The Board of Trustees of Community Corrections Association (CCA) Inc., along the family and friends of Dr. Richard J. Billak of Austintown, have established an endowed scholarship in honor of his retirement at the YSU Foundation.
To date, over $12,000 has been gifted with additional contributions being received. The scholarship will be awarded annually to junior- and senior-level students pursuing a degree in criminal justice.
In 1971, Dr. Billak was a counselor at the Mahoning County Jail and was frustrated by the lack of resources for non-violent offenders. In 1974, he joined with several community leaders to create Community Corrections Association Inc. with a specific mission, "to provide and develop resources for offenders coming through the system."
Today, under Dr. Billak's leadership, CCA is seen as a model organization for assisting offenders successfully matriculate back into society.
"I don't think there's any other way to classify what Rick has done but "remarkable" in terms of starting this organization from the ground up and taking it probably to levels beyond what anyone would have expected, said Scott Schulick, vice chairman of CCA's Board of Directors.
CCA currently has an annual budget of $6 million with a staff of 100, serving over 500 clients in four residential centers.