TimeBank Youth Court
Provided byDane County TimeBank
Dane County TimeBank: An Overview
The Dane County TimeBank is a network of individuals and organizations in Dane County working to increase efficiency, opportunity and resource sharing through mutually beneficial exchange -- building community ties and community self-sufficiency. TimeBank members are a caring and interconnected community of people who help each other by sharing our abilities, talents, and experiences. By both giving and receiving, we learn to appreciate the value of each and every member and also come to believe in the value of our own contributions. Instead of separating our community into those who need and those who provide, we recognize that we all have needs and gifts to share. When members provide a service for other members, one TimeBank Hour is earned for each hour spent providing the service. Members can then exchange each TimeBank Hour earned for an hour of service from someone else. (DCTB), with a focus on equality and community building, strives to encourage all members' strengths and involvement. TimeBank Member Coordinators take great care in matching individuals for the success and benefit of all involved in each exchange. We believe through these exchanges members build positive relationships and we broaden support networks within the community. Things that may not be as accessible due to financial situations, insurance, qualifying factors, etc. become accessible to everyone through timebanking.
A goal of Dane Co. TimeBank is to use the TimeBank structure to create and support projects that accomplish what people want for their own communities.
The TimeBank's youth court project works with middle and high school aged youth who have made a mistake, and could potentially receive a ticket for the incident. Instead of ticketing, they may participate in our youth court program, where their case is heard by a jury of other youth. The jurors listen to the situation and recommend an agreement to the youth based on each individual situation. Agreement components can be anything from mentoring to tutoring to writing up a plan for achieving your future goals to writing a rap reflecting on the incident. The youth then signs the agreement, which is designed by the jurors to be restorative and strength based and increase the youth's skills and support system. When they complete their agreement successfully they avoid receiving their ticket and having something appear on their juvenile record.
The goal is to keep young people engaged in things that they enjoy and are benefiting from. They can build a stronger social network and build their skills, capacities, and work experience. The Dane County TimeBank's program is modeled on Washington DC's Time Dollar Youth Court, and now underway in all four of Madison's High Schools - East, West, LaFollette, and Memorial, as well as Verona High School, and two community locations - James Reeb Church (eastside) and Fountain of Life Church (southside). School based youth courts run monthly during the school year. Community courts run weekly year round.
We are currently looking for youth jurors to participate at all sites. Check out this video of other youth jurors talking about the project:
There are hundreds of youth courts across the nation. The connection to the TimeBank is what makes this program unique in two key ways:
1. All of the jurors and participating schools are earning timebank hours for their service, so they are being rewarded for the work they do. Jurors who join the TimeBank as individual members earn hours for doing jury duty and hearing cases. They then can spend those hours on things they need/want from anyone else in the TimeBank. Jurors have spent their hours on things like gardening lessons, tutoring, music and art lessons, mentoring, etc. When a juror does not want to join as an individual member, they earn hours on behalf of their school (all participating high schools are organizational members). The schools can then use these hours to bring in additional resources. Schools have used their hours for things like anger management and mentoring for general population students, service learning trips to participating organizational members, staff workshops, yoga classes for students, etc. The connection to the TimeBank provides a ripple effect of helping and assistance through the exchange of time. It increases access to resources for all participants.
2. Through the connection to the TimeBank, jurors are able to be very creative and craft agreement components that are individually based on youth's strengths, interests, and needs. The Dane County TimeBank is one of the largest and most diverse timebank in the world. With over 2200 members, including around 200 organizations, there are countless resources we can tap into for this program. By using TimeBank members with experience working with teens, we are able to provide all kinds of agreement options including anger management, skill building and interest focused mentoring, tutoring, various discussion groups, job shadowing in the youth's field of interest, art/music lessons, classes, and much more. After the youth completes their agreement they have the option of joining the TimeBank and continuing anything they wish to. We have many youth that enjoy certain parts of their agreement including things like one on one sessions, art/music lessons, etc. By connecting with the TimeBank these things, which are not always accessible to youth, are available. These components promote longer term positive relationships with adults in their community.