In the scheduled March meeting of the Ashe County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, four program providers gave presentations to members of the council in order to receive funding for next year.
During the April meeting, the Board will vote to decide which organizations will receive funding from Ashe County, to help with the county’s children.
The first program provider to present was Project Challenge, which provides services to children in over 30 counties,. Money for this program will be allocated by not only Ashe County, but Alleghany, Wilkes and Yadkin counties as well.
“We are a private nonprofit charitable organization,” said Kathy Weaver, program director for the 23rd Judicial District. “Here in Ashe County I provide youth the opportunity to become confident, productive members of their community.”
Some of the different things the organization does with youth includes cleaning classrooms at Wilkes Community College, washing cars, picking up trash and making cards for seniors in the nursing homes. In addition, the organization provides transportation for youth in community service and tutoring.
The organization operates in 33 counties, mostly in Western N.C. and was started in 1994 in the 24th Judicial District.
“Project Challenge also provides youth the opportunities to work hours they have been court ordered to do and also gives them the opportunity to earn $5 a hour to pay restitution to their victims,” Weaver said. “Level 1 offenders can earn up to $500 and Level 2 offenders can earn up to $1,000.”
Project Challenge’s program agreement with the Ashe County JCPC requests to provide for 25 juveniles with contacts for twice a month. The estimated average cost per youth is $728.
In February, Project Challenge was recommended for continued funding.
Founded in 1891, Barium Springs works to provide safe homes for children in Ashe and 40 other counties in Western North Carolina.
The nonprofit is based in Statesville, but has regional offices in Asheville and Wilkesboro. In their residential temporary programs they provide group homes, temporary shelter and other psychological services.
“We have consoling services available to each youth when they are placed in our shelter for the group home services program,” said Matt Gaunt, western regional director for Barium Springs. “Temporary shelter stays are up to 30 days and longer stays for group homes are up to 60 days.”
If funded the money will provide one Ashe County youth temporary shelter for 30 days and two youth can receive foster care for 30 days each.
In February, Barium Springs was recommended for continued funding.
Promoting Adolescents through Individual Relationships (PAIRS)
PAIRS is a mentor program for students in grades fourth through ninth, which is used at all five Ashe County Schools.
Right now, students are being served at all five of Ashe County’s Schools, according to Kristy Aldridge, Ashe County community and schools program coordinator.
“We all work in fields where I don’t have to explain the importance of mentoring,” she said. “You all know that.”
PAIRS agrees to serve 35 youth in the county.
“There’s always challenges of getting parents to agree,” Aldridge said. “These are the kids where their parents don’t always want others to know what is going on with them in their personal life.”
Aldridge said there have been some mentors that have dropped because of health or work issues.
PAIRS wants to serve 35 youth with more emphasis of mentor placement in grades fourth and fifth.
In February, PAIRS was recommended for continued funding.
Juvenile Mediation sits down with children and parents involved with the truancy cases.
“We try to be preventative before juveniles get to the court levels,” said Fawn Roark, who covers Mediation for Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.
Much of the focus of mediation is not necessarily on the children, but the parents who are also responsible of getting their children to school.
“A lot of times the kids will say ‘I’m trying to always get mom up, I can’t get her to take me to school,’” Roark said.
From there, Mediation provides resources to children and refer parents to classes.
When there are references from the department of juvenile justice, Mediation then works on “victim-offender mediation.”
Juvenile Mediation plans to serve 24 Ashe County juveniles in the 2014-15 FY.
In February, Juvenile Mediation was recommended for continued funding.
Project Challenge this year returned funding it did not use to the Ashe County JCPC, according to ACJCPC President Grier Hurley.
“In this particular situation, Project Challenge has under spent some,” Hurley said. “Of course it is a multi-county agreement, so you have to divide it out. Ashe County has $760 which was under spent.”
The money can either be returned to the state or be reallocated to one of their current programs. Hurley said all of the four JCPCs involved in the 23rd District have decided to reallocate the funding.
“I would hate to send it back to the state if it can be spent elsewhere for one of our current programs,” Hurley said.
Programs will need to submit their request by email by April 15 to be considered.
Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.