Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner
Orange County Probation Department
Juvenile Recovery Court Program
Volunteer In Probation
Hundreds of volunteers assist the Orange County Probation Department in its mission to enhance community safety. Volunteers In Probation (VIP) work in a variety of assignments, often directly with juvenile and adult probationers. Through their service, VIPs help turn lives around and demonstrate how community members can be part of the solution to crime.
ACTION: What does the volunteer do?
Pictured from left to right: VIP Honoree Belen Barocio
& Deputy Probation Officer Imelda Robles.
Over the past year, Belen Barocio has served as a Volunteer In Probation (VIP), dedicating more than 200 hours of service to the Orange County Probation Department. Throughout her assignment, Belen has assisted Deputy Probation Officer (DPO) Imelda Robles within the Juvenile Recovery Court program, a program that includes treatment team members representing the Court, Probation, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Health Care Agency and community collaborative partners. The Juvenile Recovery Court program team supervises, treats and supports juvenile offenders who seek help with alcohol and substance abuse issues that contribute to their illegal behavior.
Belen’s supervisor oversees a caseload of approximately 25 youth, 13 to 19 years of age. Supervision consists of weekly contact with the youth, random drug testing, school contact, home visits, counseling and weekly court dates. Additionally, prospective youth are interviewed to assess their suitability for the program. Under DPO Robles’ supervision, Belen assists with inputting drug test results, interviewing youth, indoctrinating youth and parents to terms and condition of GPS supervision, reviewing case plans with youth and parents, and filing documents.
An important component of Belen’s success as a VIP is her willingness to gain knowledge, accept challenges and learn new skills that will help her to effectively interact with a difficult population in an effort to redirect troubled lives and promote positive behavior.
NEED: What community need does the volunteer address?
Belen has contributed to a safer community, especially through her impact on juvenile offenders by being a positive role model, teaching effective coping skills and demonstrating honesty and integrity.
IMPACT: What is different as a result of the volunteer's service?
Belen’s openness and eagerness to learn and contribute to the welfare of others often inspires those she works with. DPO Robles feels that Belen has helped her to become a better employee and to gain a clearer understanding of why she chose a profession with Orange County Probation.
In addition, Belen never says “no” when asked to interview or talk with a juvenile regarding an issue, even though she may experience some apprehension from time-to-time. She offers helpful feedback when speaking with the youth and is kind and considerate in her interactions. Her words and actions positively impact the teens and consistently provide them with coping skills that they can carry with them throughout their lives.
INSPIRATION: What makes the volunteer unique/special?
Belen possesses many qualities that are necessary in working with a challenging population, including her amazing capacity for compassion. The majority of youth within the Probation system are “broken.” Their parents may be incarcerated or experience drug addiction. Their homes may not have a bed for them to sleep in or any assurances of three meals a day. Even though not all juvenile offenders experience this level of family dysfunction, most lack self-esteem and believe that they are unworthy of a caring adult in their lives or a supporting community.
Belen has opened her heart to each juvenile she works with. She is not afraid to actively listen and serve as a much-needed mentor. She readily gains trust and creates a positive rapport with troubled youth. She is truly a gifted human being.
The skill set that Belen possesses has been enhanced by her education as a recent graduate of the University of California, Irvine, but is overwhelmingly the result of her innate kindness, compassion and empathy; her desire to serve; and her ability to share laughter and happiness with others.
We wish Belen much success in all of her future endeavors and are thankful for the contributions she’s made to youth and families served through the Orange County Probation Department.
Thank you and congratulations to Belen Barocio, recipient of the 2017 Excellence in Volunteerism Award!
Click here to find out how you can volunteer with the Orange County Probation Department.