The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office held a ceremony on Thursday where they awarded $54,000 to 18 nonprofits as part of the Pre Trial Diversion program.
The program offers first-time offenders who have committed minor, non-violent offenses an opportunity to take responsibility for the offense they are accused of while avoiding a criminal conviction by completing rehabilitative and therapeutic programs and having the option to donate to charity to satisfy the community enrichment component.
Luis. V. Saenz, Cameron County District Attorney, said not everybody qualifies for the program and it depends on the facts, the crime and the criminal history.
“Any young person who doesn’t have the opportunity to enlist in this program and gets conviction on the record, that conviction is going to hinder that person from getting a job. He won’t be able to get student loans, he won’t be able to get licenses from the state,” he said.
“You’re going to become pretty much a ward of the state. We want to avoid that as much as possible.”
Saenz said this program has been ongoing for several years but this year it feels even more important due to the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented many of these non-profits from holding their yearly fundraisers.
The non-profits that received the $3,000 check each are: Friendship of Women, Big Heroes Inc., Blue Sunday Child Prevention Initiative, Boys & Girls Club of Los Fresnos, Boys & Girls Club of San Benito, Children’s Advocacy Center of Cameron County, Children’s Hope Residential Services, Children’s Museum of Brownsville, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Family Crisis Center inc., First Family Network of Cameron County, Heroes on the Water, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Neighbors in Need Of Service Inc., Palmer Drug Abuse Program, The Moody Clinic, Tip of Texas Family Outreach Program and Batter’s Intervention & Prevention Program.
“I look forward to continuing this program. This is one of the rare chances that I have to be in a happy presentation,” Saenz said.
“This is great. Not just for the DA’s office but for each of these communities. These organizations serve thousands and thousands of people that need help. Children in need, women in need, veterans, so I am just totally happy to be able to help and help the community.”