Auction to raise money for Peer Court

Auction to raise money for Peer Court

DANVILLE — A plane ride, a combine ride and a weekend getaway to Chicago are just some of the items that will go on the auction block at the 14th annual Peer Court Auction.

The auction will be held on Feb. 8 at Turtle Run Banquet Center, 332 E. Liberty Lane, Danville. An auction preview will begin at 6 p.m., and the live auction will begin at 7 p.m.

Hors d'oeuvres will be served during the preview period.

Tickets are $10 a person. They can be purchased at the door or before the auction by calling Executive Director Paul Sermersheim at 304-8821, coordinator Katie Osterbur at 260-0023, or the Peer Court office at 443-9044.

Tickets for a 50-50 drawing are $5 apiece or $20 for five. They are on sale by calling the office or staff.

This year's auction features a wide variety of items including tickets to local concerts, plays and sporting events; specialty dinners; a vineyard tour and wine tasting at Sleepy Creek Vineyards, personal training sessions; and salon and spa services. Other items include artwork donated by members of the Danville Art League, quilts, crafting baskets, gift baskets, sports memorabilia, school and office supplies, pet supplies and much more.

One of the big items is the Chicago package, which includes a night's stay at a hotel and four tickets to the Chicago Children's Shakespeare Theater's summer performance.

"There is something for everybody," Osterbur said, adding items start at $10 and go up. "It's a fun night for the entire community and a great way to support a wonderful program."

All proceeds go to support Peer Court Inc., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Vermilion County. A United Way agency, Peer Court has an annual budget under $70,000, Sermersheim said.

"Every year, our income from the auction increases. That's a big testimony to the community," Osterbur said.

Established locally in 1993, the diversion and accountability program is for youth offenders, who have admitted their guilt or participation in offenses such as breaking curfew, littering, possession of drugs or alcohol, criminal damage to property, burglary, unlawful use of a weapon and assault.

The offenders appear in Peer Court for a sentencing hearing, at which time testimony is heard and volunteer youth "prosecutors" and "defense attorneys" argue for what they feel is an appropriate sentence.

Then jurors, also youths, deliberate and return a sentence that generally includes community service hours, restitution, written apologies, education programs and the requirement to serve on a Peer Court jury.

In 2012, the program served 100 youths. Sixty-four completed the program, and 33 are still pending.

Without the program "they would be in the juvenile court system or the municipal court system with a record," Osterbur said.

The program also benefits the community, Sermersheim added. In many cases, he said, the program's annual budget is about how much it costs to house one juvenile offender in the Illinois Department of Corrections for a year.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on January 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I wish that they had Peer Court when I was a kid.  I could have Face Booked, and Twittered my way out of it.  Adults have all those preconceived notions about right, and wrong based on their life experiences.  My yearbook could have had me as "Most Likely to be a Defense Attorney"!  It could have changed my life...