San Rafael, CA – Being placed on probation doesn’t have to be a permanent blemish on one’s record. In fact, the Marin County Probation Department often sees offenders take the initiative to turn their lives around through mentoring of the probation officers. Once a year, a grand and emotional celebration is held for those who make it on the Wall of Change, the supreme honor for the department’s top success stories of the year.
This year’s Wall of Change recognition event is set for Wednesday, December 4, in the Board of Supervisors chamber at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael. Refreshments will be served at 2:30 p.m. and the ceremony begins at 3. San Rafael resident Michael Pritchard, a social advocate, youth counselor, and former probation officer, will serve as the guest speaker.
Some people who have run into trouble and found themselves on probation face self-doubt about their ability to recover, act responsibility and lead a productive life. Compounding the challenge are the detrimental social labels placed on probationers and a lack of support systems in the community.
Those who enter the Probation Department office at the Civic Center can see photos and short stories posted on the Wall of Change. There, probationers who have committed to leading safe and sober lives and subsequently experienced stability and personal triumph receive public credit for their accomplishments. The framed stories and photos include a first-person account from the probationer and words from their assigned probation officer. Year after year, those new to Probation often make it a goal to appear on the Wall of Change.
Probation Chief Michael Daly said those being honored have overcome barriers to success that a lot of people in Marin do not face.
“We have this Wall of Change ceremony so they feel the support from the community,” he said. “A lot of times, that might be the first real public support and encouragement they have felt in their whole lives. We also do it to inspire the people who are new to probation, so they know the support system from this community event is there for them to succeed.”
The Board chamber is in Suite 330 of the Civic Center, at 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael.
All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff at (415) 473-7331 or (415) 473-4381 (voice/TTY) or by e-mail.