Published on September 14, 2011
James started on probation at 11 years old. On the Building Bridges work groups, he was a lot to deal with. His anger and language were over the top. He didn’t go to school and, even at a young age, was smoking marijuana. Finally, at age 14, the court decided something had to be done with this child. Children Services Board had an open case, so it became evident that incarceration or placement was necessary. Jill Sullivan was James’ Court RAP worker who worked tirelessly with James and his sisters, as well as his parents. James was programmed as much as possible, but he could not overcome the environmental challenge that he found every day.
After James was incarcerated for two weeks on a new delinquency charge, BB’s advocacy for placement at CSB came to fruition. James was placed with a black minister in Troy, Ohio and his wife. I was skeptical of the choice for this East End kid, but it became part of the philosophy “WW” (Whatever Works). James attended school regularly, got decent grades, and participated on the Troy wrestling team. This was a changed kid who learned to fit in. After experiencing 6-12 months of success, it was decided to return James home, where in a matter of months he returned to delinquent behavior.
Our Court had a difficult decision, and my argument about environment gave James another chance. Now at 17 the Court was not going to spend the money in placement, so we attempted independent living, where James eventually moved in with his 18 year old girlfriend Jessica. She was a successful child of the CSB system who had an incredible work ethic. To make a long story short, 7 years later both have consistent work records. James teamed with friend Kevin, and bought a print shop (Uncommonly Creative Printing) on Linden Avenue. James got his experience working at Progressive Printing. He now works at the print shop during the day, but maintains a pizza manager position in the evening.
James and Jessie were just blessed with their first child, James Jr. (4 lbs 6 oz.) a week ago. Another village came together for James: Jill Sullivan, Denny Sullivan, Tim Poulis, Mike Smith, and Jeff Kovacek.