WILMINGTON — The Wilmington American Legion Post 49 has donated $3,000 to the nonprofit charity Friends of the Juvenile Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas, Clinton County.
The tax-exempt charity, incorporated in March 2005, aids children in the court system when the expenditure of tax funds would be inappropriate or unavailable, said President Linda Eichelberger.
“Our Juvenile Court regularly comes in contact with needy at-risk children in our community. Our probation officers and staff are very familiar with the social and financial circumstances of the families of these children,” she said.
The nonprofit primarily directs its efforts to children who are not eligible for assistance by Children Services or other agencies.
One example of how they assist is a local 4-H Club formed by the Juvenile Court five years ago. There currently are 17 youths involved in this program where participants can show their projects at the county fair. The juvenile’s family can’t necessarily afford to buy a pig for a fair project.
“We also have several involved in sports programs where we pay sports fees and buy the sports equipment necessary for them to play. We buy [high school] senior pictures and their caps and gowns,” said Eichelberger.
Juvenile Court Services staff sees children whose families are unable to provide them with clothing such as coats, shoes and underwear and hygienic personal items. The nonprofit can provide funds to meet those needs and more.
“Governmental budget constraints often limit the availability of some very worthwhile programs such as anger management, socialization, self-esteem, and pregnancy prevention. Friends [of Juvenile Court] can fill this need,” Eichelberger stated.
Presently, there are about 60 juveniles who are on probation in Clinton County, according to Eichelberger.
The board members of the Friends of Juvenile Court are Eichelberger, Jeff Drapalik, Walter “Butch” Peelle, Chris Georges, and Kathy Szelagiewicz.