The Parker County commissioners approved accepting $1,025 in donations to the Juvenile Probation Department that was used to set up a store where kids can purchase necessities.

“We have about 100 kids on probation and one of their main conditions of probation is to perform community service. So we extended that to the summer so they didn’t have to do it during the school year,” Juvenile Probation Department Director Tom Kidd said. “So this summer those kids did approximately 700 hours of community service doing different work for Center of Hope, the posse grounds and other things. Cynthia [Onofre] came with an idea to reward the kids and approached a couple of attorneys, and it just kind of snowballed. We had 11 different attorneys donate a total of $1,025.”

Onofre, a probation officer, said some of the money was used to hold a cookout for the kids after they completed their summer hours, but the rest was used to set up a store.

“We have also created a juvenile probation store where we have hygiene items as well as things that kids may need such as snacks or cell phone accessories, so we’re planning on using that money to fund our juvenile probation store and the kids can have a safe space to come and purchase something they want or need if they’ve done well with their probation,” Onofre said. “It’s a reward to be able to come to the juvenile probation store and pick out something, so we’re excited to have some funds so we can keep that store up.”

According to the Parker County website, juveniles between the ages of 10 and 16 may be referred to the department by local school districts and police agencies. The department is responsible for processing referrals such as children in need of supervision — truancy, runaway — misdemeanor and felony level offenses received from police agencies within the county. The department’s programs include anger management classes, community service, counseling, detention placement, drug testing, electronic monitoring, life skills classes, parenting classes, referral information, residential placement, restitution to victims, sex offender program, truancy prevention and victim assistance.

The donations will go into the juvenile probation fee fund and the commissioners unanimously approved accepting the money.

“A lot of these kids are on probation for a variety of reasons, but many of them are because they didn’t have a chance and so the modeling of the correct social behavior that takes place is important as well as the work that is done,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Larry Walden said. “So, I thank you for that and I know it’s a very thankless job.”

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