220.127.116.11 (he didn’t give a real email address) commented on the most popular blog I’ve ever written, one where I exposed a company called Community Service Help, Inc. and its affiliated nonprofit, Terra Research Foundation:
I completed approx. 300 hours of community service online with some site and it was affiliated with the Terra Research Foundation back in about 2013. I work full-time and have far better things to do than complete community service and jump through the endless hoops the court system makes you go through in their attempt to “fix” me over a minor violation. I presented the hours sheet to my Probation Officer and he never asked what I was doing for community service exactly, and guess what, I never felt the need to tell him either. That’s his job to find out if it’s legit or not, not mine. He approved it once I completed all the hours and that was the end of it, I haven’t felt a single ounce of remorse for it either. We all moved on with our lives. So, kudos to anyone who has “fooled” the court system by completing online community service by watching videos. You made the right decision.
I’m so glad Jay wrote. Like others who regularly write to insult me regarding this blog, Jay really wanted to mock me for my hardline advocacy over the years against Community Service Help and Terra Research Foundation – both of which have taken down their websites and, apparently, have gone out of business (hurrah!). But instead, he provided a perfect comment that shows exactly why these organizations are unethical and even illegal: here’s a person admitting that it wasn’t really community service. He’s admitting it was a lie. He got away with it but, of course not everyone does. And, thankfully, at least some companies are getting targetted by law enforcement and paying a steep price for what the courts are seeing as not just inappropriate activities, but illegal activities.
The other downside of organizations selling letters affirming community service when, really, none has been done, is that this will make courts and probation officers all the more suspicious of virtual volunteering. As I’ve blogged before, I’ve worked with some people as online volunteers who needed community service hours for the courts, and they’ve all been terrific volunteers. Virtual volunteering is real volunteering. Organizations selling community service harm that message.
So, thanks Jay, for the great comment!
My other blogs on these companies that sell virtual volunteering and other community service in order to fool probation officers and courts, which include links to the various media articles about these companies:
Haters gonna hate, November 2014 update on Community Service Help and other similar, unethical companies
Community Service Help Cons Another Person – a first-person account by someone who paid for online community service and had it rejected by the court.
Online community service company tries to seem legit, a November 2013 update about efforts these companies are making to seem legitimate
Update on a virtual volunteering scam, from November 2012.
What online community service is – and is not – the very first blog I wrote exposing this company, back in January 2011, that resulted in the founder of the company calling me at home to beg me to take the blog down
Online volunteer scam goes global, a July 2011 update with links to TV stories trying to expose these scam companies
Courts being fooled by online community service scams, an update from November 2011 that is the most popular blog I’ve ever published