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From Juvenile Inmate to Award-Winning Staff Member

Nathaniel Snyder was sentenced to juvenile detention as a teenage, but on Thursday was given the Spirit of Youth Award, an annual honor bestowed upon a person under 28-years old who is either involved in Kentucky's juvenile justice system or has been through the system and works to better the lives of youthh.
 
Snyder is now an employee at the Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Newport.
 
“As chair of the JJAB it is my pleasure to present the award to Nathaniel. The work and commitment he has exhibited in turning his life around and becoming a role model for the youth he works for at the Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center is an inspiration to me and the other members of the board,” said JJAB Chair, Nancy Pfaadt. “It is young people like Nathaniel who inspire us to continue the work we do knowing that given the right opportunities and having the commitment to change, at-risk youth can become successful members of society.”
 
During his teenage years, Snyder served time in Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center (CRJDC), where he now works as a youth worker III. After two stints in the system, he started to change his habits and joined a volunteer fire department and at the age of 15 began working weekends at Kroger.
 
“I realized I didn’t want to keep coming to the detention facility and being locked up. I saw the people I was hurting,” said Snyder. “I started hanging out with kids who had good structure and family values. My determination to change my lifestyle and leave my troubled childhood behind is what saved me.”
 
Snyder went on to earn his GED and has worked at DJJ since 2012. He started as a youth worker I and has worked his way through the ranks as a youth worker III.
 
“Nathan has an excellent work ethic. He shows up on time ready for the day. He takes pride in what he does,” said CRJDC Superintendent Mark Cummins. “He is a great role model for the youth of Kentucky, showing them you can come from a non-structured, troubled background and still come out on top by changing a few things in your life. He is a prime example of what DJJ is here for, changing the life and planting the seed.”
 
From the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice
 
Photo: Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center