Terra Research Community Service
The Terra Research Foundation community service program was created to make community involvement accessible to those who are unable to participate in traditional community service programs. Our volunteers include people who live in rural areas, serve in the United States Military, are disabled or otherwise unable to participate in volunteering programs and anyone else who is struggling to complete their community service at brick and mortar locations. At Terra Research, we promote progressive alternatives to traditional community service. We believe that in an increasingly networked and dynamic world, the ways in which we support and serve our communities must evolve.
Terra Research believes that education is the most powerful way to improve a community. When criminal offenders apply to our volunteer program, Terra Research enrolls them into school. We currently offer over 3,000 courses, covering every subject you would find at any educational institution. Allowing our volunteers to decide which classes to take immerses them in something that they are interested in and helps to enhance their retainment of the information.
Traditional community service is nothing more than a temporary band-aid on a much bigger problem. By educating criminals we seek to improve communities for the long term. Educating offenders helps them learn new skills that may lead to jobs, keep them out of the court system, and improve their chance of living a more successful life.
Our program is unique and not the norm for court ordered community service, though, many courts around the country have embraced our program and refer us cases on a daily basis. We have already put offenders through over 3,000,000 educational courses, and helped people complete 1,000,000+ hours since January 2011.
Terra Research caters to at-risk members of the population. We frequently sponsor people who have court mandated community service, and work with courts throughout the country. We specifically involve criminal offenders, people on probation and juvenile delinquents in our community service programs because they are the ones in need. We believe that these types of people, the undereducated, underprivileged and those with a criminal history, are the ones who need to be involved in their community most, and in turn, have their community invest in them.
Typically, people with court ordered community service are told to go pick up trash on the side of the road or scrub dirty dishes. While these more traditional forms of community involvement have obvious benefits, we believe that education offers a more lasting impact.
The less educated you are, the more likely you are to end up in jail. Once you're in the court system, it isn't easy to get out. It's a vicious cycle, and is one that needs to be broken. Locking someone up treats the symptoms of a broader societal problem, not the cause itself. By facilitating the education of at-risk members of society, we believe that we are addressing the big picture.
The education levels of criminal offenders tells the whole story:
Research indicates that about 75 percent of America.s state prison inmates, almost 59 percent of federal inmates, and 69 percent of jail inmates did not complete high school. Additionally, the number of prison inmates without a high school diploma has increased over time.
Harlow, C. (2003). Education and correctional populations. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
How does educating a criminal benefit their communities?
A ten percent increase in the male high school graduation rate would reduce murder and assault arrest rates by about 20 percent, motor vehicle theft by 13 percent, and arson by 8 percent.
Research presented at the 2005 Symposium on the Social Costs of Inadequate Education. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.
The overwhelming response from our volunteers, and courts nationwide, has allowed us to tailor our service to meet any specific individual court requirements, as well as offering a website where case supervisors can log in and see their volunteer's progress in real-time. It is our goal to do whatever it takes to educate and rehabilitate our volunteers, all while working with courts to improve efficiency and produce better results.
The benefits of education are irrefutable: higher salaries and lower unemployment rates. Cities with a higher percentage of high school and college graduates have lower crime rates. Education benefits individuals, families, communities, cities, and countries in an extremely positive way.
Rehabilitation is always more powerful than punishment. By giving someone a chance to enrich their life and gain new skills, Terra Research's community service program seeks to rehabilitate at risk individuals and provide them with the tools they need to be a successful member of society.