Volunteers from a number of area high schools were recently recognized by Kathleen Rice at the first Nassau County Youth Court Volunteer Appreciation Event on July 26 at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University for their dedication to the program that is administered by the DA’s Office.
Each of the student volunteers had been trained by the district attorney’s office to take on roles of prosecutor, defense attorney, bailiff, clerk, and juror during youth court hearings, which helps young people stay out of the criminal justice system by requiring that the offenders, all 17 or younger, to acknowledge their wrong-doing, take responsibility for their actions, and re-connect with their community. Youth court volunteers dedicate themselves to helping their peers learn from their transgressions.
Top honors were given to East Meadow’s Lauren Melandro, graduating senior Kaitlyn Berkowitz, and Uniondale High School’s Indigo Jones, each of which had volunteered more than 100 hours in the past 16 months.
Also among the volunteers was student Christopher Dunne.
Volunteers receive community service credit for their efforts and learn about civic responsibility, the law and develop public speaking skills.
These courts aim to steer young, non-violent offenders away from the criminal justice system and towards support services from drug treatment to anger management to vocational job training.
“It is inspiring to see the hard work and dedication these young men and women have put into the Youth Court, and the results of our Youth Court hearings are proof that the future of our criminal justice system is in good hands,” Rice said in a statement. “They have served as role models for their classmates and their communities, and I look forward to seeing what will accomplish next.”
The following students were honored at the event:
- Kaitlyn Berkowitz – East Meadow High School
- Christopher Dunne – New Hyde Park High School
- Veronica Harris – Uniondale High School
- Stephanie Heim – East Meadow High School
- Tyriek Hernandez – Uniondale High School
- Chelsea Jacques – Holy Triniity High School
- Indigo Jones – Uniondale High School
- Joan Komolafe – Baldwin High School
- Benjamin Kornick – Roslyn High School
- Vidya Laljie – East Meadow High School
- Ayayzia Lee – Uniondale High School
- Lauren Melandro – East Meadow High School
- Anisha Mirchandani – Floral Park Memorial High School
- Daniella Monniello – East Meadow High School
- Michael Pepe – East Meadow High School
- Ibrahim Pasha – Uniondale High School
- Amanda Romeo – East Meadow High School
- Justin Schloss – East Meadow High School
- Andrew Schneider – Great Neck South High School
- Briyenna Souter – East Meadow High School
- Jessica Stauber – East Meadow High School
- Ashely Urrtutia – Floral Park Memorial High School
- Sophia Valentin – Uniondale High School
- Sable Velasquez – Baldwin High School