As interns, Iveth Salinas and Jocelyn Garmendez learned the ropes of being a juvenile probation officer in Harris County this summer and were given the chance to climb even higher by suggesting improvements to programs to executive staff of the agency.
Iveth Salinas accompanied juvenile probation officers on home visits to ensure juveniles were following court orders. She also attended the (P)roper Self Image (A)cademics, (C)Character and (E)mployment or PACE Program, which offers educational training, individual counseling, employment readiness, and parent training to adjudicated youth and their families.
As part of the program, juveniles were asked to research and share information with their peers on important issues. Salinas’ group decided on a PowerPoint on Bullying, and they presented a skit on a basketball court where the bullying was stopped before it even got started.
“They stopped the aggression,” said Salinas. “They said they were on probation and that it wasn’t worth the fight.”
In a meeting with deputy directors of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, Salinas suggested that juveniles in the program need more structure, such as deadlines and goals to achieve every week, to get the job done.
“We were given the chance to suggest ways to modify or add to agency programs,” said Salinas. “We might see something that probation officers don’t after spending years with the same program. They might get stuck in the old way of doing things.” . . . Read more . . .