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Court Administrator Marita Kavalec bid the court a Fond Farewell
March 1, 2015, was the day that Court Administrator Marita Kavalec officially took leave of the Juvenile Court for an “early retirement”.

She shared in an “open letter” to Administrative Judge Kristin Sweeney that “nearly my entire professional career has had a treasured nexus to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas-Juvenile Division. I have been honored to witness it mature into a house of justice and public service that truly values both the youth and families it serves as well as the dazzling employees who consider this institution their ‘first home’.”

Due to her departure, a Court Administration temporary plan is in place which named Dana Chavers and Timothy McDevitt as Acting Assistant Court Administrators.

Marita requested no “fanfare”. This is a difficult request, when parties, presents and proclamations are the usual ways to express gratitude and wishes for success in future endeavors.

In her “open letter’ she wished all under the auspices of the CCJJC “abundant success, countless celebrations, enduring strength, and unceasing smiles.”

We all wish her the same!

Judge Ryan Inspires Youth at Black History Program in Opelika, Alabama
Judge Michael J. Ryan took his message on the road at the invitation of the Lee County Youth Development Center located in Opelika, Alabama.

Sherrell Stout, a former Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services worker had heard his inspiring story in Cleveland and asked him to share it with the Lee County Youth Develop-ment Center’s school, the Chanticleer Learning Center, where she presently is the Education Coordinator.

Judge Ryan was the key note speaker for their Annual Black History program which was held on February 27th.

The presentation was shared with roughly 90 students who are housed in the Detention holding facility.

Judge Ryan shared that upon his arrival he was “immediately brought up to speak because the celebration had begun. I had a warm reception from the kids and staff at the Chanticleer Learning Center.

I spoke to a number of the kids individually after I addressed the group. It was a very good experience and I was appreciative of the invitation.

Magistrate Retanio Rucker Received "The Whatever It Takes" Award
The Multisystemic Therapy (MST) program recognized Magistrate Retanio Rucker with “The Whatever It Takes” Award on February 27th. This award is presented to an individual within the MST community who has demonstrated outstanding and meritorious service.

The MST Unit at the Division of Children and Family Services shared the following statement during the presentation of the certificate of recognition to Magistrate Rucker.

“We would like to thank you for the feeling that when one of our MST Therapists is in front of you for a case we feel that you are listening to what we have to say and that our input is valued. It is very clear that you take our recommendations into consideration when you are making a ruling. We feel that you are an asset on the bench and in our corner. We get the sense that you have high respect for the work that each of us do with our families and support our efforts and mission to keep youth in their home to address the issues in the context of the family unit. We thank you for valuing our professional and clinical skills and the first hand knowledge we possess about each of our families regarding their strengths, challenges, and potential risks. You have provided us an avenue to meet the family outcomes, invoke the necessary changes, and provide the tools for the family to sustain their success.

We appreciate your dedication and your continued effort to go above and beyond!

Detention Center Happenings
Professor Richard Ross, a Professor of Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara is also a Juvenile Advocate. Ross has traveled to numerous Juvenile Detention facilities throughout the country to create awareness of the incarceration of American youth. His works published in two books, “Girls In Justice” and “Juvenile in Justice” give voice to imprisoned children. Ross has visited facilities in 31 states and recently visited our secured facility in April to take images of our detained youth.

Members of the LeadDIVERSITY program toured the Juvenile Detention Center earlier this year. The select group of professionals engages with regional leaders and the greater community to raise their awareness of diversity issues, build their leadership skills, and enhance their networks. As part of their legacy project, members of the group decided to provide life and social skill activities for our detained youth.

The sessions held on two Saturday mornings in May included career presentations, resume building, interview skills, financial literacy and cooking lessons. The youths learned how to cook omelets in a bag and create a healthy trail mix snack.

Dervonda Little was awarded an Associate Degree in Nursing from ITT-Tech-School of Nursing. She shared “this has been a long term goal to become a Registered Nurse. I officially completed this goal when I recently passed the state boards.” Dervonda is a Nurse in the Detention Center Medical unit.