Get Involved

Project Youth Court is a unique way for high school students to get involved with real cases involving teenagers who have admitted responsibility for misdemeanor offenses. Instead of focusing on punishment, youth court volunteers are responsible for listening to the full story of what happened and coming up with a sentence that tries to repair the harm done by the incident. Every restorative contract is designed with the goal of accepting responsibility and repairing harm to the victims, the community, and the offenders themselves.

From serving on a jury to speaking as a youth attorney, there is a position that fits all everyone’s skills and interests. All high school volunteers will be trained by a professional attorney and will have access to older mentors who have gone through our program. Throughout the year, our high school volunteers are also offered extra opportunities, like free advice on resumes from college students and trips to see real cases in federal court. It’s also a great opportunity to meet students from other schools throughout the city, and looks very impressive on a resume or college application.

Once you’re ready to commit to our program, head over to the Volunteer Application tab and fill out a quick application. We’ll be in touch shortly. If you have any questions, feel free to email our Interim Executive Director Jane Michaud at jmichaud@projectyouthcourt.org. She’ll be happy to help you get started. Hope to see you soon!

How Can You Volunteer?

  • Jurors

    The majority of our volunteers serve as jurors. Members of the jury are responsible for listening to the case and then ultimately deciding its outcome.  Their jobs is to come up with a fair and creative outcome so that the offending young person has the opportunity to repair the harm he or she has caused to the victim and the community.

    Very often, volunteer jury members will find themselves serving on a jury with former clients who were assigned to the position as part of their restorative contract. This offers clients the chance to experience the other side of the justice system and allows them to see how their peers discuss and think about crime in their communities.

    Deliberations last approximately twenty minutes. At the beginning of each deliberation session the jury members vote for a foreperson who facilitates the conversation, makes sure everyone has an opportunity to be heard, and presents the verdict to the bailiff. The foreperson must also make a short statement to the courtroom outlining why the jury settled on the decision that it did, any relevant advice for the client, and the consequences they see the client’s actions having on other youth and community in general.

    Throughout the trial, jurors must always act professionally and are required to abide by the Youth Court Rules & Dress Code and the Oath of Confidentiality.

  • Jury Foreman

    The Jury Foreman is in charge of the jury and has the responsibility during jury deliberations to ensure that all jurors are focused and the facts of the case are considered in coming up with the most appropriate Restorative Contract for the client.

  • Youth Attorneys

    Youth attorneys make opening statements, question the client and the victim (if present), and make a closing statement.

    The representatives for the client are youth attorneys who advocate for the client. Youth attorneys make opening statements, question the client, and make a closing statement. The representatives for the client pay particular attention to the harm the client has caused to themselves and how they can positively develop as a person.

    The representatives for the victim and the community are youth attorneys who advocate for the victim and the community. Youth attorneys make opening statements, question the client, and make a closing statement. The representatives for the client pay particular attention to the harm the client has caused to the victim and the community.

  • Bailiff

    The Bailiff is in charge of maintaining smooth transitions during court room proceedings. The Bailiff introduces the judge and court case that will be heard, swears in witnesses for the case, escorts the jurors to the deliberation room, and dismisses the court at the end of the proceedings.