Some members of the Wheeling Symphony stopped in at a juvenile detention center in Wheeling last week to bring some musical education to the kids there.
The symphony periodically goes out and offers musical programs to various community members. The brass ensemble paid a visit this month to youth at the Ronald C.Mulholland Juvenile Center. It’s the only private, non-profit juvenile detention facility in the state. There are about 30 kids there now either awaiting judgement, waiting for treatment facilities to open up, or serving time for committing crimes that would have landed them in jail if they were adults. Youth here are mostly from the northern West Virginia. They’re 12-21 years old and receive substance abuse treatment, transitional living services, and continue their education.
The musicians got their young audience to think and talk about the emotions music can stir up. One young woman said the program inspired her.
An Unsure Future
“I’m proud of them,” said Director Linda Scott. She’s been working at the Mulholland Juvenile Center for the past 26 years, and is one of about 50 staff members. Scott is very defensive of and dedicated to the kids housed there. She says many who have gone through the center stay in touch and keep her updated on their lives.
“If [the center] wasn’t here, I would be devastated because I’m not ready to quit yet.”
It’s a reality she might be faced with.
Recently the Legislature asked state agencies to outline how they would absorb a potential 6.5 percent additional cut in their 2016-17 budgets. Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman, Lawrence Messina, explained that it was a purely hypothetical exercise, but that if the budget was cut, contracted services like the Ronald C. Mulholland Juvenile Center would likely be among those first on the chopping block.
In the meantime, members of the Wheeling Symphony say they look forward to visiting the Ronald C. Mulholland Juvenile Center again.
The kids are hoping musicians with percussion instruments will visit next.