After five thousand community service hours, the Layton Community Action Council is finding that its streets are a little bit safer and youth are spending more time at school thanks to the efforts of all those involved. Several programs are currently being carried out including Layton’s Youth Court, Hand in Hand Mentoring, Neighborhood Watch, and the Layton Youth Council.
Prompting several awards, such as the “Red Wagon Award” presented by Utah’s Promise, the Action Council’s most impressive work may be its Youth Court. Following Governor Michael O. Leavitt’s signature on the Utah Youth Court Bill, the Youth Court has gained jurisdictional power, enabling them to hold hearing for other youth. With 101 cases adjudicated and 898 hours of community service sentenced, participants of the Youth Court program help minor offenders learn responsibility. Seventeen of the Youth Court’s participants have received the “Presidential Student Service Gold Award” for more than 100 hours of service each. The council trained 65 youth to serve as peer court judges and convened court for a total of 39 sessions.
The Hand in Hand Mentoring program helps Layton’s students to perform better in school, increase self-esteem, and improve their attitude. Brought about by the coordination and training of 45 youth mentors, the program gave a combined time of nearly one thousand community service hours. These youth mentors participated in eight Hand in Hand classes, one of which was in conjunction with the Safe Neighborhood’s “Building Assets in Youth – What Kids Need to Succeed” program.
Layton’s streets are also safer thanks to the Action Council’s efforts with the Neighborhood Watch program. More than 20% of Layton’s households participate in the neighborhood watch program. The program trained its volunteers for special duties such as Mobile Patrols, and how to be aware of potential community risks. Their Neighborhood watch program coordinator also received the “Red Wagon Award” from Utah’s Promise. Thanks to the Layton Community Action Council a total of 28 neighborhoods participate in Layton’s Neighborhood Watch program, and 1,011 new participants enrolled in Neighborhood Watch last year.
The Layton Community Action Council’s latest project is managing the Layton Youth Council. In June of 1999, Layton City Mayor Jerry Stevenson invited the Action Council to manage the youth council in hopes of reviving the program. Last year, it suffered from advisor inactivity and their charter requires the presence of an adult supervisor at all meeting and activities. The Layton Community Action Council has made the Youth Council a motivated and successful organization.
Through ongoing community service, the Layton Community Action Council has been very creative at finding and solving the needs of Layton City youth. Their emphasis on management and organization has been essential in rallying together volunteers in not only a substantial number of service hours, but in working together for the benefit of the community.