After 33 years of service to the City of Cheyenne, Dr. Richard Berry, has announced his retirement as Youth Alternatives Director effective September 4, 2018.
With the forthcoming departure, current Assistant Director Jay Sullivan will replace Berry as Youth Alternatives Director.
“Dr. Berry is one of our city’s greatest treasures. For over three decades he has saved the lives of countless youth and families in our community. Youth Alternatives is a success story of what works in early intervention with troubled kids and it’s because of his leadership and vision,” said Mayor Marian Orr. “I’m pleased he won’t be stepping away entirely as his connection to our schools is invaluable. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jay as well and we’re fortunate to have him as he is a natural fit to take the reigns.”
Berry states that a lot has changed for both children and parents during his 33-year tenure but is pleased that Youth Alternatives continues to support youth in realizing how they can make good decisions and ensure a positive future.
“We have started new programs and modified existing ones to meet the new demands of the changing times,” Berry said of the Youth Alternatives department. “The ongoing support from the Mayor and City Council has been invaluable in meeting the needs of the youth in our community.”
Despite his departure as Director, Berry will remain with Youth Alternatives in a part-time Clinical Supervisor position. The new role will enable him to assist with Sullivan’s transition into the Director’s position along with supervising provisionally licensed counselors and master level interns.
“Jay is ready to take the helm at Youth Alternatives,” Berry added. “His long-standing commitment to the office, his understanding of kids and families, his relationships with community people, and his vision for the future will ensure the longevity of the program for future generations.”
Sullivan has been a member of the Youth Alternatives department since 1992, being named Assistant Director in November of 2016 after time as the Court Services Coordinator, Probation Officer/Counselor, and Counselor for the Adolescent Day Treatment Program.
Sullivan has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the Laramie County Juvenile Screening Committee, Elementary School Suspension Program, Juvenile Bootcamp, Juvenile Accountability and Enrichment Program, Elementary School Counseling Liaison Program, and the creation of the department’s website www.youthalternatives.net.
“I have been fortunate and extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work under the direction and leadership of Ronn Jeffrey and Dick Berry for the past 26 years. I believe that having had this opportunity will prove to be invaluable for
the program as we proceed forward.” said Sullivan.
“I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to not only continue with the vision of Youth Alternatives but to pursue new and innovative ways to prevent our youth from becoming involved with the legal system. I believe this to be of vital importance due to the everchanging societal norms and the influence social media plays in the lives of our youth,” Sullivan added. “The possibility of change for our youth who are exposed to these challenges has become a reality due in part to the community and our community partner’s continued involvement and support of the program. As we move forward with our mission, I believe it will be essential to grow and foster these community relationships to better serve our youth and families.”
Sullivan – a Cheyenne native and Central High School graduate – earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice from the University of Wyoming. Sullivan and his wife, Cynthia, have three children: Zachary, Lauren, and Brooklynn.
The Office of Youth Alternatives is a division of the City of Cheyenne specializing in a wide range of services to assist youth and families while also focusing on preventative strategies to ensure future success. Youth Alternatives provides family counseling, court services, mentoring, outreach services, crisis intervention, and various group services. For more information, visit www.youthalternatives.net.