Timbrook House having an impact

Posted: May 9, 2013

The Winchester Star

In a report published by the National League of Cities, Winchester was one of 40 communities nationwide with a population under 75,000 to be recognized for its effort to improve the lives of children, youths and families. The Timbrook House, on East Piccadilly Street, offers an after-school program for at-risk youths that was launched in 2011. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Winchester’s Timbrook House was recently honored in a national study for its effort in providing alternatives to detention for juvenile offenders.

It offers an after-school program for at-risk youths that was launched in 2011 through a partnership between the city and Winchester Public Schools in collaboration with the city police department.

In a new report published by the National League of Cities, Winchester was one of 40 communities nationwide with a population under 75,000 to be recognized for its effort to improve the lives of children, youth and families.

The National League of Cities is an American advocacy organization representing 19,000 cities, towns and villages.

“The Winchester Police Department is well aware of the success of the program, but it’s really nice to be recognized by a national study,” said spokeswoman Lauren Cummings, who added that she hoped the program could be a model for other communities to “change lives.”

Timbrook House, located at 305 E. Piccadilly St., was so named because Edward Bell hid there on Oct. 29, 1999, after fatally shooting Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook. Bell was executed for the crime on Feb. 19, 2009.

Teenagers are referred to the program by Winchester Public Schools or by court order from the Winchester-Frederick Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

From 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, youths receive career counseling and drug and alcohol awareness information, as well as daily academic support from Winchester schoolteachers.

“...[M]any of the referred youth are significant but nonviolent offenders with serious truancy or behavioral problems who would have been sent previously to detention facilities or expelled from school,” the report states.

Some nine youths are currently attending the after-school program. They are supervised by two officers at all times, with up to five present depending on the activity.

The staff receive support from a clinician from the local Community Service Board to assist with behavioral issues.

Youth also participate in CLEAN’s drug prevention and anger management programs and work with mentors from Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Local churches provide meals three nights a week.

According to the study, after six months the youths who graduate from the program have fewer run-ins with the law (a 58 percent drop), miss fewer days of school, have fewer court appearances (a drop of 69 percent), and have an increased grade-point average (up 0.22 points).

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com