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|January 14, 2014
Director of Communications
Worcester District Court Probation Officer Created "Wall of Success"
To Acknowledge Offenders Who Have Overcome Great Odds
Worcester District Court Probation Officer Liliana Menard came up with the idea to recognize those probationers with the most challenging pasts--who despite all odds-- successfully complete their probation. Menard introduced the “Wall of Success” where individuals are acknowledged with a photo and short story on how they turned their lives around. The Wall is displayed in the lobby of the Worcester District Court Probation Office where probationers can be inspired by the success of others.
Menard, a six-year Probation Officer, said she was inspired by a Probation tool—ORAS: the Ohio Risk Assessment System. This system is used by Probation Officers to determine the rehabilitative needs of offenders as well as assess their risk to the community. It also encourages probationers to focus on their strengths and to build upon them. She also received a letter from a probationer who finally completed probation after one set-back after another. Menard chose Worcester resident Joseph Tuccio as the first to be featured on the Wall following his successful completion of probation and his remarkable life changes.
“A lot of times when people successfully complete their probation, they are so happy to have made it. They feel like they really did it and they want to celebrate this achievement. We say good luck. But, I thought why not recognize their success in a tangible way,”said Menard. “We put the “Wall of Success” board in the front so people can come in and see that even those who hit “rock bottom” can do it and they can too.’
Tuccio, 46 and of Worcester, found a job, an apartment and is now developing a positive relationship with his children after years of doing one jail stint after another.
“I feel really proud to be on the Wall of Success and to have completed my probation. I had a really terrible life until now. I have been sentenced to jail eight times. Hopefully, by seeing my story, it will help guys getting out of jail understand that someone like me made it and they can too,” he said.
Menard said not everyone who completes probation will be featured on the wall. Since the board was created in November, only four people have been featured on it.
“It is for someone who has made significant life changes, they are now on the right path, and are dedicated to staying there.”
The other three honorees also have compelling stories of how they overcame their challenges which included years of addiction, lengthy criminal records, and prison terms.