FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2011
CONTACT: County Commissioner Brian Maughan, 713-1502
SHINE for Students to Encourage, Reward Community Service
Oklahoma County and state, local school and city officials today unveiled a new program to encourage high school and college students to engage in community service. SHINE for Students will recognize students who have given at least 100 hours of community service with a special certificate and a cord they can wear on their graduation gowns.
“SHINE for Students won’t just help make our communities and neighborhoods in Oklahoma County better places,” District Two Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan said in announcing the program at Oklahoma City Community College. “It will also teach valuable lessons to the students involved in the program and help assure their future success.”
Maughan said the program is an outgrowth of the successful SHINE effort, which has diverted low-level non-violent offenders into community service efforts like removing trash and brush and painting over graffiti. SHINE stands for Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere.
Maughan cited studies showing that students involved in community service programs are less likely to drop out, do better in academic subjects and are more likely to go on to complete college.
“This really is a twofer,” he said. “Students who give back to their community also do better in school.”
Maughan said he is working with local schools and colleges to enlist their support for the program. Oklahoma City Community College, Rose State College and public schools in the Mid-Del and Western Heights districts have already joined the effort and will encourage their students to pursue their 100 hours of community service work to qualify for the recognition.
The first three SHINE for Students graduates received their cords and certificates at the event. Honored were Rachael Scott, a senior at Edmond Santa Fe High School; Stacia Lancaster, a student at Midwest City High School, and Amanda Allen, who attends Oklahoma City Community College.
OCCC President Paul Sechrist noted that the school “is pleased to host the SHINE conference. Our mission includes a commitment to our community. The SHINE program will provide another way for our students, faculty and staff to serve and improve central Oklahoma. I applaud Commissioner Maughan and other civic leaders for creating the SHINE program. I encourage everyone associated with OCCC to support the program, become involved and help make a positive difference in our community.”
Maughan and County Commissioners Ray Vaughn and Willa Johnson were joined at the announcement by State Superintendent Janet Barresi.
“I applaud the Oklahoma County commissioners and local school and college officials for launching this program,” Barresi said. “One of the core missions of education is to teach young people to be good citizens, and one way is to encourage volunteerism. It simply makes sense that students who are involved in good work outside of the classroom are more likely to do better in school as well.”
Maughan said school officials or individual students wishing to join in the SHINE for Students program can contact his office at 713-1502 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHINE Program Passes 100,000 Community Service Hours
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: County Commissioner Brian Maughan
The Oklahoma County SHINE program, which puts low-level non-violent offenders to work on community service projects, passed 100,000 total hours of labor in mid-December, County Commissioner Brian Maughan said today.
“SHINE has been an enormous success in assigning offenders sentenced to community service to meaningful and worthwhile projects and in saving taxpayer dollars,” Maughan said. “We passed the 100,000 hour milestone about 18 months into the program, and that makes it the most successful such program in Oklahoma and one of the best in the nation.”
Maughan conceived the SHINE program in the spring of 2010, in conjunction with Oklahoma County judges and the offices of the District Attorney and Public Defender. SHINE stands for Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere, and its goal has been to assign those sentenced to community service work to projects that benefit the community and save money.
“Before SHINE it was difficult to connect those sentenced to community service to worthwhile work,” Maughan said. “They would often sit around somewhere and stuff a few envelopes for a non-profit organization. SHINE gets them out in the community doing meaningful work, under close supervision. It’s a much more efficient way to administer community service sentencing, with maximum return for the taxpayers.”
Maughan said SHINE crews average from 20 to 40 offenders each weekday. Many offenders – those arrested for crimes like shoplifting and drunk driving – work two or three days each week to discharge their sentences, while still maintaining jobs and family life.
“SHINE has reduced the average daily jail population ,” Maughan said. “It costs just under $50 a day to feed and house someone in the Oklahoma County Jail, so we are saving as much as a million dollars a year in inmate costs alone and that does not even count all the dollars saved from their free labor.”
SHINE crews pick up litter, remove graffiti, clear brush and clean up parks and school grounds. During 2011 SHINE crews conducted a major cleanup at Crystal Lake in the Oklahoma City park system, hauling away thousands of tires that had been illegally dumped there through the years and restoring the park for use by school and Scout groups and area residents.
“This week our SHINE crew has been cleaning up the wildlife reserve owned by Western Heights School in southwest Oklahoma City,” Maughan said. “These are not make-work projects. They really improve our community and they give those sentenced to community service a sense of accomplishment.”
Maughan said labor costs saved by the unpaid SHINE crews benefit county and city government and school districts.
“At current labor costs, including benefits, for city or county workers, every hour worked by a SHINE crew member probably saves the taxpayers more than twenty dollars,” he said. “Multiply that by 100,000 and you have very real savings.”
Maughan said the SHINE program will expand significantly early in 2012, thanks to additional funding provided by a grant from Chesapeake Energy and a closer working relationship now being negotiated with the City of Oklahoma City.
“We expect to have more and larger crews at work in 2012,” he said. “This is a program that is attracting attention from other counties in Oklahoma and even out of state. We think it has become a model for efficient use of local government resources and the management of community service sentencing programs.”