- Massachusetts Probation Service
Media Contact for Suffolk Superior Court to hold first graduation ceremony for New Community Servings Program for Probationers
Coria Holland, Communications Director
A graduation ceremony featuring guest speaker Boston Police Commissioner William Gross was held Friday, February 21, at Suffolk Superior Court, for a group of probationers who completed the Community Servings’ Teaching Kitchen Program. This 12-week culinary arts job-training program prepares individuals for employment in Boston’s food industry.
Suffolk Superior Court teamed up with the Jamaica Plain-based Community Servings Program in this joint initiative which not only provides a food safety certification to probationers who complete it but also reduces their time on probation by one year while paying them $15 an hour for their work.
Suffolk Superior Regional Administrative Judge Robert Tochka introduced the idea of the joint program and recruited Suffolk Superior Probation Officers Jessica Haggerty and Jeffrey Kyi to help implement it.
“When someone is on probation and succeeds, we all succeed. We all have an interest in making sure that person in the community is successful and feels good about themselves. It gives them the opportunity to learn a trade and a skill and wind up marketing themselves so they can go up a ladder in terms of success,” said Judge Tochka. “That is the job of the court system and probation. We want to get them closer to that goal. It’s good for the community, it’s good from the probationer, and it is good for the court.”
Probation Officer Haggerty said she has witnessed a profound change among the probationers who participated in the program.
“They seem incredibly proud. It is eye opening to see how well they did. I have personally worked with two of the graduates over the years and I saw how motivated and driven they were to complete this,” she said.