Community Partnership Program

Broadly defined, community service/community partnership means giving back to the community through work performed for non-profit organizations or local businesses without financial compensation. It is sometimes used as a general term for volunteerism or youth service. It is also used for court-ordered sentencing programs, juvenile diversion programs, or school suspension programs.

Baxter County Juvenile Services participates in both service learning partnerships and community service programs. Service learning, is the blending of both academic learning and the service experience in such a way that both occur as part of academic development. This program instills in the youth self-worth, pride in accomplishment and the feeling of being needed and appreciated. It also teaches that not all rewards in life are monetary.

Baxter County Juvenile Services receives referrals for community service work from the Circuit Court, Baxter County public schools as well as its own Juvenile Diversion Program. Students may receive community service as a consequence assigned by the Circuit Court or through the Juvenile Diversion Program as a opportunity to give back to the community for violating its laws.

Public school students who are suspended from school perform community service during the hours they would have been in school for the full term of the suspension, as well as attending a specially designed class which addresses the offense for which the individual student was suspended. Students who complete the community service are allowed, by the public schools, to make up the work they missed during the suspension.

Students receiving community service work are assigned to various job sites throughout the community. This community service work experience not only provides a consequence for unacceptable behavior but also exposes the student to the business world. This opportunity could, and has, led to future employment.

Community service partnerships offers a "win-win" situation. It serves a need in the community by providing volunteers in areas where additional help is needed but financial resources prohibit the hiring of a regular employee. It provides a less restrictive consequence for antisocial behavior while holding the youth accountable for his or her actions. Community service work provides a bridge between school subject matter and its application in the real world. It builds self-esteem, social and communication skills, develops problem solving abilities and a concern for others. It helps develop character building skills and makes integration into the working community easier.

Since October 2004, Baxter County Juvenile Services, in cooperation with the Mountain Home Public Schools, has received "Community Partnership of Service" grants totaling $161,479.00.

A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drive . . . but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child!

- Forest E. Witcraft