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!
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.
Left to right: JWYC Supervisor, Leah Bogdanski, and FRS Lori Hubert
JWYC received a call from a distraught mother who reported that her house was on fire. Indiana County Supervisor, Leah Bogdanski, and Family Resource Specialist, Lori Hubert, immediately responded to the home to assist.
While on scene, Leah and Lori worked with three Indiana County CYS workers to help guide the family to safety and provide food. In addition to ensuring the wellbeing of the parents and their five children during the fire, the duo went above and beyond by working to get an aftercare plan in place for the family after the fire. For instance, one of the children, an infant, was on special prescription formula. Leah and Lori called the infant’s pediatrician and made arrangements for the formula to be available for the baby at the hospital. They also contacted the Red Cross for disaster relief assistance. In order to process the referral, the Red Cross needed specific documentation which was lost in the fire. Leah thought of the idea of accessing the information through the JWYC data-base system, ClientTrax. Social security paperwork, which had the family’s address and other relevant information needed, was uploaded by JWYC staff and provided to the Red Cross so the family was able to receive additional aid.
As temporary living situations were assessed for each family member, CYS contemplated sending one of the children to reside with a relative who showed up at the scene. Leah and Lori shared relevant background information about this family member to CYS so that an informed decision of the child’s placement was made not to send the child with the relative. Had Leah and Lori not been actively involved in the case, and at the scene, CYS may have placed this child with a family member that would have otherwise been considered a safety concern.
Leah and Lori did an awesome job working together and with CYS in order to provide this family with emotional and tangible support prior to, during, and after the fire.
Thank you, Leah and Lori, for your collaboration with Indiana County CYS and doing ‘Whatever it Takes’ to ease this family’s burden during a tragedy! Great job!
(An email received from the Children & Youth Services Administrator of Adams County.)
I just wanted to take a moment and tell you what an absolutely fantastic job Sean and his staff are doing in Adams County. We have had so many new initiatives and changes at our Agency over the past year or so, and your staff have really embraced it and we truly consider JusticeWorks to be part of our Adams County CYS family . They are at the Agency daily and their response times are remarkable- it so exciting that we have a provider that is so flexible and willing to adjust to meet our needs. The Family Engagement Initiative, in particular, has been very successful because Sean was part of it- we are seen as trend setters across the state, and other counties want to mirror what is happening here in Adams County- the FEI has been a really exciting and even fun project because of our amazing FEI oversight team.
Sean is a strong leader and I wanted to take a moment and recognize that. I am not sure that he has shared with you- but in addition to presenting at our PCYA meeting in two weeks, he is also our Act 33 coordinator and, as of yesterday, he is the vice president of the Adams County CYS Advisory Board.
We feel really blessed to have JusticeWorks in our county- thank you!
Enjoy the rest of your week.
Sarah A. Finkey
Adams County Children & Youth Services
When Dan Heit asked Director Finkey if we could publish her kind comments, she agreed and added “Thank you for bringing JusticeWorks to Adams County- we are a better community because of it.”
We know that our good work depends on a robust positive partnership with county agencies, clearly we have that spectacularly in Adams County. Children and families are the beneficiaries of that great working partnership.
Compass Academy – Williamsport Open House
May 31, 2018
Compass Academy had another spectacular close to an incredible year! Our Open House included parents, providers, universities, judges, juvenile probation and a commissioner. We are very proud of the community support that we have been blessed with in Lycoming County.
Our Open House included a motivational keynote by our President & CEO, Dan Heit, and a moving speech by one of our graduating seniors, An-Nisa (see below).
Thank you to everyone that made 2017-2018 school year a success!
Pictured from left to right: Ian Nutt, JWYC Director of Lycoming County, An-Nisa, graduating senior, and President & CEO of JWYC, Dan Heit:
Open House Attendees!
President & CEO, Dan Heit providing the Keynote Address:
A message from An-Nisa to everyone that attended the Open House!
An Indiana County Youth who had participated in our Independent Living Program, shared her success with a post on Facebook (see below). Thank you, Phyllis, for mentioning JusticeWorks in your post. We are so proud of you! Many thanks to Lindsey Jones, our Independent Living Specialist, and to our Indiana County team!