- Massachusetts Probation Service
Media Contact for Massachusetts Trial Court Community Service Program is Honored as “Volunteer of the Year”
Coria Holland, Communications Director
Massachusetts — The Massachusetts Trial Court Community Service Program was honored as “Volunteer of the Year” by Citizens Inn, a charitable agency with programs that serve Peabody, Salem, and Lynnfield. The award was presented at Citizens Inn’s Annual Meeting held at the Salem Five Community Room in Salem recently. The Community Service Program is operated by the Office of Community Corrections, a division of the Massachusetts Probation Service. Probationers are sentenced by a judge to community service and work in lieu of paying court fees and fines.
Citizens Inn operates hunger prevention initiatives which include a food pantry and a community meals program in Peabody. It also provides transitional housing, sober living programs, temporary shelter for families who are facing an emergency need of housing, and affordable rental units in Peabody. Citizens Inn is funded in part by the City of Peabody and City of Salem Community Development Block Grant, private philanthropy and over $2.1 million in in-kind food donations from the Greater Boston Food Bank and area bakeries, supermarkets, and retailers, The organizations work to help families and individuals ‘leave homelessness and hunger behind.’
“We thank you for all that you do. We simply could not run our program without you and the folks that come consistently throughout the year,” said Corey Jackson, Executive Director of Citizens Inn.
Community Service crews work at Citizens Inn perform such tasks as sorting food, unloading trucks, assisting with meal preparation, setting up tables, placing table settings, cleaning, as well as distributing toys to children during the holidays. Community Service crews have also painted the facility, installed air conditioners during the summer, and other special projects upon request by Citizens Inn, according to Lisa Hickey, Community Service Assistant Statewide Supervisor.
Community Service began sending crews of probationers nearly 20 years ago to Haven from Hunger which merged with Citizens Inn in 2017 thus creating one organization to address the issue of hunger and homelessness. Citizens Inn isn’t the only one benefiting from the work being done by probationers. The probationers themselves are also learning valuable skills, Hickey said.
“When I stopped by Citizens Inn, a probationer proudly explained to me how to properly handle silverware and showed me how to set the tables correctly with flowers. It was great to see their sense of pride. She (probationer) even went back that evening because they were short a dishwasher to assist them with dishes. This was done on her own time just because she felt bad that they (Citizens Inn) were short staffed,” Hickey said. “The participants really enjoyed working at this agency. Other participants (probationers) insist I try the soup they were preparing to ensure that it was seasoned right. The agency has also allowed them to use it as a reference for jobs.”
Probation Commissioner Edward J. Dolan said of the award, “We value our relationships with community organizations such as Citizens Inn. We are happy to support their vital missions while at the same time affording members of our community service crews with a restorative justice experience as well as great hands-on work skills.”
Each year, probationers perform 143,000 community service hours, restitution in the form of “giving back” to their communities through a variety of pro-social activities such as cleaning up parks, schools, and roadsides. Other projects include service in food pantries, painting, repairs, and snow removal. The services may be accessed by state agencies and non-profits to derive a valuable service.
Front row: Court Services Coordinator Nicole Dublin, Assistant Court Services Coordinator John Corrao, Supervisor of Community Service David Skocik, Assistant Supervisor of Community Service Lisa Hickey, Assistant Court Services Coordinators John Langone and Jadeque Douglas, and Court Services Coordinator John Gibbons.
Back row: Assistant Court Services Coordinators Tom Rosatto, Peter Feeley, and Jon Palermo, and Director of Community Correction Vincent Lorenti.