TEEN COURT Overview
Teen Court is an innovative diversion program for first-time juvenile offenses. It is a real court that is run entirely by teen volunteers. We organize around youth empowerment and restorative justice. Justice for youth by youth!
Youth-led restorative practices have the potential to harness the collective knowledge of youth to shape plans of repair that are achievable and aim to draw youth further into the community, rather than ostracizing or marking youth as undesirable.
In addition to equipping youth with valuable skills, Teen Court also allows for a more comprehensive evaluation of harm and focus on skill-building, affirmation, and positive behavioral growth, rather than mere punitive discipline.
Teen Court has been a program of the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods since 2001. We partner with the Humboldt County Superior Court, Probation, law enforcement, schools, and community agencies to deliver healthy services to our community. Youth Courts are a national movement.
Online Referral Portals
3 Restorative Programs
TEEN COURT is a real court run entirely by teen volunteers addressing misdemeanor-level offenses. It is a diversion program based on restorative justice, where teens focus on supporting and helping youth instead of merely punishing. Youth have the option to restore relationships, be held accountable, and move forward without the shadow of a police record.
COURTHOUSE HEARINGS: The Eureka Courthouse hearings have teens serving in the roles of jury, attorney, clerk, and judge, with an adult mentor judge and attorneys providing guidance.
JURY COUNCILS: Jury Councils involve a handful of teens who sit and listen to a case and come up with a restorative plan along with the participant. In Jury Councils there are no student attorneys or judges, just a jury of peers.
Location: Eureka Courthouse, Teen Court Conference Room, or Virtual
Times: 4:15-6:00 PM, Thursdays
Peer Support Group
ATTENDANCE COUNCIL is a peer-led support group for students struggling with chronic absenteeism. Fellow students help the clients create an action plan to get them back on track for success. We hold an Attendance Council every Wednesday from 4:15pm-5:15pm.
This is a support group that is adult facilitated but peer led; it is a place where youth can leverage their experience to help pull back others from school disengagement by providing peer-to-peer mentoring. In a supportive group setting, teens come up with incentives, explore barriers, and markers for success.
In addressing attendance challenges, it is our goal to create a program that will help keep youth out of trouble, off the streets, and foster positive interaction with caring adults and peers.
Location: Teen Court Conference Room or Virtual
Times: 4:15-5:45 PM, Wednesdays
Prevention Program for Substance Experimenting Teens
YOUth Choose is a FREE alcohol and other drug early intervention for young people. Three interactive sessions are one-on-one with an adult facilitator. An additional session with a parent/guardian is optional. Program is voluntary or court mandated. Virtual or in-person. Anonymous and confidential. Referrals can be sent through email, the button above or call (707)444-0153. Or youth and parents can call on their own. Sessions cover:
- Identifying resources and support
- Reflecting on decisions
- How to make positive changes through action plans
Location: Teen Court Office or Virtual
Times: by appointment
TEEN VOLUNTEERS: If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you can email/text/call us about an opportunity to observe a hearing before making a commitment to apply. You can also just watch the orientation video to learn more, and then get in touch with us to ask any questions. Or do the 3 easy steps below and start volunteering right away!
3 EASY STEPS TO START VOLUNTEERING
You’ll still need to attend our 2-hour jury training when it is offered, typically held in the fall and spring. But you can start with us right now.
TEEN COURT LEADERS PROGRAM
Teen Court offers two track levels of involvement. Everyone starts out with an initial 2-hour training and volunteers as much or as little as they like. Then at the 2nd semester or the end of the year, youth have the opportunity to decide to join a more intensive track- the Teen Court Leaders.
- TRACK 1: Volunteer to serve in positions for restorative proceedings. Volunteer as little or as much as you like.
- TRACK 2: The more intensive track is the TEEN COURT LEADERS PROGRAM, which is a committed group of volunteers that meets every Thursday during the school year. LEADERS receive advanced trainings, make presentations in the community, train new volunteers, go on field trips, plan court improvements, & fundraisers
TEEN COURT SUPPORTERS
Teen Court is a collaborative program involving the Humboldt County Probation Department, the Humboldt County Superior Court, Eureka City Schools, local police departments and schools, and other community service entities.
Judge Christopher Wilson
& Judge Lawrence Killoran
“I think things through before I do them, I have a better relationship with my parents, my choice of friends- it has made a huge impact on everything. I understand ‘respect’ and how important it is every day!”
Humboldt County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission (JJDPC)
Humboldt State University Social Work Department
Humboldt State University Criminology & Justice Studies, Sociology Department
Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaboration (HCTAYC)
Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP)
Teen Court Director
Sacha began working with the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods in June of 2007 as Program Assistant of Teen Court. In 2010, Sacha became Director of the program. She has an extensive background of championing restorative justice and human rights in the criminal system. In 1999, she co-founded Bar None, a prisoner advocacy and human rights organization. From 2000-2010, she volunteered with California Prison Focus, a legal advocacy organization based in San Francisco that monitors and reports on the conditions of confinement at super max prisons in California. Inspired by her volunteer work, she obtained a Paralegal Certificate and an Associate of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies from College of the Redwoods in 2006. She then interned with several attorneys and the Public Defender’s office before starting her work with the Boys & Girls Club of the Redwoods.
Sacha sees the motto “Great Futures Start Here!” embodied in our program when participants come to Teen Court for an offense but wish to continue volunteering beyond their mandatory assignments because they have found a new positive group of friends or a valuable venue where their input and presence makes a lasting impact in another youth’s life.
Rebecca Belton joined Teen Court as coordinator in May 2022, after interning with the program since January 2022. She grew up in a military family, which brought her into many different communities around the world, including Italy, Germany and California. Helping to create her love for all people no matter the social background. In 2022, Rebecca also graduated from Cal Poly: Humboldt with a bachelor’s degree majoring in Criminology and Justice Studies and minoring in Political Science. All these experiences combined help to contribute to Rebecca’s interest in seeking social justice for all.