‘It makes you feel good!’: ACJC Winter Hat Project is Positively Fort Wayne!

Local News

Judge Andrea Trevino of the Allen County Superior Court Family Relations Division can’t help but smile as she holds a beautiful, hand-knitted hat made by one of the kids at the Allen County Juvenile Detention Center. Juvenile Probation Officer Cheryl Bartnick works closely with the kids who have been working on the hats since June, shares the same joy. The kids recently donated 120 hats to Vincent Village, a local organization that provides shelter and support for families with children who deal with homelessness. Sarah Lantz, Director of Resource Development at Vincent Village says, “The kids in particular will be so excited to receive the hats because they’re so cute, with so many great colors.”

Officer Bartnick says the knitting project has a calming effect on the kids. “It takes their mind off all the worries of what’s going on in the court process and gives them a different focus.” A 17-year old working on a hat says, “you feel less stress when you’re doing this. It makes you feel good doing something good for other people.”

Some of the hats donated to Vincent Village by the kids at the Allen County Juvenile Detention Center.

Judge Trevino says she loves the aspect of giving back to the community while the kids focus on their rehabilitation. “They talk about why we’re making these hats and who we’re making them for.” Bartnick says the kids take a lot of pride in what they do. “They tell their families about it during phone calls and visitation. They’re excited about it, and their families are excited when they see they’re doing something great.”

Judge Trevino says once they capture the kids interest, they become good at it. “They leave here with a skill. They leave here being able to give back to the community and it helps refocus their energies. While the kids may not go out and knit when they leave here. They’ve learned how to focus. How to think. How to actively engage their processes. We hope all of those things translate into things they work on and continue to do when they’re outside of here.”

Some of the hats donated to Vincent Village by the kids at the Allen County Juvenile Detention Center.

The 17-year old, who was just finishing another hat says he takes satisfaction in knowing his work is appreciated. “When I was growing up, I didn’t have too much of anything. So knowing that I can give back to somebody that doesn’t have too much makes me feel better about myself.” Lantz, says she couldn’t be more appreciative of the donation. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to the kids that made these hats. We are so grateful!”

It’s why the Winter Hat Program is Positively Fort Wayne!

For more information about special programs at the Allen County Detention Center click here.

For more information about the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative follow the link.

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