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Volunteer Services Partnership

Chattahoochee Valley Libraries

Innovation Leader: Jim Shehy, Volunteer Coordinator, jshehy@cvrls.net

Problem Statement

The Juvenile Justice Department was having a difficult time finding positive, safe, and educational places to assign their teen probationers to complete their court-ordered community service.

Innovation

A Partnership with Chattahoochee Valley Libraries and the Juvenile Justice System creates a beneficial relationship to meet the needs of the parties involved. The Library provides a safe, positive place where the juvenile probationer could provide service working the required amount of court-ordered community service hours. This relationship provides the Juvenile Justice Department a safe environment to place teens, while offering volunteer service to areas of the Library. The Library staff provides a positive role model for the teens and meaningful work to be accomplished.

Progress

The pilot program resulted in the completion of the hourly community service requirement in addition to helping the Circulation department by shelving books. The teen probationer was exposed to positive, responsible adults to serve as role models from within the Library, and the experience of working within the library’s circulation department helped to expose the teen to the materials, services, and events that the public library offers. The teen not only completed her required hours for community service, but also continued to volunteer at the Library to complete additional service hours needed for a school requirement. The partnership continues with the reliance on the Juvenile Justice system evaluating and recommending which juvenile offenders would be best suited for the public library and public service, and Volunteer Services working with each individual Library department to determine the proper placement where the individual will assist the most in needed areas while being enriched by the Library experience.

The success of this partnership has enabled the Library’s Volunteer Services to also partner with residents of the local Housing Authority to provide community service opportunities needed to maintain their contractual housing requirements.