Ocean City Today

Worcester Drug Court backs ‘Adopt Your Street’ program

Rehab participants to pick up trash off St. Louis Ave. for Md. Coastal Bays effort
By Katie Tabeling, Staff Writer | Sep 22, 2016

(Sept. 23, 2016) With few residents and businesses stepping forward to volunteer for the “Adopt Your Street” neighborhood cleaning initiative, Worcester County’s Drug Treatment Court has laid claim to St. Louis Avenue as part of its rehabilitation program.

“We’ve done clean-up programs for community service with the drug court a couple times in the past,” said Sandi Smith, the marketing and development coordinator of Maryland Coastal Bays Program, which organized the arrangement.

This guarantees four other cleanups at St. Louis Avenue, she said.

On the heels of the Ocean City Surf Club’s successful Adopt Your Beach program, Coastal Bays decided to resuscitate its litter collection initiative. But while Adopt Your Beach appealed to vacationers for a short-term commitment down by the water, Adopt Your Street has been struggling to draw participants.

The drug court, where offenders can be sent in lieu of the traditional judicial process, is one of the few agencies that have stepped forward to commit to a four cleanups a year.

“We finalized the adoption last week and the first cleanup will be in October,” said Drug Court Coordinator Tracy Simpson. “All of our community service programs are focused on giving back to the community in a positive way. This is a more formalized approach where we go out there and clean up the streets … and make a difference in the neighborhood.”

The drug treatment court is a post-plea treatment program that offers intensive rehabilitation services to criminal defendants. Participants in the program are non-violent offenders whose crimes are driven by addiction.

Worcester County has four-phase programs for juveniles, adults and families that run for 12 to 18 months. Steps in the program include participating in substance abuse treatment, random drug testing, finding employment and completing four hours of community service a month.

“Each participant has so many hours they need to get done, so we host mini-events to fill that need. Mostly we coordinate with churches [and] non-profits like Coastal Bays,” she said. “We do coordinate with participants to make sure people can attend at least one, but people might have other commitments with treatment and work. But the event is mandatory if you aren’t working or in treatment.”

Focusing its involvement with Adopt Your Street, the cleanup events will be open for adult and juvenile participants, but would be geared towards adults.

“Juveniles have school during the week, which makes it hard to schedule around,” Simpson said.

She added that the drug court is looking to do more than Adopt Your Street’s bare minimum of four collections a year, but that hinges on other factors.

“It’s going to be very weather dependent. We have 80 participants in the program throughout the year, and we might have 15 show up for the first cleanup, and then 20 at the next one and 30 at the next, and so on,” Simpson said. “It’s part of the bigger plan to help them live in a community that be invested in.”

For more information on Adopt Your Street and Adopt Your Beach, visit the Coastal Bays website at wxww.mdcoastalbays.org.

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