The partnership of the Chesco Youth Center with BVSPCA deserved the honors

The Chester County Youth Center – BVSPCA “SAFE” program fosters a loving, non-judgmental environment between shelter animals and youth center animals, builds beneficial relationships with everyone involved, and helps shelter animals find a permanent home.

Chester County Youth Center’s partnership with Brandywine Valley SPCA’ and its ‘SAFE’ program has won national acclaim.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has presented the County Youth Center and Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA) with a 2022 Achievement Award, which recognizes innovative and effective county government programs that strengthen services to residents .

The BVSPCA’s SAFE (Shelter Animals For Enrichment) program was originally offered by Kristi Washington, social worker at Chester County Youth Center, to fill community service hours and provide a positive enrichment experience for young people receiving services at the county youth center.

Chester County Youth Center Director Deb Maccariella said: “Our connection with the BVSPCA helps fill community service hours for our young offenders, but it also provides them with a therapeutic experience and presents them with future opportunities. of volunteering.

“Equally important, the bonds established between the young people and the shelter dogs contribute to the socialization required by the BVSPCA before they can place the dogs for adoption.”

In less than a year, the SAFE partnership has helped 255 youth from the Chester County Youth Center complete community service hours and transition out of the facility. This service was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, when other community service opportunities were limited.

Hailey Marcus of the Brandywine Valley SPCA noted, “While the success of our SAFE program can be measured in ‘community hours served’, its value really lies in the effect it has on those in the center of youth and county staff who work with them. The program fosters an environment of non-judgmental love and truly builds beneficial relationships with everyone involved.

“And, at the end of the week, each animal is eligible and usually successful in being adopted into a forever home. Many animals have found their second chance with the help of the SAFE program.

The NACo Achievement Awards are presented in 18 different categories that reflect the broad and comprehensive services provided by counties. Categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

NACo Chairman Larry Johnson said, “Across the country, counties are working tirelessly to support residents and support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s award-winning programs show how counties work every day to build healthy, safe and thriving communities. »

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