Richard Seitz decided to make something good come out of a bad situation.
A few years ago, the Operations Distribution scheduler in Harrisburg was driving with his family on the highway when kids on an overpass threw a golf ball at his windshield. It splintered the glass.
Seitz caught up with the boys, who were turned over to the police and placed into a program for first-time juvenile offenders.
The event inspired Seitz to volunteer with the Cumberland County Juvenile Probation Department Youth Aid Panel. Panelists help the probation department develop and oversee disposition in juvenile crime cases referred by local police and judges.
Seitz underwent 10 hours of training and serves on panels about twice a month, depending on number of cases.
“The youth come before the panel and they tell us their story and we ask them questions to learn more about them,” Seitz explains. “We want to know about their home and school lives so we can help them get past the infraction and learn from their experience and not become repeat offenders.”
Seitz works with other panel members to develop contracts for juvenile offenders to complete. If their offense was drug-related, their contract may include a drug treatment program. Depending on the circumstances, the juvenile may also be assigned three months of doing random acts of kindness. “We find that this works pretty well and is pretty positive,” Seitz says.
The Youth Aid Panel acts like a “get out of jail card.” Upon successful completion of their contract, the juvenile’s record is expunged. Youth can only appear before the panel one time, and it has to be a first-time offense.
“We present the contract and the kids have three months to complete it,” he adds. “Then they come back to the panel and report on their contracts. All juveniles have to write and read a letter of apology to their parents or guardians.”
What does Seitz get out of volunteering? “I just like meeting the different people,” says Seitz, who is also a retired volunteer firefighter. “I’m glad I’m able to help the kids and have a positive impact on their lives and turn their lives around.”
Stay tuned to PPL Stories for more stories of PPL Electric Utilities employees’ service to their communities.