Views expressed in this blog are mine alone and are not intended to represent Williamson County policy nor intended as legal advice.
One of the options we give people who have a hard time paying their fines is community service. Sometimes, community service is part of their remedial order, especially for juveniles. I thought I’d go over some of the options available in our area.
We tell people that they can volunteer with any non-profit in the area that will agree to sign off on their hours. Goodwill is a common source of hours, but there are plenty of other options.
One place to start your search for organizations to volunteer with is the website www.volunteermatch.org. You can give your location and they’ll help you find organizations nearby. You can even tailor your search to your interests. Like working with tech? You can filter for that. Want to work with animals? You can filter for that, too.
VolunteerMatch is a great resource for adults but finding organizations that will take youth volunteers is a bit harder. Many groups have age limitations both for the safety of the volunteers and privacy of those they work with. The Round Rock Serving Center website has a portal, www.youthopportunitytounite.org, that focuses on volunteer opportunities for youth.
Another choice for our juvenile defendants is performing a service project. They can be tailored to the youth’s interests and skills, allows them the opportunity to give back to their community and connect with others. Examples include:
• creating a new power point presentation for our lobby
• creating a mural or other art for the court or other facility
• gathering items for a food pantry, animal rescue, the homeless or a women’s shelter
• knit or crochet baby blankets, hats and/or scarves
• offer babysitting service during PTA meetings
• volunteer at vacation bible school or summer camp
• bake and deliver cookies or bread to soup kitchen or shelter
Service projects need to be approved by the court and take more than just a few minutes to complete, otherwise, the sky’s the limit.