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Letter To The Editor: Thank you for supporting our program

I just wanted to take the time and tell Salem Taylor and the Stanly County United Way board members how thankful and grateful we are for the $1,500 grant that was awarded to the Stanly County Juvenile Restitution Program.

The Stanly County Juvenile Restitution Program is a monetary restitution and community service program that provides juveniles with the opportunity to be held accountable for their actions to the community and/or victim(s) through performing supervised community service work and/or monetary payment within the timeline stipulated in the court order or diversion contract.

The program allows the juvenile to work in order to make restitution to a victim, thereby making the juvenile accountable for his/her actions. By making the juvenile “pay” for his/her actions, rather than the parent, this helps to reduce family conflict.

Supervising juveniles while working in the community forces them to act responsibly, work with prosocial peers and adults and learn to respect authority figures, build communication skills, develop independent living skills and build self-esteem and respect.

In turn, these skills help alleviate persistent behavioral problems. Holding juveniles accountable for delinquent acts can help deter repeat offenses.

The restitution program also works with juveniles who have been suspended from school. This helps to eliminate delinquent behaviors while juveniles are out on school suspensions, as well as make the juvenile do something more constructive with his/her time.

The goal of the program is to reduce delinquent behaviors, deter further penetration into the juvenile justice system and to teach accountability to referred juveniles.

The money was greatly needed and was put toward our registration fee for our 24th National Symposium on Juvenile Services, which is a week filled with training for staff.

We were also able to attend a Global Justice Training in Las Vegas, Nevada for a week as well.

Beginning in December, North Carolina will no longer be charging juveniles ages 16 and 17 as adults, with some exceptions. This age group will be charged as juveniles.

The trainings we have been blessed with this money will help us prepare for these changes.

Thanks again for granting us this money to our organization.

Trainings are expensive but very much needed to make sure our program is offering these kids the best skills and resources we can give them.

After all, our kids are our future and what we invest in them now is what we expect the outcome will hold for us in the future.

Shelly D. Kersey,
director of Stanly County Juvenile
Restitution Program