John Rieping/The Madera Tribune
Seventeen of 22 who completed the Madera Day Reporting Program pose together at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars hall this week.
Twenty-two former drug offenders celebrated completing the Madera Day Reporting Program with a summer transition ceremony and dinner at a full Veterans of Foreign Wars hall this week.
The program at the Madera County Day Reporting Center, operated by BI Incorporated, has four phases. In the first phase, participants report in five days a week and create a treatment plan to lower their risk of returning to jail. In the second phase, they set goals and serve the community – three days a week. In the third phase, they work on their commitment to change.
The transition ceremony marks the start of the fourth phase, known as “after care,” in which participants use the skills they learned in the program to line up resources to reach their goals.
“This ain’t really hard unless you don’t have your mind focused on it ... It’s only you that’s blocking yourself from making it,” said participant Andre Carter. “Either it makes you or breaks you, but at the end of the day it’s you.”
“It’s all about choice,” said participant Larry L. Llanes. “I’ve been through a lot in life ... I used to drown stuff with alcohol and that’s not the choice. So I appreciate this opportunity to move forward to show everybody here and people that I am not that person. I love you all.”
“I’d like to thank probation for encouraging me, not giving up on me,” said participant Andrea Owen. “I thank you for treating me like a human being, not just like a drug addict. You’ve always been encouraging me. It was not easy getting here but this is an amazing program and I just appreciate you guys.”
Those who completed the program are as follows: Arturo Becerra, Martin Bocanegra, Andre Carter, Joe Castro, Wilfredo Cortez, Thea DeAnda, Eduardo Garcia, Jessica Garcia, Sabrina Garcia, Matthew Haverson, Nicholas Jones, Troy Kemmer, Larry Llanes, Luis Moreno, Julio Nunez, Andrea Owen, Amanda Peebly, Thomas Ramon, Mario Romero, Athur Salas, Christopher Spivey and Carlos Vasquez.
Each participant received a certificate of completion from Geo Reentry Services on Tuesday as well as certificates of recognition from local elected officials State Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, State Sen. Tom Berryhill and Madera Mayor Andy Medellin.
The program, which started in 2010, was created through a partnership of the Madera County Department of Probation, BI Inc. and GEO Reentry Services.