- Category: Volunteers
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2016 14:25
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Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Colorado Springs Teen Court! This program could not succeed without the dedication and support of its volunteers. Not only does volunteering with Teen Court look very impressive on college and scholarship applications, it also provides you with a wide range of opportunities to interact with individuals from schools all over Colorado Springs.
The primary mission of Teen Court is to use the positive power of peer influence to stop criminal behavior at the earliest stage using the concepts of Restorative Justice. The Peer Panel process was built around this idea. Teen Court conducts Peer Panels on scheduled Tuesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Volunteers are primarily needed on Peer Panel nights since there are usually 20 to 30 cases scheduled to be seen and sentenced by the panels. Each panel consists of 3-6 student volunteers and one adult case manager. The panel members question both the defendant and the defendant's parent/guardian individually before deliberating on a sentence they deem appropriate for the defendant to complete.
In addition to Peer Panels, Teen Court also conducts Trials for the more serious cases. Defendants in the trial process receive their sentences from juries made up of former defendants, offering those defendants the chance to experience the other side of the justice system while helping another at-risk teenager. Attorney and bailiff training is provided for high school students every quarter throughout the year. If you are interested in becoming a defense and/or prosecution attorney or a bailiff with Teen Court, please let us know. We are always in need of new attorneys and bailiffs!
Be sure to fully complete the Student Volunteer Application if you are interested in becoming a regular volunteer so that we have your contact information. Teen Court also requires all volunteers to purchase a Teen Court shirt for both professional and identification purposes while in the courthouse. Teen Court shirts are available in multiple sizes and can be purchased for $20 (no tax).
Check out these videos, generously made by Leadership Pikes Peak's Leading Edge Class of 2015.
Student Volunteer Facts
- 3-6 student volunteers per panel — plus one adult case manager
- Panels usually see 3-4 cases per session (20-30 panels are held on scheduled Peer Panel Tuesdays)
- Panels run from 3:00 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.
- Four student attorneys per Trial (two defense, two prosecution) — plus one mentor attorney for each team
- 1-2 bailiffs per Trial
- Trials take place monthly on scheduled Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.
Student Advisory Board (SAB):
- Must be at least 16 years old
- Must have at least one year of experience volunteering at Teen Court
- Must submit a brief essay detailing reasons for applying and how the applicant feels they can benefit the Teen Court program
SAB members meet once a month to:
- Examine Teen Court volunteer policies
- Revise training
- Evaluate volunteer and case manager performance
- Mentor new volunteers
- Promote additional teambuilding and leadership skills
Student Volunteer Demographics
- Approximately 200 middle and high school student volunteers currently serve with Teen Court
- Student Volunteers range in age from 13 to 19 years old
- Represent more than 35 area public and private schools
- Come from all eight area school districts as well as several home-school programs
- Can be former defendants who have successfully completed their sentences and have the opportunity to return and serve with Teen Court as volunteers if interested
- Contributed 2,426 hours of service in FY 2015-2016
- Have been winners of the Presidential Gold Medal for Volunteer Service (four years in a row) and Colorado Springs Center for Nonprofit Excellence Youth Volunteer Group of the Year for 2010 and 2012
- FY 2012-2013 Included: one Boettcher scholar, two Daniels Fund scholars, one United States Senate Youth Program scholar (fully funded by the Hearst Foundation), one UCCS Chancellor Leadership scholar, one Colorado State International Baccalaureate scholar, one Rotary Champions Foundation scholar, one Stanford Fund scholar, and one Whole Person scholar to Oral Roberts University (the highest level of Whole Person Scholarship to attend ORU)
- "I believe that my involvement with Teen Court has been fundamental in preparing me for scholarship interviews, particularly. Being part of peer panels has helped me to think critically about situations and people, ask meaningful questions, and voice my ideas amidst a group of people. Additionally, I am very thankful for and honored by the letters of recommendation that Teen Court employees have written on my behalf!" - Teen Court Student Volunteer
Volunteer Training (offered every quarter)
Peer Panel Training (mandatory for ALL volunteers)
- Teen Court has started hosting "training panels" on scheduled Peer Panel Tuesdays for new volunteers
- Peer Panel I - offered for new volunteers, explains the Teen Court process and details all possible sentencing options
- Peer Panel II - offered for more experienced volunteers, reinforces professionalism/procedure and the concepts of Restorative Justice
- Case Manager Training - offered for adult volunteers, addresses any concerns with volunteer behavior along with current/new protocol
Student Attorney Training (generously provided by 4th Judicial District and Municipal Court judges): Two levels + Bar Exam
- Basic Attorney Training - Must be completed in order to begin participating in Teen Court Trials as a 2nd chair attorney
- Advanced Attorney Training - Must be completed as part of the process of becoming a 1st chair attorney (more experienced student attorneys who have completed all levels of training)
- Bar Exam - Must be completed in order to become a 1st chair attorney after approval from Teen Court staff based on skill and experience
Additional Training (provided throughout the year)
- Diversity training
- Program updates (new classes, changes in procedure etc.)
- Guest speakers from referral agencies
- Presentations by Teen Court class facilitators
- Restorative justice questioning (proper questions and techniques for asking them)
- Guest speakers from both Colorado Springs Police and Fire Departments