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Answers from YouthZone

Following is an essay written by a young lady who went through YouthZone’s diversion program. The diversion program is designed to help prevent first-time and low-level youth offenders from entering the Juvenile Justice System while helping further community safety. My YouthZone experience taught me a lot of things; about my community, myself, and the opportunities around me. The lessons learned through this program, and community service will help me with more then just getting out of a court date. I’ve learned there is a deeper meaning of community service; it’s not assigned just to punish the kids who go through the diversion program, or to make problem children think twice about drinking, drugs, or breaking into a vacant apartment. I think that the courts assign us hours to teach us the responsibility that our “crime” proved that we may lack. Anyone could sit down and write an essay in half an hour, or write some journal entries, and the lesson wouldn’t even faze them. The time spent would be a waste of the kid’s, and the court’s, time. By assigning community service, or drug/alcohol class time, you are demanded to take responsibility for your bad decision. Twenty-four hours of my life, my summer, although not a lot, was difficult to fit into a busy schedule. Taking responsibility and organizing my priorities was really an important lesson I’ve learned through the diversion program.I also learned a lot about our community through the community service hours, or lack thereof. I found so many amazing causes throughout the valley, including battered women and safe houses, wilderness programs, and children’s summer camps and programs – most could not offer me any hours this summer – but I was amazed to find how involved one could be in our community. It’s an amazing place to live, and it’s a shame that most people are not even aware of the opportunities around us, or the amazing things our community has to offer. Few people realize how many service programs are available throughout the valley. I think that if only people knew how involved they could be, they might take the time – if they had it – and get involved. I was surprised to find how many service programs there were. Our citizens must care a great deal about this community to offer so many things to it. That might have been the most important lesson I learned; that this community is worth every hour that I put in, and much more. The people in this valley care so much about everyone, and everything else that they offer so many things – for free! It’s an amazingly commendable phenomenon that we should all be proud occurs in our community. The experience to be able to reach out to the people who needed this help was an equally rewardable feeling. Although it may not have been deep and profound services, such as those of Red Cross or Peace Corps, it was still a service that someone needed. I hope to someday head to places in need of my deep and profound help: Sierra Leon, Costa Rica, Guatemala. But any service needed in my own community is just a stepping stone to that global service. Clubs at school such as the Out Reach club and circle of friends, IB and NHS hours, and even court assigned hours are all just another step towards Peace Corps and Red Cross. That catchy phrase “Think Globally Act locally” actually has a true meaning. While I am not necessarily glad that I was arrested and put into a diversion program, I’m not unhappy with the results of being in one. I learned about my personal priorities, and feel I grew with responsibilities. I learned about the opportunities my community has to offer; to myself and all other citizens. I learned how to accept that I will have to climb my way towards global help. I was lucky that through these experiences I enjoyed such fun hours, with kids at a pin-hole photo shop, and an arts class at CMC. When I got arrested, I was not in that car, cuffed and thinking, “Its OK, I’m sure you’ll learn something out of this whole thing!” But in the end, the experiences, lessons, and hours themselves were worth the cold cuffs and snappy cops. I’m not saying I’m ready to run out to get arrested again; hopefully we will never see each other in this context again! But I hope to carry on with community services, through school programs, and of my own free will. Thank you, YouthZone, for a less painful experience than I ever thought getting arrested could be. My YouthZone time was lucky, and I thank you for the opportunity to right my wrong in such an amazing way. Just another one of those amazing opportunities I was talking about earlier, I suppose – only I think in kind of the opposite way. Thank you, YouthZone, for a less painful experience than I ever thought getting arrested could be. My YouthZone time was lucky, and I thank you for the opportunity to right my wrong in such an amazing way. Just another one of those amazing opportunities I was talking about earlier, I suppose – only I think in kind of the opposite way.


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