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'The kids are worth it': Medina Co. Juvenile Detention Center's new nonprofit working to keep at-risk youth from serving time

medina juvenile cards
medina juvenile cards
Posted at 7:02 AM, Mar 02, 2021

MEDINA, Ohio — With every stroke of paint comes a release of emotion. It’s a way of expression.

“My canvas speaks to me,” said Sandi Piper, owner of Sand & Lace Fine Art and Gift Gallery in Medina Square. “You can’t put your finger on it. It’s something you feel.”

Piper explained the final result often gives us a peek inside the mind and life of the person behind those strokes.

“When you take a blank canvas and turn it into something that expresses you or make you happy you know that’s art. That’s creativity.”

Creativity and talent are what Piper realized is currently locked away inside the Medina County Juvenile Detention Center.

“We were really impressed with the art from some of the kids,” said Ron Stollar, Medina County Juvenile Detention Center superintendent.

Stollar says his kids are finding their voice through rehabilitation programs that are centered around art. The outlet is also helping them heal and transform their feelings into paintings.

“They’ve done something that’s creative and productive with their time. Maybe learn some new skills. Learn that they are capable of more than they thought they were capable of,” he said.

But their work is no longer hanging up just for staff to see. Their paintings are now on full display and up for sale for $1 or generous donation inside Piper’s gallery as mini greeting cards. Stollar says 100% of the proceeds go towards the detention center’s new program, Medina County Youth Uplifted.

The nonprofit, which will be up and running in a few months, aims to reach kids who haven’t had any run-ins with the law, but may be headed down that path.

“I have no interest in simply housing kids; none,” Stollar said. “If there are things we can do, and there are, to address the issues a lot of those kids [have] then I think we should.”

Stollar’s team plans to work with schools and courts by serving as a second chance referral program with the help of volunteers and partnering shops like Piper’s.

“They’re worth it. What more can I say? The kids are worth it.” Stollar said.

If you’d like to donate you can visit Piper’s gallery at 23 Public Square or contact the Medina County Juvenile Detention Center. Anyone interested in volunteering or parterning as a retailer can email Jacyln Balliet at jballiet@medinaco.org.