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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Creative Community Service

Here at Bronx Community Solutions, we're always thinking about ways to make community service sentences more creative and meaningful. This article caught my eye: "Juvenile Agency Starts Free Lawn-Service Program":

Elderly residents of Ward 5 in the District will get their lawns cut once a month free through a program created by the city's juvenile justice agency to give youths under court supervision a chance to give back to the community.

The D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services kicked off this year's program last week at the Northeast home of Eddye L. Williams, 109, thought to be the city's oldest resident. Nathaniel and James, two youths from the agency's New Beginnings Youth Center, who were identified only by their first names, worked through the morning Friday, cutting Williams's lawn.

"Many youths lack the opportunity to participate in the kinds of positive activities that most kids consider routine," said Vincent N. Schiraldi, the agency's director. "The free lawn service program is part of a growing effort by DYRS to involve young people in giving back to society as a way of connecting themselves to positive activities."

Research shows that youths are less likely to get arrested if they are "civically engaged" in the community, Schiraldi said.

Ward 5 residents 65 and older qualify for the program. The agency works with the city's Office on Aging and public officials to help identify participants for the program, said Reggie Sanders, the department's public information officer.

Thanks to Benjamin Chambers at the Reclaiming Futures Every Day blog for the link to the article in the Washington Post.

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