COUNTY’S JUVENILE DETAINEES PITCH IN TO ASSIST COMMUNITY EVENT

COUNTY’S JUVENILE DETAINEES PITCH IN TO ASSIST COMMUNITY EVENT

Doña Ana County’s juvenile detainees hopped at the opportunity Wednesday to assist with a community event planned for Saturday, March 26.

A free, community egg hunt co-sponsored by the City of Las Cruces and KVLC radio station ran up against a snag this week when New Mexico State University’s spring break took college students out of town in the week leading up to the annual Easter-weekend event.

KVLC General Manager Mike ‘Smitty’ Smith said the station normally recruits college students to help stuff thousands of plastic eggs with hard candy and gift coupons. The shortage of students had his staff scratching their heads about all those empty eggs.

Enter Dave Wooley, administrator of the Doña Ana County Detention Center. Contacted early Wednesday about the problem, Wooley promptly asked Lt. Vicki Garcia of the county’s Juvenile Detention Center whether her charges could be of assistance. Garcia said that the timing was perfect for a juvenile project, since the Las Cruces Public Schools also were on spring break, leaving the juveniles with limited activities for the week.

By mid-morning Wednesday, a truckload of plastic eggs, hard candy and gift coupons had been delivered to the Juvenile Detention Center, and the project to fill the eggs got underway.

“This is a great project for the kids, if I can keep them from eating too much of the candy,” Garcia said. “We were scrambling to keep them busy this week, and this project just fell into our laps. It’s great to have the opportunity for our kids to participate in something like this.”

Under close supervision, the juvenile detainees will stuff each of the estimated 2,500 plastic eggs. The stuffed eggs will be hidden Saturday, March 26, at Young Park in advance of the 10 a.m. Springfest 2005, which is billed as “the largest egg hunt in the region.” The event also will feature games, giveaways, live music and a variety of other programs for area children. The event is free to the public.

This isn’t the first time Doña Ana County’s juvenile detainees have participated in community events. Last summer, they filled sandbags for use by rural residents experiencing neighborhood flooding.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Please note that, due to security concerns, NO PHOTOGRAPHY OR VIDEOTAPE will be permitted at the Doña Ana County Juvenile Detention Center.