OAR will open an office in the District of Columbia in November, designed specifically to work with juveniles who have been assigned Community Service hours by the DC courts and court agencies.
“This is the first time in OAR’s 35 year history that we will be providing services in DC,” said Gail Arnall, OAR Executive Director. “We have been managing the Community Service function for the Arlington and Falls Church courts for years, so we will bring our skills and lessons learned to help young people and the courts in the District.”
The Juvenile Community Service Program in DC is being made possible by a grant from the Office of the Mayor’s Justice Assistance Program. OAR will be working closely with the juvenile and family courts, as well as the Office of Court Services, Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, and the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. OAR will focus its work in Ward 1 initially, in hopes that in future years, it will have resources throughout the city.
“Our objective is to provide creative and appropriate community service opportunities for young people so that they will begin to experience first hand what volunteering and community service is all about,” said Emmett Irby, Director of the DC Program. Mr. Emmett has a long history of working with court-mandated youth – both in residential programs and drop-in centers.
“Many children will be given anywhere from 90 to 200 hours to complete. We want the experience with OAR’s Community Service Program to be the last time these children are involved with the courts,” he said. “Unless, of course, they want to pursue a career in the legal profession,” he added.
OAR staff will be developing relationships with at least 100 nonprofits, churches, schools and government agencies to find suitable places for the young people to complete their hours. OAR will also work with churches and organizations where it would be helpful to have a cadre of young people helping to set up and tear down for events, and possibly help run the events.
“Anytime we can put these teens in contact with active and positive organizations doing great things for our community, we have a chance of capturing their imagination for what they might do with their lives in the future,” said Irby.
Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), is a private, 501 C(3) nonprofit organization that has served Arlington County and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church since 1974. OAR’s mission is to provide community-managed programs aimed at restoring the individual offender as a responsible member of the community by providing alternatives to incarceration, programs to inmates and services to ex-offenders.