ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The 33rd “TIP Court Graduation Ceremony” took place on Wednesday.
The ceremony went great, and the graduates said that they are proud of themselves and this accomplishment. They were even happier to have had their loved ones there to see it all.
“My grandma is proud of me, my family’s proud of me. It’s, it’s a beautiful thing,” said Therapeutic Intervention Program (TIP) Court graduate Casper Clark. “Seeing the smile on my grandmother’s face that, you know, I achieved this.”
“I feel really good,” added graduate Billy Henderson. “Today was a day of celebration and achievement, given me many obstacles to challenges to overcome. I’m just happy to celebrate today.”
Both Clark and Henderson are the newest graduates of the program. They said that it was hard, but “TIP Court” changed them for the better.
“With this program, you’re going to have to get up every day and you’re going to have to do it and not say no excuses,” Clark said.
“Some of the biggest challenges was just being prepared to show up to the court date that dropped and just having a strong support,” Henderson added.
The “TIP Court” program is aimed at helping those who might have behavioral health issues, such as mental illness or addiction, and are going into the justice system. It provides intensive case management, intensive treatment services and intensive court supervision to achieve employment, housing and education.
Judge Janet R. Holmgren, presiding judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court, said that it is a win-win for the people and community.
“If you’re looking at someone holistically and are able to offer them services and resources to help them, you know, achieve stability and maintain a quality lifestyle in the community, they’re far less inclined to commit any new offenses, as well as contributing back to the community,” Holmgren said.
Both Clark and Henderson said that they are proud of themselves and excited for their new start. They encourage others to take advantage of this opportunity.
“Skills that I’m gonna take for my everyday life is just continuing to be solid and honest and dedicated, overcoming my struggle,” Henderson said.
The total number of graduates of the “TIP COURT” program is now at 199.