After hearing four clients and program coordinator Elaine Kelly from Hamilton County Drug Court speak in Gary Behler’s criminal justice class in spring semester, a group of compassionate students decided to take action. Drug Court allows drug addicts to work towards sobriety instead of facing a jail sentence.
The Probation, Parole and Community Corrections class asked if they could lead a community service project to provide assistance to the program participants and those graduating from the 14-month program.
Senior Yesima Williams directed the project for the class of 44 students. Nearly every student contributed to the collection of nearly 100 household items which included non-perishable food items, toiletries, cleaning supplies, dishes and gift cards. Furniture items included lamps, chairs, table, computer desktop, space heater, vacuum cleaner, and a television set.
“The coordinator of Hamilton County Drug Court was thankful for the items,” said Behler. “After 14 months of participation in this program, graduates start with nothing, but they are looking forward to starting over.”
Behler, who has been an adjunct professor for 18 years and serves as operations director of First Things First, was glad his students could hear the clients speak from a first-hand perspective. “It was powerful,” Behler said. “We’re not just talking about people who were raised in a low income situation. We’re also talking about some people from affluent families who have made mistakes.”