Community Corrections Association Inc. Trustees and family and friends of Richard J. Billak have established an endowed scholarship at the Youngstown State University Foundation in honor of his retirement.
More than $12,000 has been gifted with additional contributions being received. The scholarship with be awarded annually to junior- and senior-level students pursuing degrees in criminal justice.
In 1971, Billak was a counselor at the Mahoning County jail and was frustrated by the lack of resources for nonviolent offenders. Three years later, he joined several community leaders to create Community Corrections Association Inc. with a specific mission “to provide and develop resources for offenders coming through the system.”
Under 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 has an annual budget of $6 million with a staff of 100, serving more than 500 clients in four residential centers.