Some veterans of drug court are giving back to the community.
The Franklin County Treatment Court Alumni Association plans to hold a yard sale Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, in downtown Union. The sale will raise money for families the alumni group “adopts” at Christmas.
In the past, the group has adopted one family. But in her year as alumni president, Catherine Null wanted to select multiple families to help.
Null set a goal of raising $2,000 and hoped to raise most of it with a GoFundMe page. She raised $700, but it has been tough.
The alumni group also has been unable to do traditional fundraisers, like a car wash.
“The COVID has put a damper on fundraising lately,” she said.
People who go through treatment court are required to join the alumni group, Null said. It usually has seven executives, who run programs like the Christmas donations.
The probation program, which is designed to take 18 months but often takes closer to two years, is an intensive, court-supervised program that is intended to give offenders tools to be successful in their lives, according to Missourian archives. Treatment court is the most strict probation program available and requires participants to meet regularly with a probation officer and drug court judge and take drug tests.
Null entered treatment court in February 2019 and expects to graduate in October 2020. She said the program changed her life and helped her get her children back.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” she said. “It gave me the qualities it takes to be responsible and have a better life.”
The drug court started in 1999 and a DWI court was added in 2009. Treatment Court Administrator Sherry Huxol said the treatment court had around 450 graduates in 20 years in Franklin, Osage and Gasconade counties.
Referrals to the program come from probation officers, the prosecuting attorneys and judges.
Out of every 100 people referred to the program, about half take the steps to participate and, of those, only 35 actually make it into the program, as of 2018. Of those, the program has a 60 percent graduation rate and a 10 percent recidivism rate.
The yard sale will close part of S. Mulberry Avenue between E. Main Street and E. Locust Street, near White Rose Cafe. The Union Board of Aldermen in its role as parks, buildings, development and public service committee, reviewed the closure request at its Monday, June 15, meeting and adjusted the request to allow for access to a city-owned parking lot, while closing most of the block.
The street closure is scheduled to last from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Null said the actual sale should run from around 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., since it takes time to set up and take down the tables.