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August 9, 2000


Volunteer Information Center Opens at the René C. Davidson Courthouse
1225 Fallon Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Superior Court of California,

County of Alameda

Volunteers from the community began providing public information services on August 7, 2000 for the Superior Court. The volunteer information center, located in the lobby on the first floor of the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland, operates under the direction of the Court Auxiliary Program of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.

Volunteers serve as Volunteer Information Officers and provide daily service from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The volunteers provide general information to assist the Court’s customers to more quickly locate court departments, offices or services. This is the second court location in the Superior Court supported by a volunteer information center. A very successful volunteer information program operates at the Hayward Hall of Justice that started in 1997.

The creation of the Volunteer Information Center at the René C. Davidson Courthouse results from significant community participation. In 1998, the Superior Court developed a strategic Community Focused Court Plan under guidelines from the California Judicial Council and direction from the Court’s Community Focused Court Planning Committee. The project is chaired by Judge Gordon Baranco, who together with numerous other judges, members of the bar associations and the community, participated in an initial year long plan development process. The process included substantial community outreach and comment from the residents in the many communities in Alameda County. Frequent suggestions included a need to provide better information services at the point of entry to each court location. As a result, the development of volunteer information centers became part of the court’s strategic plan.

"An information center in the lobby of the René C. Davidson Courthouse has been needed for a long time. The Court is proud to partner with the community to provide this service to its customers" states Ronald G. Overholt, Executive Officer of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda. "Not only are we meeting the needs of the community, the community has also shown its support for the Court by responding to our request for volunteers to staff the information centers. We are pleased to have them as part of our Court community."

Volunteers for the information center were recruited through a countywide search. Respondents to the recruitment demonstrated a real interest in the judicial system and in helping their fellow citizens. An orientation day was held for volunteers on July 19, 2000 that closed with a ceremony in Department One with Honorable William A. McKinstry, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court officiating.

Additional volunteers are needed to support the Volunteer Information Center. The Court continues to recruit interested volunteers for the current information center in Hayward and Oakland with tentative plans for future centers at other Court locations. The program will help court customers and users by improving access to court services and locations. The Superior Court encourages interested individuals to recommend the Court Auxiliary Program, as a community service experience, to friends and colleagues.

Please stop by to meet the volunteers at the volunteer information center when visiting the René C. Davidson Courthouse. Call Judith Crosby, Court Auxiliary Program Coordinator at (510) 891-5508 for more information about the program.

The contact for this information release is Barbara J. Fox, Chief Assistant Executive Officer at (510) 272-6504.

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