Teen Court helps those in need for the Holidays

By Dylan Porter, Opinion Editor — Each year, for several years, Teen Court members and court hearing officers pick a few families to help during the holidays. The program helps the families by providing gifts and a good holiday experience for the adults and the children.

“We provide presents usually, but sometimes the hearing officers ask the families for some of the top things they want,” Taylor Blair, a sophomore in Teen Court said.

The parents of the selected families are aware that they are being chosen to be helped. Whether they tell their children or not is up to them. However, many usually choose to keep it a surprise.

“Yes, it’s nice to see kids who have nothing finally get something they really want. It’s nice knowing that the presents you give the families can really make a huge impact on their life,” Blair said. “Everyone in Teen Court contributes to the process of helping the family. We have a day where all we do is wrap Christmas presents and have fun.”

The students in Teen Court enjoy being able to help families who may not have otherwise been able to have a good holiday. On Dec. 18, Teen Court gathers and spends the day wrapping presents for the families, and having fun.

Blair also encourages those who have not thought about it to join Teen Court.

“You meet a lot of great people, and you have the opportunity to help change other people’s lives,” Blair said.

Teen Court has requirements of admission such as a minimum of a 2.2 GPA, two teacher recommendations, committing to attending once per week for four hours of the 16 week term, and writing a brief paragraph explaining why joining Teen Court is important, you also must send your application to Jill Collett.

Members are trained during a school day at a training facility downtown, and an evening of training at Stark County Family Court.

“Teen Court is a way for kids to get a second chance. High school students take the rolls of the jury, the defense attorney, the prosecutor, and the bailiff. When kids get in trouble some get the chance to come to Teen Court and we listen to their cases. Then we give them a sentence, such as community service or an essay”, Blair said.

[Updated Aug. 8, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]