC President, Dan Heit, hosted a luncheon in honor of staff at JWYC-Indiana for being recognized by The Pennsylvania Older Youth Retreat Steering Committee as the recipient of The Older Youth Services Agency of the Year Award. Pictured from left to Right: President Dan Heit, Lindsey Jones, Russ Lambing, Lisa Snyder, Lauren Dickinson and Justin Smyers
(Letter to Independent Living Specialist, Lindsey Jones, received from Lisa Kessler, Statewide Resource Specialist, University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work).
Congratulations! On behalf of the Pennsylvania Older Youth Retreat Steering Committee, I am honored to inform you that JusticeWorks YouthCare of Indiana County has been selected as the recipient of the 7th Annual Older Youth Services Agency of the Year Award. Your agency was nominated by youth and alumni who have received services from your agency. The nomination highlights the agency’s efforts to go above and beyond for youth, assisting them in identifying and working toward their goals, and for positively impacting the lives of the youth you serve.
The Older Youth Retreat Steering Committee is comprised of youth and alumni of the child welfare system who plan an annual retreat at the University of Pittsburgh’s Johnstown Campus. The retreat is a week-long experience where youth ages 16-21, from Pennsylvania’s foster care system, have an opportunity to network with their peers. The Retreat Steering Committee felt it was important to acknowledge an agency providing services that positively impact the lives of older youth who are currently in or have aged out of the foster care system in Pennsylvania. Your agency’s commitment to helping youth successfully transition into adulthood has been acknowledged by the youth you serve.
We would like to invite you or your representative to receive this award during the Older Youth Retreat Banquet on Thursday, August 9, 2018 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Johnstown Campus, Living Learning Center.
What is especially notable is that the award came from the positive feedback of the youth we have served. Congratulations to our Independent Living Team – Lindsey Jones, Lisa Snyder, Justin Smyers, Russell Lambing, Lauren Dickinson and of course our Indiana Children and Youth partners, April Bogdanski, Kim Broadbent, Brad Beers, and Holly Moyer-George. Your excellent work with youth in transition to adulthood and dedication to the JWYC Mission is reflected in this award!
Schuylkill County staff member, Vincent “Vince” Troutman, is being recognized by JWYC for his bravery and heroism after rescuing a woman who had been held hostage and physically assaulted for several weeks by an unknown male assailant.
While out in the field, Vince noticed a man dragging a female across the street by her hair and immediately pulled his car over and dialed 911. Although dispatchers encouraged Vince to remain engaged at a distance, the woman was clearly in danger and Vince was unable to watch this physical assault unfold. As an attempt to de-escalate the situation until police arrived, Vince got out of his vehicle and began to call out to the man. As Vince approached, the man panicked and fled the scene. Bruised and shaken up, the woman informed the police that she had been tied up, assaulted, and held hostage for several weeks in the man’s home prior to her escape. The man was later apprehended by police several blocks from the crime scene.
Thank you, Vince, for your bravery and for doing ‘Whatever It Takes’ in all situations by placing your own safety on the line to rescue someone else in dire need of help! Your contributions to the JWYC mission and the community are appreciated.