OWEGO, NY – A new program designed to help some troubled teenagers in Tioga County turn their lives around is getting a financial boost from a businessman with his own tale of redemption.

Adam Weitsman, owner of Upstate Shredding, Weitsman Recycling donated $2,500 to the Tioga County Probation Department today.

The money will benefit the department’s new “Decision Points” program, an evidence-based initiative aimed at encouraging juvenile delinquents, primarily between the ages of 14 and 17, to make better life choices.

Weitsman, who once spent time in prison and on probation for a financial crime, surprised probation officials by increasing what was to be a $500 gift to $2,500.

“Anything we can do to keep those kids engaged, and thinking about the right path, and make changes now before they’re adults, is great. So, I really appreciate what he’s done,” said Probation Director Joy Bennett.

“Twenty years ago I was part of the probation department in Broome County when I got in trouble. It did a lot of good for me and I think the same experience I had with the probation department in Broome County, it could happen here in Tioga County and get kids back on the right track,” says Weitsman.

Decision Points brings four to seven teens who have been charged with crimes together in a group setting to engage in role playing and discussion of consequences.

Bennett says the teens are rewarded for their participation with pizza and soda, which the donation will fund.

She says now that they’re receiving an even greater gift, she may consider other incentives for good behavior such as new sneakers.