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IBA: Volunteer Judges Needed for Teen Court

September 26, 2012

Reach for Youth is seeking local attorneys to serve as volunteer judges at Teen Court, a program designed to reduce recidivism for first-time juvenile offenders by giving them a second chance to repair the harm they’ve caused without experiencing formal court prosecution.

Teen Court also helps teens and pre-teens, aged 11 to 17, to be accountable by providing constructive consequences for their actions while providing leadership opportunities and resolution training for young volunteers as participants in the peer-sentencing court. When teens successfully complete Teen Court, the original charges are dismissed by the court and their record stays “clean.”

The Teen Court program is held three times a week, with each court night beginning at 6 p.m. and concluding around 7:30 p.m. Attorney volunteers serving as volunteer judges preside over three cases scheduled each night. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least one court night per quarter, though greater involvement is welcomed and encouraged. Training is provided to all volunteers. Volunteer schedules are flexible and are typically distributed four to six months in advance.

An Open House will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, where prospective volunteers will be able to view a mock Teen Court session to learn more about the program.

Interested in volunteering? Contact Chris Ponti at chrisp@reachforyouth.org, or visit the Reach for Youth website at www.reachforyouth.org to learn more about the program.•

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