2023 Wrap Up: Arts Place Creative Classes

Wrapping up our news from 2023, our Residential residents had a wonderful time participating in creative arts classes at Arts Place in Portland!

We’re thankful to Arts Place and the Xi Chapter Delta Theta Tau Sorority of Portland for sponsoring this event!

 

Erika Limbert, who helped lead the experience, had this to say:

“Over the summer the YSB was thrilled to partner with the Arts Place and the Xi Chapter Delta Theta Tau Sorority in order to provide our Residential youth an opportunity to participate in some art classes. This opportunity gave us the chance to work with our youth in care to be able to find new ways of expressing themselves and their emotions in a positive and healthy way. With the variety of classes that were offered to us we were able to discover things that each youth could enjoy. 

Some of the residents were able to find their voice in the writing class whereas others were able to express themselves through painting or ceramics. While the classes were fun they also challenged our residents to think out of the box while also being able to follow the instructions provided to them. This opportunity also afforded the residents an opportunity to learn how to build relationships with people in the community through small talk and shared interests, which will be skills that can greatly benefit them for the rest of their lives. The residents grew especially fond of J.B. Goodrich. They expressed a lot of excitement about being able to go and hang out with J.B. and a few others that would come in during the classes. 

The residents during these classes were able to express things that they enjoyed doing, such as listen to music with J.B. during the classes, which led to J.B. donating a karaoke machine to our facility. Our residents have had a blast with playing with the karaoke machine and were so excited to learn that it came from J.B. We are looking forward to partnering with the Art’s Place again next summer and being able to continue with such a great activity for our residents in care!”

Residential Care – 2023 Christmas Party

I am pleased to share that the YSB provided another group of residential youth with an amazing Christmas experience!

Our Christmas celebration is filled with an entire month full of Christmas related recreation activities, but things really get going when the residents start receiving their Secret Santa gifts. Each resident had two staff assigned to them this year. One staff bought them $5 gifts for each of three days and then the other staff bought them $5 gifts for each of three days. On the seventh day, which was the night of our Residential Christmas Party, the residents opened their big gift from their Secret Santa’s. Some staff chose to team up for this gift and others wanted to purchase their own, so residents either received one $40 gift or two $20 gifts.

On the night of the party the residents, staff, and the staff guests enjoyed a Christmas feast prepared by Tina Bechtol. Like always the food was wonderful and the residents especially love all the tasty desserts! After everyone has eaten their fill we get the lounge area cleaned up and ready for presents. The first gifts to be passed out are the Secret Santa gifts. The residents open them and then try to guess which staff had them. I think there was only one correct guess this year, but staff and resident alike enjoyed the fun and mystery around this activity again.

After that it is then time for the residents to receive their haul of Christmas presents. Each resident gets a large Santa bag filled with gifts. The residents open them and then take turns sharing what they received. This year there were a lot of new shoes and new clothes. They always receive really nice name brand items that they often times do not have the opportunity to receive outside of care so it is always exciting to see their reaction when they receive something that they really wanted! Yvonne Duff, typically does the majority of the Christmas shopping for the residents each year. Yvonne has a knack for being able to pick out just the right gifts for each resident.

A lot of the time our residents are able to go home and be with someone from their family for at least part of Christmas day, but sometimes there are one or more who have no place to go for Christmas. When this happens we make sure that they have some additional presents to open Christmas morning along with having a big breakfast and getting to stay in pajamas for most of the day.

We would like to once again thank all of this year’s donors as it is with your support that we are able to create these long lasting Christmas memories and take the residents on numerous outings throughout the year!

-PJ Corwin
YSB Executive Director

Winterfest 2023 – YSB Courthouse Christmas Tree

Our Residential care children have decorated our tree for the 2023 courthouse Christmas tree contest, and we would appreciate your vote!

As part of the annual Winterfest festivities, the Jay County Courthouse is holding its Christmas Tree Contest. Our residents have decorated our white tree with a christmas gnome theme, located on the 3rd floor of the courthouse. Yvonne Duff, who led the activity, wrote about the experience:

“On November 20, 2023, I had scheduled recreation time as helping put up and decorate a Christmas tree at the court house. To be honest, I was dreading it. I have done this many, many times over the years, it had become mundane. I begrudgingly headed to Residential to get my supplies and the girls to help me.

The moment the three girls got into the car, I could feel their excitement. They were very chatty and obviously excited. I thought to myself, let’s see how excited they are as we lug this big tree up three flights of stairs. We unload everything and make our way into the courthouse. As we go through security the girls excitedly tell the officer working why we are there. He gives us directions to our spot, and up we go to the third floor to get started. Interestingly there was no complaining!

We get out our tree that is white and I see apprehension on the girls faces. One asks, “We have a white tree? We are the only ones with a white tree.” But then something delightful happened, and another girls says, “This is great, we are the only ones with a white tree. We will stand out, and I bet we win!!” Her enthusiasm was contagious and we begin decorating.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that only one of the three has ever put a Christmas tree up. They are visibly nervous as they ask what to do. Slowly we get the tree up and the lights on. The girls became very excited. We then got out our handmade ornaments and finished up.

All of us took a step back to look at our creation. The girls started to gasp. They told me it was the most beautiful tree they had ever seen! They wanted me to take their pictures standing by the tree because they didn’t want to ever forget how much fun it was to decorate a beautiful tree. And so for the next 10 minutes I took various pictures.

On the way out, they each went to the officer at the front door and asked him to vote for the YSB tree. He asked why he should and they told him excitedly that if they won, the money would be used for a pizza party for the residents. He asked if he could come and they immediately told him they would love for him to come.

As we walked away, I was once again humbled by the experience of working with abused/neglected/delinquent youth. Something fairly insignificant, that I take for granted, was awe inspiring for three young girls. Something so simple, a white tree with colored lights and handmade ornaments, had brought them joy that they couldn’t help but share. And their joy was catching, as I found myself leaving the courthouse with a smile on my face!

So, if you are at the courthouse this season, look for the YSB tree. It’s the only white one, and it is on the third floor. We would definitely appreciate your vote!”

Halloween Fun at YSB!

Halloween Fun at YSB!

On October 28th the YSB supported Prevent Child Abuse Randolph County and their laundry project. Through this trunk or treat event they worked to raise money to provide free laundry services to families in need. A special thanks to Marsi Dow for representing the YSB and Healthy Families Program at this event!

On October 29th, the YSB participated in the As-BOO!-ry 2023 event at the Asbury Church in Portland. At the event PJ Corwin, Emperor Palpatine, Camden Corwin, Darth Vader, and our lovely assistant Jenna Corwin passed out candy to roughly 400 attendees! The force was definitely with us on this day!

The YSB participated in the Portland merchants trick or treat on October 31st. Elyse was representing the YSB and the Safe Place Program at this event. Elyse and her assistant passed out approximately 800 packages of M&M’s with Safe Place information attached to them.

Thanks to everyone who helped with these fun and successful halloween events!

New Year, New Team Members!

It’s been a great start to 2023, and we’re happy to announce our Residential Care program team has grown! Welcome Breanna and Amanda to the YSB!

Breanna Rodeffer

Position: Residential, Direct Child Care Worker

“I have two children, Braelyn and Weston. I have a Goldendoodle named Mia. I’m going to school for nursing.”

Breanna - YSB

Melinda Bailey

Position: Residential, Direct Child Care Worker

“I have 4 wonderful adult children and I fostered high needs children for 9 years.”

Melinda - YSB

Amanda Riley

Position: Residential, Direct Child Care Worker

“I am easy going and I absolutely love working with kids! I’m a mom of 4, 3 boys and 1 girl. I’m a very outgoing person and also nerdy!”

Amanda - YSB

Our Residential Care treatment program is designed to assist youth in need of temporary or extended rehousing. Our staff are trained in therapeutic intervention, and help residents learn independent living skills while maintaining and strengthening family contact.

To learn more about our Residential Care program, click here to visit our Residential Care program page.

For any questions regarding our Residential Care program, please contact us at:

Residential Care
Youth Service Bureau, Jay County
260-726-8520
ysbjc@ysbjc.com

Salary: $40,000.00 – $55,000.00 per year

Christmas Celebrations at YSB

(Left to Right) Residential Program Director – Mackenzie Ashley, Training and Facilities Manager – Scott Bissell, and Executive Director – PJ Corwin deliver Secret Santa presents to residents at this year’s Residential Christmas Party.
Each year, at Christmas time, the Residential Program takes steps to insure the residents have one of, if not, the best Christmas ever! There are several activities that take place. Here are a few of our favorites!  Paper chains hanging on beds- one of the activities they participate in is creating paper Christmas chains to count the number of days until Christmas. Each resident makes their own paper chain with each link symbolizing a day leading up to Christmas Day. Each day the resident tears off a chain link for the day and turns it into staff for candy! Another fun activity is the 12 Days of Socks, also known as the sock advent calendar. For the twelve days before Christmas, residents participate in fun holiday games with the winner “punching” the advent calendar for a new pair of socks. Our absolute favorite activity leading up to the Christmas party is Secret Santa! For the last few days leading up to our big Christmas celebration, each resident begins receiving gifts from their Secret Santa. Each resident has a staff person that becomes their Secret Santa. This staff person purchases small gifts for the resident for a few days before the Christmas party. When the resident gets home from school they find a small wrapped gift waiting for them. Then on the day of the Residential Christmas Party, the residents receives a big gift from their Secret Santa! After receiving and opening their gift the resident tries to guess which staff person is their Secret Santa. It is very entertaining watching and listening to the residents as they try to figure out who their Secret Santa is leading up to the party. It becomes hysterical as we (staff) get to watch them guess which one of us was their Secret Santa. It is a highlight of the party, and always seems to be a big hit with residents!
The Residential Christmas Party feast prepared by Tina Bechtol.

Lastly, we have our Christmas Party. On the night of the Christmas party, YSB staff and residents have a big feast, residents get gifts from their Secret Santa, open that gift, guess their Secret Santa, and then receive their Christmas presents. There is not an adequate way to describe the emotions felt, as an adult watching these children open their presents, some of whom have never experienced a Christmas anything like this one! This is what I have witnessed from our residents: there have been residents who have cried, saying that this is the best Christmas they have ever had, there have been residents that have smiled all night and not said a word, there have been residents that could not sit any longer and had to get up and literally jump for joy. A resident this year was so excited about her gifts that she had to stop and show everyone in attendance what she received after each present opened before moving on to open the next present! Many times, we have had residents tell us that they have never had name brand items before. They are so excited to have received a pair of Nike tennis shoes or Levi jeans that they get up to immediately go try on their new things. The joy they feel is contagious and as we leave for the evening we take a piece of that Christmas spirit with us. Celebrating Christmas at Residential is definitely my favorite part of working at the YSB!

We would also like to give a special shout out to Yvonne Duff who does an amazing job of picking out just the right presents for each resident every year! Scott Bissell and Tina Bechtol for decorating the house beautifully each year! Tina Bechtol for preparing the amazing feast that we have each year, not to mention the super tasty desserts! And to all the YSB staff who go out of their way to make Christmas extra special for our Residents!

As a Resident at the Youth Service Bureau

As a resident at the Youth Service Bureau, I would have to say that the abundance of support and opportunities given to me have completely changed the course of my life. Before YSB, I was a terrified, depressed, and freshly graduated kid with no one in my corner to help me make the healthy life-altering decisions that I was being forced to start making for myself. It’s been clear from the beginning that my circumstances would never lead me to any success in meeting my short-term goals, but compared to my peers, I was bound for long-term failure. 

YSB changed that for me.

At the Youth Service Bureau, they provide 24/7 assistance to the residents living here. We all meet with the therapist and case manager at least once a week to work on dealing with our trauma and on independent living skills so that we are better prepared for the future. Also, I believe that the entire experience of learning how to coexist with the other kids living at the Residential House is more than a necessary skill that all of us are bound to work on and learn from each day we live here.

Though, I do want to say that the kids who are placed at the Youth Service Bureau are definitely not bad kids. It is my belief that the kids that come through here have been dealt bad cards in the game we know as life. We just need a nudge in a better direction so we can become the strong, independent, and healthy adults we deserve to be.

Honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever had the stability and support of a real home before YSB. Now I have both of those things and more from my YSB family, and I could not be happier.

I believe that, at least for me, the YSB is that nudge.

Thank you!

Madelyn Stratton

Residential Care

“The reason I initially wanted to be a part of YSB is that it aligned with my degree. I thought that YSB would help me get a good start on my career once I finished college. I knew that I would be caring for children, and that is where my heart is. The third shift does not allow me to interact with the residents often, but I do feel like the residents are a part of my life and I’m keeping them safe. I do believe in this program, and it has helped me to realize that I do not want my own classroom once I graduate. My goal is to work with children who need guidance and counseling in dealing with personal or family issues.

As far as the program goes, I think that the kids have an abundance of opportunities while being given a safe place to live. The residents can engage in extracurricular school activities and join the workforce, depending on their age. The recreation calendar is full of daily activities to keep the residents occupied and giving them the opportunity to try new things. The residents have taken trips, and they are always doing outdoor activities during the warm months. I know that there is so much more to the program. These are just a few things that I believe would spark interest because a lot of people that I have spoken with portray YSB differently. Not really in a negative way, but they see it more as a jail rather than a program providing stability and support to kids and families.

There are also plenty of free resources and training opportunities for staff. Our boss is pretty cool too.” ~Amy Wicker, Direct Care Worker, Residential