ERICKA BRUNNER, ADAMS COUNTY FRS, RECEIVES WELL-DESERVED PRAISE FROM A VERY BRAVE AND DETERMINED MOTHER
I’m sure I am somewhere in your files, but my name is Christine. I have two daughters, one age 12, and the other, age 9. In February 2017, my husband of 10 years poured gasoline on me and tried to light me on fire in front of my children. He was arrested and went to jail accordingly. Unfortunately, even though we were married, I lost everything, having no access to bank accounts, vehicles, or even my own driver’s license. Of course, he was allowed no contact with the girls and me, but his parents tried to sue me for full custody of the girls, citing the trauma I had gone through, as well as the fact that I was homeless, jobless, etc. They even went so far as to take my vehicle, because it was in my husband’s name, knowing a divorce settlement would take years due to his incarceration and unwillingness to sign. Inside the vehicle was the entire year of my children’s homeschool work, which they admitted to destroying. We, in simple terms, we’re screwed.
Then came Justice Works, represented by Ericka Brunner. She began by simply giving me a ride to the DMV to get a new copy of my license. We then moved on to health insurance, food assistance, and educational materials to allow the girls to bypass their homeschool review and test out for the year. By the end of her time with my family, I managed to retain full custody, (they were forced to drop the suit entirely) find therapy services for my children, who now have PTSD, and encourage me to shoot for the stars and apply for my dream job.
I now work from home, full time, as a legal marketing strategist. The girls can remain homeschooled, and I make enough to support us. This year I was even able to swing a lovely Christmas.
The girls and I are eternally grateful for the help we received. Being an adult, I realize how close I came to losing my precious children, through no fault of my own. I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know Justice Works… WORKS.
A year later I am able to support my family with no form of public assistance, I have a great job, and I learned it is ok to do things MY way and be successful. Without Ericka to encourage me, I would have given up. I was at the end of my patience, and frankly, my will to try.
Please keep doing what you do. You truly are SAVING LIVES and families. I wanted to go beyond the paperwork and give you my personal thanks and support you as much as you supported us. If you EVER need any form of testimony, please contact me. I will never forget you, or Ericka, and my girls and I are living proof that you guys are truly needed and truly successful.
Christine, you are not only in our files but also in our hearts. Thank you, for providing wonderful feedback on FRS, Ericka Brunner. Thank you, Ericka, for supporting and partnering with Christine in the spirit of the JusticeWorks’ Mission. It is through the power of positive relationships that true healing begins!
And we’re off! Tryouts were held in October to create our 2018-2019 Compass Academy Lycoming basketball team! Each week we have been preparing for our 7-game schedule through practices onsite at our new school building and at the Williamsport YMCA. But we aren’t just practicing for basketball – we are preparing for life! Included in these practices are leadership development exercises and honest conversations about the challenges our youth face daily. Each week, our team grows stronger. The individual strengths of our participants support the foundation of cohesive teamwork! We would love for our JusticeWorks squad to come out and cheer us on at one of our games, starting on 11/29 in Hazelton at Immanuel Christian! Wish us luck!
Pictured above: far left is Visit Coach, Natasha Gee, Director, Katrina Allen, President & CEO, Dan Heit, Brenda Arellano,Regional Director, Errone Cody, Administrative Assistant/ Case Aide Lynnita Radford and Chief Financial Officer, Matt Davin. Back left: Visit Coach, Julius Carter, and Visit Coach, Brian Schmidt.
JusticeWorks Ohio held their Open House on October 24, 2018. Representatives from Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services, ProKids of Cincinnati, Hamilton County Probation, Little Flower Church, Mt. Airy Community Council, and other neighborhood friends were in attendance. We are so proud of our community support!
JusticeWorks Ohio has completed ten successful family reunifications since they opened their doors. 29 additional families are eager to be a part of that same success as they participate in Visitation Services.
Our Open House also included our President & CEO, Dan Heit, Chief Financial Officer, Matthew Davin, Director of Evaluation & Quality Assurance, Annette Trunzo, and Western Regional Director, Errone Cody.
Our JusticeWorks Ohio team did a great job preparing for our “Whatever It Takes/Kids First” Open House. The team introduced an icebreaker game and hosted a free raffle that included two beautiful gift baskets. The event was catered by Chef Mary Taylor owner and operator of The Taste of The Taylor Blend, LLC.
We ended the night with new friends, plenty of laughs, and great food!
Thank you to everyone that made our Open House a great success!
The JusticeWorks Ohio Team
On October 26, the staff in Schuylkill County ran a Clothing Drive for the ‘Schuylkill County Make a Difference Day’! Over the last few weeks, JusticeWorks has been accepting donations, bringing in donations, and organizing clothes. JusticeWorks opened the office to the public today so that families could come in and shop for free clothing! In addition, staff provided homemade refreshments for all to enjoy! Students from Compass, Mt. Carmel, volunteered their time and assisted with keeping the clothing rooms organized. Many families and community members benefited from this event. Pictured: From top left, Nate Keys (Student from Compass Mt. Carmel), Kaylee Kerstetter (assisting a client), Laurie McGee, Patty Gilgore, Janet Ramos, Trista Renninger, Vince Troutman, Samantha Gerdeman, Kaitlyn Miller, Renee Warner, & Jesselyn Heaps.
On September 27, 2018, at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Pocono Manor, Pa., our Adams & Franklin County Program Director, Sean Lazarus, was awarded the President’s Award by the JDCAP organization (Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs).
This award was established by JDCAP President Chuck McLister in 2005. This award is selected, without nomination, by the President of the Association, in consultation with the Executive Director. The award is given to the member agency Administrator, or similarly ranking leader, who has exhibited model participation, exceptional leadership, and dedication to the JDCAP mission above and beyond what is expected of any active member. This association member will have volunteered their time, incurred personal sacrifice, all while maintaining their “day jobs” as department heads and senior managers of their organization.
Sean’s professionalism and passion for his work reflect the JusticeWorks mission of doing ‘whatever it takes’ to assist families in reaching, and sometimes exceeding their goals.
Sean is a member of JDCAP and has been a vocal participant on the legislative subcommittee.
Congratulations Sean! It is an award well-deserved.
JusticeWorks-Lycoming will now provide Behavioral Support Services in the South Williamsport School District. The Behavioral Support Program is an extension of services currently offered by JusticeWorks in the South Williamsport School District and will commence at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.
Over the past three years, JWYC’s Alternative Education Program, Compass Academy-Lycoming has been in partnership with South Williamsport Area School District and have provided educational and academic support to students with various behavioral challenges. As a result of our collaboration, students have demonstrated significant academic and behavioral progress. Due to the success of the alternative education program, South Williamsport School District approached JusticeWorks with a need for behavioral support services within two of the district’s elementary schools.
In May, Regional Director, Jeffrey Ralph, Director of Program Development, Dipesh Chauhan, and Director, Ian Nutt met with Dr. Mark Stamm, Superintendent of the South Williamsport School District, to discuss the potential for JusticeWorks to expand current services offered by JWYC. After further discussion and additional meetings, Jeff, Dipesh, and Ian identified the needs of the district and created a Behavioral Support Services proposal that was ultimately approved by South Williamsport School District on 7/16/18!
Julie Waldman will join the JusticeWorks team as the Behavioral Analyst for the Behavioral Support Program. Julie will be engaging the youth and families through home visits, individual and group sessions, school meetings, and various forms of behavioral intervention at school.
JusticeWorks is very excited to have the opportunity to expand our partnership with the South Williamsport Area School District and look forward to another successful school year!