Submitted by: Tonya Clenney, Program Director of Tri Valley Youth Court
On December 31, 2012, Tri Valley Youth Court completed its fifth year of operation. The Tri Valley Youth Court (TVYC) is a non-profit diversion program that offers teenage offenders of misdemeanor or lesser crimes referred from Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and San Ramon Police Departments, the Juvenile
Division of Alameda County Probation, and parents, an opportunity to learn from their mistakes, give back to the victims of their crimes and take responsibility for their actions. TVYC was created by the Center of Community Dispute Settlement (CCDS), a non-profit organization that offers neighborhood
and day-of-court mediation.
In the past five years, the Youth Court has processed 257 cases, assigned 5,302.5 hours of community service, 177 apologies, Anger Management classes, counseling (both family and individual), Life Choices and Theft classes, drug and alcohol counseling, jail tours and other restitution using restorative justice principles. The Youth Court has over 100 youth volunteers serving as Advocates (attorneys), Court Clerks and Jurors and 30 adult volunteers serving as Judges, Court Attendants, Case Managers, Jury Mentors and Advocate Mentors.
The Tri Valley Youth Court is being recognized as one of the 2012 City of Dublin’s Organizations of the Year. They have received grants from the Livermore Rotary Foundation, the Hindu Community and Cultural Center, the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore and State Farm Insurance, as well as
personal donations generated from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory HOME Campaign.
The Youth Court has also served as a unique learning opportunity. Civics and Leadership classes from Village High School in Pleasanton and the Athenian High School in Danville have participated in the Youth Court to actively learn about the United States Court System and Restorative Justice Principles. In
addition, the Attorney General from the State of Victoria, Australia and his retinue visited the court as part of a tour through the United States and Canada to discuss Restorative Justice Principles with a view towards importing innovative new approaches to Victoria.
In an effort to ensure that the Youth Court is an effective tool in working with youth, participants who have successfully completed the program and their parents are contacted by an adult volunteer to answer anonymous survey questions regarding their experience. One hundred percent of parents who responded to the survey said that they would recommend TVYC to a friend who was in a similar situation and 90% noticed an improvement in their child’s attitude after the Youth Court experience. All of the participants who answered the survey said that they thought the program was useful and 100%
said that they would recommend the program to a friend who was in a similar circumstance.
Because of the success of the Tri Valley Youth Court, CCDS started Community Youth Courts and opened two additional youth courts that serve the Hayward, Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and surrounding areas.
TVYC is currently working on plans with the local School Districts to implement Bullying and Truancy programs.
For more information about the Tri Valley Youth Court, please visit their website at www.communityyouthcourts.com or you can contact Tonya Clenney at (925) 337-7175 firstname.lastname@example.org