January 4, 2008
Pro bono opportunity with new truancy reduction program
We are looking for lawyer and non-lawyer volunteers who would like to get involved in a truancy reduction program, Project KEY (Keep Engaging Youth). The commitment is for at least one evening per month for one or more years.
Project KEY engages three middle schools in east Columbus, identifying children who have attendance issues (ten or more unexcused absences during the current school year) and intervenes to work with the student and the family. The volunteer will be trained in truancy intervention to serve as one of a three member panel (Community Truancy Board) to identify the source of the attendance problem and to craft a plan through mediation for improving attendance. The training will be held in late January and the boards will begin meeting in February.
The board meetings will be attended and overseen by a Project KEY Advocate who has maintained contact with the student and family and is familiar with the student’s circumstances. Principal responsibilities of board members include attending assigned Truancy Board sessions; participating in the interviewing process and revising an intervention plan/agreement; operating within all state and district guidelines and policies; and helping maintain an efficient/cohesive board.
Project KEY seeks diverse individuals with varied backgrounds connected to the communities in which the schools are located, whose personal integrity is beyond reproach and who will maintain the highest order of professional conduct. Lawyers, paralegals, staff, and their families are eligible to participate. Interested individuals should email their name, address, phone number and email contact information to: Edwin England, Project KEY Coordinator, Edwin.England@fcesc.org or Marion Smithberger firstname.lastname@example.org.
The pilot program works in conjunction with Columbus City Schools, the Juvenile Court, BREAD, the Franklin County Prosecutor and other stakeholders.