Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

2015 Parent of the Year Speech
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, October 31, 2015

Earlier this month, our own Allegheny County parents of the year were honored at the Juvenile Justice Week awards ceremony in Pittsburgh. It was heart-warming to see them accompanied by their son, as well as by several of their supportive family members.

Click on "Read more . . ." (below) to read their well-received speech and to see more photos from the event. 

My name is Tracey and this is Scott and we are here tonight to humbly accept the award for Allegheny County parents of the year.

When Lloyd Woodward, my son’s probation officer and head of the parenting group that we go to - PSST (parent survival skills training) - told us on a conference call that we had been nominated, we had polar opposite reactions. His was, Oh, no no no no no and I said  “Yes”!.

He said no, because we are surrounded by a team of incredible people; Lloyd, Kathie, Abby, Justin and every parent from our PSST group that laughed, cried, supported, advised and empowered us from our first meeting until tonight.

I said, “yes”! because I am grateful for the gifts that this group has given to us and what we have become thru this program.

With their help, we gained the knowledge, confidence and skills to enable us to learn enough to help our son to become a man that he - and we - can be proud of.

When your child chooses the wrong path, you feel many things: hopelessness, failure, fear, anger and guilt. You look for help and if you are fortunate enough in an unfortunate situation, you are paired with people that rally around you in a way that takes some of those feelings away.

You are no longer alone. If I had been lucky enough to meet these people earlier on, I don’t feel that our situation would’ve spiraled so far out of control for my family, because the knowledge that we have gained has changed us so much.

My son first got into trouble at 15. If I knew then what I know now, he would still be chained in my basement with just enough slack to do laundry. At that point, it was just the two of us living together with his dad living close by. We were newly divorced and couldn’t put our own feelings aside to help our son. We both blamed each other for our “polar opposite” parenting styles. We were so wrong.  Do you know how I now know that? Our son continued to get into more trouble. It became more than “call an attorney” trouble. It became “find a direct line to Jesus trouble”.

Wesley Spectrum, Lloyd Woodward, Michael Santicola, and Judge Tranquili stepped, or should I say, “jumped in”. That is when we started with meetings with Wesley Spectrum and what led us to PSST.

Our son was placed in Shuman (where he learned to value clothes that fit and shoes that cover all of your feet). From there he went to Abraxas (where he learned that whichever way you choose to run in any direction, you will get nowhere). And then to Liberty Station (where he learned that maybe my mom’s cooking isn’t so bad) to Glen Mills schools (where he learned that it can be beneficial to tuck your shirt in and keep your pants pulled up). Please know that this is an attempt at humor of what Jake has learned throughout his multiple placements. You don’t take a tour from Shuman to Glen Mills without making more mistakes though and without learning where you do not want to be.

Time will tell for all of us. Is our son perfect yet? The answer is no. Are we? His parents? Well, we are getting this award. J I do know that he continues to learn and so do we, with every meeting, every text, and every email that we share with “Team Jake”, as Kathie penned us at the very beginning. Team Jake consists of others of whom I have to mention; my sister Pam, who has loved my son as her own since he was born and throughout his time in facilities has provided him with letters, love, support and enough books to fill a library. And my Mother Jean, who has loved him so fiercely and who would never let me give up on my son.

I guess I should also thank my son’s father for what he has become throughout these last few years. He has shown a level of commitment and love to our son that I have not seen duplicated.  It took a lot of work to get us to this point and I am lucky to have him as the one to have walked this tightrope with me and as the father of my children.

I could not have done this without the support of those 3 either.

If I may go back, 5 minutes after that congratulatory call from Lloyd, I called my sister Jennifer to tell her and of course I downplayed “parent of the year” because to me that said that I had done an exemplary job at parenting and that could not be further from the truth, but Jen, who is a social worker in Cleveland, said to me, “Hey, it’s easy to parent a good kid.” And that said to me that sometimes, you just need to do the best that you can with what has been given to you and created by you, and to recognize when what you have previously done that hasn’t worked and that has led to your situation needs to be fixed. Hopefully, this is now the path that we are all on.

In closing, an old African proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child”. All of you are my village and I am forever grateful. 

Read More......

If you Want to Send a Note . . .
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, October 14, 2015

We’ve been hearing from a number of people who cannot make it to Lloyd’s retirement celebration this coming Saturday, but would like a way to send their personal well-wishes to Lloyd.  If anyone wants to write a note for me to print out & include with a group card for Lloyd, please email to Jenn at psst.jenn.brad@gmail.com by noon on Friday, Oct 16th.

Read More......

Lloyd is Retiring!
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, October 12, 2015

Even when you know a change has been coming for some time, somehow it’s still a mini-shock when the change actually happens.

Lloyd has decided to retire, and this Saturday will be his last PSST meeting (Greentree).  We invite all PSST parents, current & past, to come to our meeting on Saturday at 9am to wish Lloyd our congratulations & best wishes in this new & exciting stage of his life’s journey.

P.S.  There will be cake, of course!

Read More......

PSST Parent of The Year Celebration
Posted by:Brigitte--Monday, October 05, 2015

At Saturday's PSST meeting, Steve and Tammy (their blog names) were celebrated as the 2015 Parents of the Year. They will receive their award on Thursday, October 8 at the Allegheny County Awards Ceremony. The event starts at 6 p.m, and is held at the Family Court House, located at 550 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh (the Old Allegheny County Jail).

Although divorced, these parents have formed a team who strive to assume a non-enabling approach to parenting. They have attended Parent Survival Skills training regularly to improve parenting skills. Both have progressed with increased communication skills, consistent limit setting, and relationship building.

Both have participated in role-playing designed to help increase skills. Both parents have helped other parents in PSST to improve their parenting skills. Additionally, they have worked and significantly improved their relationship with their son through therapy provided by Wesley Spectrum.

Five months ago Tammy and Steve were proud that their son, after completing both an intensive placement program and a halfway house program, was receiving clean drug tests, doing well in a part-time job, and getting excellent reports from High School. It appeared that their son had turned the corner. Then, Tammy became aware that their son was still participating in serious criminal activity. Working together they confiscated illegal material, took pictures of the evidence and reported him to the Probation Department.

Their son is now undergoing additional treatment at a new placement facility. Both parents continue to work closely with the Probation Department concerning discharge planning and continued relationship building. Both are anxious to have their son returned home and believe that this time he has really turned the corner; however, both also remain cautious that cutting his treatment short now might interfere with the hoped outcome.

From all the PSST parents and professionals, we congratulate Steve and Tammy on a job well done. Although they still have an arduous road to travel with their son, the skills and commitment they have developed at PSST will help them continue to support their son's efforts while remaining strong and unenabling.

Read More......


This layout (edited by Ken) made by and copyright cmbs.