Juvenile detention residents helping homeless, others in need

UPDATE: The residents of the Ottawa County Juvenile Dentention Center collected more than 1,500 individual items and from them created 125 care package bags for those experiencing homelessness.

Youth serving jail sentences in Ottawa County detention are also learning life skills.

Lessons range from job interviewing to conflict resolution. This month’s skills training includes giving back and random acts of kindness.

The residents will assemble care packages for those who are experiencing homelessness or going through difficult times. They will put together the packages and donate them to Good Samaritan Ministries in Holland, as well as to students of the Juvenile Justice Institute, the year-round court-based educational program operated in cooperation with the Ottawa Intermediate School District.

“It’s important to try and equip our residents with valuable skills they can apply to their everyday lives,” Corey McNabb, with the Juvenile Detention Center, said in an email plea for donations. 

The Juvenile Detention Center has long included a giving back component in its skills lessons. However, this is the first time the public has been asked for donations.

Restoring wholeness

The court’s mission in all cases is to “administer justice and restore wholeness in a manner that inspires public trust,” Court Administrator Kevin Bowling says. 

The juveniles are serving out their sentences, Bowling says, but they are also leaving the center as more well-rounded citizens.

Through the effort of collecting donations, organizing them, and assembling the care packages, Juvenile Detention Center residents are “ connecting with the community by being good neighbors in the community,” Bowling says.

Winter isn’t over yet, and the care packages will focus on helping recipients stay warm and protect themselves against the elements.

Donations of winter wear, hygiene items, socks and granola bars can be dropped off through Friday, Feb. 26, at Family and Probate Court at the Fillmore Complex, 12120 Fillmore St. (Driveway A), Olive Township.

Requested items:


Winter hats


Travel-size toothpaste

Travel-size deodorant



Travel-size tissues

Granola bars

Gently used warm winter clothing (e.g.; sweatshirts, sweatpants, winter socks)

Toilet paper

Bars of soap



Hand warmers

Bottled water

Gallon freezer bags (to package the care packages)