happening peoplearchive

Keith Sheldon

After graduation from college in her home state of Virginia, Keith Sheldon joined the Peace Corps and spent three years in Burkina-Faso, the fourth poorest nation on earth. "It changed my life," she says. "My relationship with money is so different." Sheldon also met her husband, Kevin Young, in the Peace Corps. When they returned in 1987 , they toured the West Coast and decided to settle in Eugene. She found part-time work dealing with young felony offenders in the county's Youth Services Department, while he established and tended their organic Healing Ground Farm at the top of Fall Creek Reservoir. Nineteen years later, Sheldon still works part-time (by choice) with Youth Services, as a probation officer with an all-girl case load. "I sit with the family and do an assessment," she explains. "Can they take care of appropriate consequences? Eighty percent of charges never go to court. We divert, divert, divert." She points out that time spent in prison is the best predictor of who will go bad. "It's $160 per day not well spent," she says. "It just shapes more criminal behavior."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 16 March 2006

hp archive