County District Attorney Burkett Tours Taylor Diversion Program

TIONESTA, Pa. (EYT) — Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett recently spent a day at the Taylor Division Program facility on Lighthouse Island in Tionesta.

In a Facebook post, Burkett explained that TDP teaches at-risk youth all kinds of life skills and trades so they can walk a new path as an independent, productive member of society.

“As much as I am impressed by their programs, I am even more struck by their heart for these kids,” Burkett said. “Their program provides a lot of love to kids that standard programs just don’t offer.”

“A special thanks to my friends, Cris Dush and Ray and Sharon Doolittle for introducing me to these special people. Check them out at Taylor Diversion Programs.”

TDP is a residential, independent living program for at-risk youth ages 14-21.

The facility was the recipient of the 2016 Residential Program of the Year Award, presented by the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges Commission (JCJC) in November 2016.

According to a news release about the award, TDP was awarded at the JCJC and PA Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers 36th Annual Program in Harrisburg.

Michael Cummings, TDP Owner/President, humbly and graciously accepted the award, noting that without the assistance of his wife, Debra, also TDP Owner/Vice President and the many other individuals who have contributed to the success of TDP, this award would not have been possible. Among the existing 2000 juvenile residential programs in the state, TDP’s recognition for this honor is paramount in that the program is merely 3 years old and one of the “newest” residential programs in the state.

Located along the scenic Allegheny River, the TDP program is designed, modeled and theoretically based on social bond/control theory, while clinically rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Real life situations and experiences are provided for youth to test and assess their progress in the safest and most non-threatening way possible. The program is small and focused on the relational aspects of working together.

To that end, TDP believes that good, solid programming begins and ends with healthy relationships.

Youth attending TDP have opportunities to do any or all of the following: attend TDP’s private academic school, Lighthouse Island Academy (grades 9-12); prepare to live independently while participating in TDP/PACTT work readiness program, developing work readiness skills and work experiences in the community; earn certifications in ServSafe, Food Handling, American Hotel and Lodging, OSHA 10, CPR, and Health and Wellness training; attend college/trade school and/or be gainfully employed.

Additionally, a wide range of nature based/recreational activities including archery, fly fishing, leather crafting, and GPS tracking are available.

Youth may attend church if desired and have opportunities to be involved in the local Lion’s Club or community activities deemed appropriate.

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