Cleveland Site Visit for Just Beginning

First3Years CEO Sadie Funk and Aaron Fields, the Just Beginning Coordinator, along with the Medlock and Youth Village Superintendent Roddrick Armwood and the Clinical Supervisor Dr. Zhwantae, were invited to Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Correctional Facility in order to learn what a day in the life is like for the youth that go there. Aaron also wanted to have a better understanding of how the Just Beginning program is implemented at that facility.

Cuyahoga Hills is a facility that serves male youth and is accredited by the American Correctional Association and provides many different services and treatment for these young men. This includes accredited middle school and high school, behavioral health services, dental and medical care, and religious and community service opportunities. The facility is built on trust, respect, responsibility and nonviolence. The youth are encouraged to take on leadership roles in their treatment and education. These young men set goals, complete school assignments, and even explore future career and education options.

Just like other facilities, Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Facility offers substance abuse and sex offender programming, victim awareness, gang interventions, as well as Freedom Schools. The treatment programs focuses on a variety of issues that include anger, aggression, conduct disorders, depression, anxiety, violence, sleep disturbances, and self-injury. One of the many unique programs that the facility has is the Teen Parenting Program (Baby Elmo).

Sadie and Aaron started the morning off by meeting all of the staff members, including Jesse Augenstein, the Program Administrator, who gave them an overview of the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Facility programming as well as a detailed overview of the Just Beginning Program. They were very fortunate to receive a facility tour, in-depth conversation with other staff members that facilitate the Just Beginning Program and lastly, a focus group with the teen fathers in the program. They were able to inform Sadie and Aaron about their experience in the program and how it has improved the teen fathers’ emotional attachment with their children. This incentive program is designed to encourage positive behavior and provides the fathers with knowledge and skills they can utilize outside of the facility.

The biggest takeaway for all of the visitors was that they want to see all youth succeed. It is clear that Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Facility is committed to providing the support and opportunities for these young men who are fathers because it is imperative that they need to get on a steady path with an identity and a clear purpose in their life in order to become successful fathers.

First3Years and The Medlock and Youth Village staff were very pleased and thankful for this opportunity to visit Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Facility. Aaron comments, “I strongly believe that this visit will help us understand how this program fits into the overall vision and direction of Medlock, Youth Village, and the Just Beginning program”.

Learn more about Just Beginning here.