PARKERSBURG - In recognition of his volunteer service to the Wood County Juvenile Drug Court, Bob Buchanan has been awarded the 2013 Hero of Hope Award.
Juvenile Drug Court Judge Darren Tallman presented the award to Buchanan for "going above and beyond in caring for our community's next generation."
Buchanan volunteers as part of the drug court treatment team. The team is involved with planning and implementing program ideas that help juvenile drug court participants with recovery from substance abuse.
Buchanan volunteers many hours to work directly with the youth participants in community service projects including the annual Volcano Days festival at Mountwood Park.
He has also been an avid supporter of the program in advocating it with the county commission, the Wood County Board of Education and other governmental organizations, said drug court officials.
"Bob is such a blessing for what we are attempting to do with our community's next generation. The at-risk adolescent population that we are trying to serve in this program have had troubled and complicated lives and chances for success by the time they reach adulthood sometimes are less than positive. Bob Buchannan is one of those rare individuals that is a true public servant. He sets high expectations for the youth's conduct and behavior but obviously cares about their futures," said Judy Stephens, Juvenile Drug Court probation officer.
Stephens coordinates the day to day operations of the program.
The drug court works with youth experiencing problems with the law and with drugs and alcohol, while keeping them in the community, most often with their families or in local foster care homes. By surrounding them with influences and people that care about them, it increases their chance for success, Stephens said.
The program includes weekly court accountability and supervision by Tallman and his community treatment team. The drug court participants are required to remain clean and sober, attend school and multiple therapy sessions each week, stay out of trouble, and complete mandatory activities and community service. Youth participants receive immediate consequences or sanctions for poor behavior, Stephens said.
"Many times troubled youth are sent to expensive long-term residential care in state and out-of-state placements, and while this is sometimes necessary, many times the youth simply return to the community without ever coping well within the community. The Wood County JDC is an alternative that invests in working with these young people to be positive citizens in their community, make improvements in their functioning and planting seeds of hope that success can continue following their completion of the program. The program doesn't take violent offenders and the program isn't for everyone or every case," Stephens said.
"Bob Buchanan truly is a Hero of Hope for investing his time, effort and spirit to make a difference in our community," Stephens said.