Santa Barbara Newspress Features JUVY

Santa Barbara Newspress Features JUVY

Husband-wife team gives time to troubled youths Published 3/15/05 By HILDY MEDINA NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER On Sunday mornings, when other families are heading to church, Mike and Mary Ann Solodon reach for their Bibles and go to Juvenile Hall. The Solodons, ordained ministers, have made this a weekly ritual for nearly two decades. In that time, they have lent an ear to hundreds of youths and shared stories of their own struggles with drugs and alcohol. The husband-and-wife team has been on a mission to get kids to turn away from lives of crime. “It’s a very critical time for them right now. If we can grab just one of them, get them out of the system, that’s one less kid going to prison,” said Mr. Solodon, 45. “One of them might be our next senator, a judge or a school teacher.” The Solodons, members of the Juvenile Hall Ministry, are preparing to extend their reach beyond Santa Barbara and bring their services to Santa Maria’s juvenile detention center, which recently expanded to 90 beds from 50. More than half of the detainees in Santa Barbara are from the North County. Starting at the end of this month, all juveniles from the north will be held in Santa Maria. Juvenile Hall officials on the South Coast are re-examining the number of Sunday services they will make available to the smaller population in the south. The Solodons, who live in Goleta, are ready to include northern Santa Barbara County in their ministry, if officials there will make room for them. “Adult prisons are overflowing, and these young people have so...