Sheri Samson

In a celebration of expansion and renovation, the 11th Judicial District Youth and Family Services, along with the Juvenile Probation Office joined in a meet-and-greet at the county facility located at 205 A Street in Hawthorne.

The green structure, located west of the main county building, had previously been facilitating only the public guardian and public administrator. In reviewing the building’s potential, it was upgraded to create a multi-functional space which can now facilitate several offices, a spacious meeting room and a lounge that also doubles as a space for supervised visitation when necessary. The large meeting room was also created to facilitate any county emergency team, should the need arise, which is overseen by Patrick Hughes.

District Court Judge Jim Shirley, from the 11th Judicial District, was on hand to welcome the community leaders and participants in this new location, as well as local resident Juvenile Court Master Judge Vic Trujillo and District Chief Craig Tippens from the Lovelock area. With a noon lunch and refreshments offered, many from the county gathered for a tour of the updated facilities.

Local Juvenile Probation Officer Curtis Schlepp, sat down to review many of the services offered by the 11th Judicial District. Designed for the youth and family services, an effort of preventative standards is now in place within our community.

“People seem to think that our services have to be court mandated, but that’s not the case. We offer life skills through classes that are presented in a variety of formats to fit the individual or families that want to take advantage of our resources. Prevention is here in all areas, so we don’t want anyone avoiding us. We would rather see the community use us in whatever way we can help or we can make the proper referrals.” Schlepp explained.

Schlepp is locally joined by the efforts of Nicole Mathias, in the prevention programs offered, counseling services, walk-ins and crisis intervention.

Life Skill classes range from substance abuse prevention, which identifies possible risky behaviors or the social and psychological factors involved in understanding the problem. The school district has supported a level one prevention class taught to sixth-grade students, which advances to a second level in seventh grade and a third level once a student reaches eighth grade. This instruction is done through the health or physical education classes.

“Understanding the progression, peer pressure and appearances of addiction can support avoidance of ever starting down that path, so it is our desire to promote prevention in the strongest way,” shared District Chief Tippens.

A separate class structure is also offered and available for adults which include alcohol and marijuana; Tobacco Wise Nicotine 101 and other drug intervention and educational programming. Education on the impact of alcohol and drug use on students is a critical component of understanding for parents and caregivers, as this impacts a stunted social development, as well as their overall performance.

For any “user-based” teaching, a specific, tailored profile and intervention can be assisted, as well as the overall basis of parents becoming wise in deciphering a young person’s addiction prior to the devastation of incarceration, depression, and family upset.

An alternative to the juvenile detention status, for ages 12 to 18, can be made for first-time offenders through a program entitled Project Magic. This program has goals to include modification of attitudes toward abusive substances, youth achievement and academic success through enhanced living skills and internal control. This program utilizes the scope of involving the individual, family, school, and community.

The Youth and Family Services also concentrates on a Youth Apprenticeship Program which allows students to earn a state, grant-subsidized wage while learning valuable work experience and creating working skills that can grow a young person’s confidence.

To obtain literature surrounding these services, you are welcome to stop by or contact the Youth and Family Services at 775-945-3393 or email at Drug testing is available for court-ordered youth or at the request of parents with a minimal fee. Victim counseling is also available through the Restorative Justice program. Truancy Enforcement is provided by the Youth and Family Services in a collaborative effort of properly restoring school attendance within every student.