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This year’s theme is “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change.” The Youth Court members will educate the local community about the theme. They will discuss the preamble of the U.S. Constitution “We are the people of the United States.”
The White Plains Youth Bureau’s Social Justice for Youth Community Youth Court will bring the community together by educating, networking, and advocacy for social justice. The Law Day program will include a Career Panel breakout room with local leaders, an Evidence Collection Crime Scene breakout room to be led by the Youth Court members, and a Peer Mediation breakout to bring awareness that there is an alternative solution to school suspensions.
The members will also advocate for Mental Health Awareness in recognition of May being Mental Health Awareness month and lastly, they will put on a Mock Trial to show off their amazing skills in the courtroom.
The White Plains Youth Bureau Social Justice for Youth Community Youth Court won an Outstanding Law Day Activity Award from the American Bar Association in 2021 and received a Proclamation from the Westchester County Executive George Latimer for having the first Law Day program in Westchester County in 2021 and they received another Proclamation from the City of White Plains Mayor, Thomas Roach.
The primary goal of Youth Court is to offer juveniles the opportunity to avoid the irreversible and disadvantageous nature of a permanent criminal record and instead get a second chance through the benefits the program offers: participation in community service, mental health counseling, and substance abuse and delinquency prevention education. Juveniles who go through Youth Court trials are also given a youth advocate and an adult mentor who provides support and guidance through the process.
The Youth Court had a 100% success rate last year, not one youth committed a further offense.