YRTC-Geneva Recognizes University Mentors at Spring Banquet

Geneva – Four student mentors from the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) and Kearney (UNK), and other vital volunteers were recognized at the Geneva Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center’s (YRTC Geneva) annual recognition banquet Friday, April 13, for their dedicated service to the young women at the facility.

The theme for this year’s program was “Hear Me Roar.” YRTC Geneva staff and youth decorated the gymnasium with a jungle motif, and many attendees dressed for the occasion – in safari attire. Special guest speaker DeMoine Adams “appropriately challenged the YRTC youth to R.O.A.R. – use Resiliency, Optimistic, Attitude and Respect and never be defeated,” shared 36-year advisory board member Sharon Kennel, adding, “This may have been one of the best banquets ever.”

DeMoine Adams is an inspirational speaker and former UNL football player, currently serving as program director for the TeamMates Mentoring Program in Lincoln. TeamMates offers one-to-one mentoring programs to youth in 70 public and parochial schools, and was founded by Tom Osborne, former head football coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Also recognized at the banquet were Jackie and Jim Wilkins, who oversee the YRTC’s Equine Program, Compassion in Action volunteers from Omaha who visit the YRTC Geneva twice a month to officiate religious services, and members of the Community Advisory Board.

In addition, Della Crutcher and Jeannette Balcom, both of Geneva, were recognized as new volunteers. Crutcher shared that her previous experience as a team member at YRTC Geneva drew her back as a volunteer. “I just can’t stay away from these girls,” she said. “I look forward to working with them again.”

Facility Administrator Dan Scarborough also took a moment to give special recognition to long-term volunteer Marilyn Christiancy. Christiancy, who recently passed away, emulated everything a volunteer should be and contributed countless hours as an advisory board member, Scarborough said.

He went on to thank all volunteers for their various contributions. “We are grateful for our volunteers’ selflessness, compassion and commitment. Time is a precious thing, and our volunteers willingly donate theirs to help us accomplish our mission. The difference they make, sometimes simply in showing up for the youth at the YRTC, is immeasurable, as is the positive support received from the citizens of Geneva and the surrounding area.”

More than 100 YRTC Geneva youth, team members and their families, and volunteers attended this year’s banquet.

The YRTC Geneva provides a place where young women can learn, develop a sense of self, and return to their homes as good, law-abiding citizens. It uses a variety of programs to meet the youth’s needs, and team members provide teaching and emotional support.

Volunteer opportunities at the YRTC Geneva abound. Those interested in volunteering at the YRTC Geneva may contact Recreation Specialist Shirley Kamler at Shirley.Kamler@nebraska.gov or at (402)759-3164.

Legislative Bill to Provide Youth Counsel Fails

On March 14th, LB158, introduced by Sen. Pansing-Brooks, failed to pass first-round debate. This bill would have ensured that youth are provided legal counsel anytime they appear in court. LB158 also stated that juveniles and their guardians would be informed of their right to retain such counsel as needed. 

LB158 expanded on legislation passed in 2016 which ensured that juveniles in counties of populations 150,000 or more would be guaranteed access to counsel.

Those in opposition to the bill stated that requiring every juvenile to have counsel would break county budgets.

The cloture vote failed with a vote of 31-8, with 33 votes needed to invoke cloture.

17th Annual International Youth Dialogue

Dr. Anne Hobbs just got back from her trip to Malaysia for the 17th Annual International Youth Dialogue, where she was a plenary speaker on “International Views and Approaches to Alternatives to Detention.” This year, young people from 43 countries attended the dialogue themed “Our Roles in Solving Juvenile Delinquency,” and then drafted a declaration that will be brought back to their respective home countries and shared with the United Nations.

You can read the declaration here.

NJJA Conference in Kearney

The Juvenile Justice Institute will be attending the 2017 Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association’s annual conference in Kearney, Nebraska. On Wednesday at 4:30 pm, Dr. Hobbs and Dr. Wylie will present to Juvenile Diversion programs on current data trends in Nebraska, followed by a panel discussion with diversion program staff.