News Release: Spotlight Finds Four Nebraskans for Helping State’s Youth

(Award winners (L to R) Dr. Kenneth Zoucha, Erin Curran, Raevin Bigelow, and NJJA President Mike Renn)

June 5, 2015

KEARNEY – “I was just doing my job,” is a statement that means more for some than others. At this year’s Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association Conference, four people were recognized for doing so much more than the job required. All award recipients worked to help youth climb out of difficult situations, recover from deep physical and emotional traumas, and piece their lives back together.

The NJJA Service Awards recognize youth and juvenile justice professionals whose outstanding efforts have improved or strengthened the juvenile justice community in Nebraska. Earlier this month, NJJA and the Nebraska Coalition for Juvenile Justice presented the following awards:

 

Spirit of Youth Award: Raevin Bigalow

Ms. Bigelow, a former system-involved youth, was recognized for her resilience in the face of many life challenges.  In her acceptance speech, she thanked the professionals in the room for their dedication to young people like her. Ms. Bigelow is the proud mother of a two-year old daughter and plans to become a motivational speaker and youth pastor.

Commitment to Excellence in Leadership Award: Dr. Kenneth Zoucha

Dr. Zoucha, Medical Director at Hastings Juvenile Chemical Dependency Program, was recognized for his outstanding leadership in serving youth and families in contact with the juvenile justice system. According to NJJA President Mike Renn, “Dr Zoucha has quietly, and without much fanfare, provided important guidance and programming for youth and families who struggling with addiction.”

Evenly E. Labode Service to Youth Award: Erin Curran

Ms. Curran, an Intensive Family Preservation Therapist for KVC in Omaha, received the award for her commitment, initiative and advocacy on behalf of youth and families in Nebraska. Erin has worked as a therapist and foster care specialist for five years and is known for the individualized attention she gives each of her families – as well as acting as a roll model to her peers.

Scholarship Award: Hailey Kaderabek

Ms. Kaderabek of Kayki, NE, is a senior at Peru State College with a major in Criminal Justice and Psychology. She was recognized as an excellent scholar working towards a career in juvenile justice. She is a peer mentor, tutor, and member of the Alpha Epsilon criminal justice club and expects to graduate this May.