Doing good

Juvenile Justice Center employs 65, makes a difference in young lives

There are lots of “presentations” at meetings of local boards and most of them are either endless, technical or both.

One that was unique, though, came at the April meeting of the Rockdale City Council from owner Mike Lindeman of the Rockdale Regional Juvnile Justice Center and Raymon Puente, principal of the John H. Wood Charter School, located at the center.

Puente was, of course, a former Rockdale High School principal for 19 years.

And it’s interesting that in an era when most presenters would rather be without their right arms than their Powerpoint flash drives, both men spoke off the cuff, without notes and from their hearts.

Lindeman noted that the center—which houses juvenile offenders between ages 10 and 16—now employs about 65, making it a very nice contributor to Rockdale’s economy.

He pointed out the center’s mission is not simply to incarcerate but also to convey sometimes the most basic life lessons, including simple manners and courtesy which many kids did not get from their upbringing.

The center is making a difference in some lives, especially in the field of education.

“They learn going to school is a privilege,” Puente said. “And many are grateful for it.”

He’s proud the 10-teacher school has earned recognized and exemplary ratings from the TEA in recent years.

The center also serves as a polling place for area elections and it’s an ideal location.

Voters never come in contact with the young offenders, housed elsewhere in the building.

Rockdale, and those kids getting a second chance, is fortunate to have such an insitution.— M.B.

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