by Jordan Killam We caught up with recently retired Judge Andy Devine and asked him about his hallowed career. Although he has entered a new chapter in his life, his work lives on through community development projects. He is especially passionate when it comes to the subject of at-risk youths—and has advocated for a solution that begins in the home. As a Judge of the Juvenile Court, one of your key strategies was to reach out to the parents of troubled youths. How did you decide this was important? When I began to realize that in most cases, the parent needed as much help as the child. Changing the home environment is critical if you want to help a troubled child. Tell us a little bit about your latest project, the Parent Center at Lourdes University? The Parent Center at Lourdes University will use education, research and outreach to inform policy makers and promote practices that empower and support parents in their primary responsibility for the care, nurturing and education of their children. Changing the policies of institutions to reflect the critical role of parents is the challenge. Parents are primarily responsible for taking care of their children—not the community. You were an early board member of the Toledo Mountain mentors and the organization still exists today. What makes its mission so special? The Mountain Mentor program is a combination of “Outward Bound” and “Big Brother” programs. It’s the bonding that takes place between mentor and child while hiking in the “Mountains” together that makes the program successful. In many cases the “mentor-child” bonding lasts a lifetime. What legacy do you hope to leave for Toledo’s legal community…and beyond? When I moved from Municipal Court Judge to Family Court Judge in 1975, I heard both divorces and juvenile cases. I soon learned that my divorce docket occupied 90 percent of my time. The juvenile docket was being managed almost entirely by staff, and the demand of attorneys in divorce cases got all the attention of the judges. Juveniles could not afford attorneys. With the help of Rep. Barney Quilter, we were able to create a separate Juvenile Court for Lucas County. The Juvenile Court Judge is now able to spend his/her entire time on juvenile matters—a dramatic shift in the legal community of Lucas County. It made a huge difference on how juvenile matters were prioritized. And it is there that I fell in love with parents—the most important people on earth.
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As the summer winds down, thoughts turn back to the classroom; but it’s not just children who are going back to school. Adults of all ages have a variety of options to continue learning.