Chester County Youth Center receives statewide award for community service dog treat-making program

: Kristi Washington (center), Caseworker for the Chester County Youth Center, who received a state Program of the Year award for the Youth Center’s dog treat-making program, along with Youth Center deputy director Fred Ellzy (left) and Youth Center Director Gary Blair (right).

The Chester County Youth Center recently received a Pennsylvania Juvenile Detention Centers and Alternative Programs (JDCAP) award for a dog treat-making program, an initiative that helps Youth Center residents earn community service hours.  The program is the creation of Kristi Washington, caseworker at the Youth Center, who recognized the benefits of programs like this that help the youth to “pay it forward” as well as learn valuable life skills.

“We are very pleased about this Youth Center award and are proud that Kristi and staff at the Youth Center are being recognized for the work they are doing,” said Gary Blair, director of the Chester County Youth Center.

The dog treat program runs up to six times a year for Chester County Youth Center residents. The program begins with baking the all-natural dog treats from scratch and follows through to the delivery of the treats to the Chester County SPCA. The visit to the SPCA also provides an opportunity for participants of the Evening Reporting Center to witness the services of the SPCA, learn about volunteer opportunities and how the organization relies on community donations like the dog treats.

“The dog treat program has been extremely beneficial for the Youth Center residents as well as the youth that attend our Evening Reporting Center,” added Blair.  “Not only do they earn valuable and appreciated community service hours, but they benefit from working together as a team and acquiring cooking life skills.”

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