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The Journal Gazette on 7/28/2023 by Ashley Sloboda
As Andrea Trevino greeted seven high schoolers at a Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne facility Thursday, the Allen Superior Court judge acknowledged her presence at the celebratory setting was likely jarring.
“You all see me usually not at your best, right?” Trevino asked. “Usually, you’re in court, been through something. You think you’re in front of me to get in trouble, right?”
That wasn’t the case at the Jim Kelley Career Pathway Center. It and the Allen County Juvenile Probation division were celebrating a four-day program that allows teens on probation to explore various trades, including construction and automotive, and build their skills.
“Our goal is always to leave you better than when you first came to us,” Trevino said. “We want you to build a bright future.”
The audience, which included probation officers, applauded and cheered as each teen accepted a Careers Exploration Academy certificate of completion and posed for photos with Trevino and Joe Jordan of the Boys & Girls Clubs.
“I hope you’ve seen that you have a community that cares about you,” said Jordan, president and CEO.
The teens murmured their agreement as Jordan guessed their hopes for the future – that they become productive adults with jobs allowing them to earn a great living.
“We want the same thing for you,” Jordan said. “We are willing to walk with you through that journey.”
Probation officers recommended participants for the program, which met a few hours a day. Cheryl Bartnick, a probation officer involved in the certificate ceremony, anticipates the program’s length will be extended next year.