The Akron Legal News

Judge Theresa Dellick receives the ATHENA Award

Mahoning County Juvenile Court Judge Theresa Dellick was presented with the ATHENA Award on May 13. (Photo courtesy of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber).

Legal News Reporter

Published: July 1, 2021

It’s been approximately 40 years since a local business owner in Lansing, Michigan was inspired to create the ATHENA Award Program.
First presented in 1982, thousands of women in the United States and abroad have received the award, which recognizes female professionals who’ve demonstrated excellence in their careers, provided leadership in the community and mentored or assisted other women in reaching their goals.
In the Mahoning Valley, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber started its program in 1990. Since then about 1,000 women have been nominated, including this year’s recipient Mahoning County Juvenile Court Judge Theresa Dellick, who was presented with the award on May 13 during the annual dinner, which took place at Waypoint 4180 in Canfield, Ohio.
“I was completely shocked,” said Judge Dellick. “I was aware that I had been nominated, but I did not think I would get it. There were so many amazing women that have done so much for their communities.
“Because you are not given any advance notice, I didn’t have a speech prepared and I told my husband John he didn’t need to attend since he was starting a trial the next day.
“I truly feel the award represents the collective efforts of the court staff and its partners. If I could I would share this award with them.”
Nominated by the Junior League of the Mahoning Valley, with the input of other local leaders like retired Mahoning County Public Health Commissioner Patricia Sweeney, Judge Dellick was one of 28 women up for the award.
“Judge Dellick is an extraordinary role model for girls and women in the community,” said Sweeney, a past recipient of the accolade. “She is a humble and passionate community advocate.
“She cares deeply about the youth and families in our community. As a judge, she practices restorative justice and is working to make trauma-informed practices the standard of care across Mahoning County.” 
Junior League of the Mahoning Valley Executive Board Member Phyllis Ricchiuti, a founder of The Rich Center for Autism described Judge Dellick as “an all-around leader,” who has accomplished a great deal at the court and in the community.
“Judge Dellick is a visionary, go-getter, who thinks out of the box,” said Ricchiuti, who has known Judge Dellick for about 25 years. “What she has done at the Juvenile Justice Center is amazing. She believes young people deserve a chance at rehabilitation and she has unveiled many programs to assist them.
“She’s helped to transform our Junior League, serving as its president for two years.
“We actually nominated her for the ATHENA Award about a year and a half ago, but because of COVID the 2020 event was canceled.”
This year’s ceremony included over 500 people, with Window World Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tammy Whitworth serving as the keynote speaker.
In addition, the 13th ATHENA Scholarship was presented to Taylor Sebastiano, a biology major at Youngstown State University (YSU). The $1,500 one-time award was created in partnership with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.
For the eighth year in a row, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield gave two $1,250 scholarships to area students. This year’s recipients, Leetonia High School senior Haleigh Brock and Springfield Local High School senior Sarah DeLucia both plan to attend YSU.
A native of Howland, Ohio Judge Dellick received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from YSU and her juris doctorate from The University of Toledo College of Law.
Judge Dellick began her career as a civil trial lawyer at the firm now known as Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell. She later moved to Roth, Stephens & Blair, becoming a partner in 1993.
She then took the county bench in 1999, where she implemented the first misdemeanor county drug court.
Judge Dellick has served on the Mahoning County Juvenile Court bench since 2001, overseeing the administration of the court, as well as the detention center, intake services, probation, Clerk of Courts, counseling and community services.
During her tenure on the court, she has created and managed early intervention and diversion programming designed to reduce recidivism, increase family self-reliance and ensure the safety and well-being of young people.
The juvenile court currently has three Ohio Supreme Court certified specialized dockets, including the mental health, family dependency and drug courts. There is also a cognitive behavioral therapy unit.
Judge Dellick established Mahoning County High School in 2008, which works with at-risk, trauma-affected students to keep them in school and out of the court system.  Seven years later, the high school was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, DOJ (Department of Justice) and the Obama White House for its innovative and successful practices.
In 2012, the juvenile court was selected by Georgetown University to participate in its Crossover Youth Project, which seeks to address issues affecting foster children involved with the court system.
In addition to her work on the bench, Judge Dellick is the chair of the Supreme Court Commission on Specialized Dockets and a former member of Ohio’s SSRP Subcommittee, which oversees the Supreme Court’s initiative to advance family dependency treatment dockets throughout Ohio.
A fellow of Georgetown’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and a certified SAMHSA trauma-informed trainer, Judge Dellick has served on the Supreme Court’s Commission on the Rules of Superintendence and its Commission on Continuing Legal Education as well as the Judicial Advisory Group.
She currently sits on the Ohio Supreme Court Task Force on Improving Court Operations Using Remote Technology (iCOURT) and is a member of the National Judicial Task Force Civil, Probate & Family Justice Work Group. The task force is charged with examining state courts’ response to mental illness.
Judge Dellick also chairs the Ohio Supreme Court’s Juvenile Justice Subcommittee and is a former president and the current District 6 Trustee for the Ohio Association of Juvenile Court Judges.
While practicing law, she was named to the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Outside of the legal profession, Judge Dellick has been a member or a volunteer at many civic and professional organizations, including the Youngstown Business Incubator, United Way, Turning Point Counseling, the Mahoning County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board, Easter Seals, Phi Kappa Phi and others.
She’s also a current member of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation Justice Work Group, the Catholic Diocese Finance Council and the YSU Bitonte College of Health and Human Services Board of Visitors.
In 2016, Sandy Hook Promise named Judge Dellick a Champion of Hope. She has also received a Children’s Advocate Award from Akron Children’s Hospital.
“Judge Dellick is very deserving of the ATHENA Award,” said Kim Calvert, vice president of marketing and member services at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. “Her efforts and accomplishments speak for themselves, and she has opened many doors for other women in our Valley. She is an amazing light in the community.”