Growing up in Danville, I had parents who set the example for the importance of volunteering within our community.

Many of my memories include going to events and programs to volunteer with my mom. One of the many places she took me to volunteer was at Peer Court.

Throughout my middle school and high school years, I volunteered on court nights as either a youth juror or teen attorney. I enjoyed the experience of being in a courtroom setting.

I always enjoyed getting to know the kids who were choosing to participate in Peer Court. By volunteering on a regular basis, I was able to observe youth offenders begin the Peer Court program and then succeed at completing it.

It is still one of my favorite parts of this program — watching kids succeed because of the choices they make.

Peer Court, Inc of Vermilion County offers youth the opportunity to volunteer with the Peer Court program during court sessions. While Peer Court always offers continuing volunteer opportunities to our youth offenders, we also recruit and train youth volunteers from throughout Vermilion County.

Youth volunteers are encouraged to sign up to volunteer as our clerks, jurors and teen attorneys during Peer Court Sessions. Court sessions are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month at the Robert Jones Municipal Building, 17 W. Main St.

We realize that kids get involved in many sports and activities during the year so they can come when they can or as often as they want.

Youth volunteers are a vital part of the Peer Court program. Youth who choose to be a volunteer juror listen to cases and help decide appropriate consequences for youth offenders.

Teen attorneys are trained to prosecute and defend cases. Teen defense attorneys work closely with the youth offenders and their parents during court cases acting as an advocate on their behalf by asking questions that bring out their good qualities.

Teen prosecuting attorneys ask questions that highlight the facts of the case and direct the youth offender to take responsibilities for their choices.

Peer Court is offering a Teen Attorney Training Workshop for teen volunteers ages 13-18 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday. This training offers youth the opportunity to get an in depth look at the juvenile justice system and become an important part of the process.

The Teen Attorney Workshop is a great opportunity for youth who want to volunteer their time in a program that makes a difference in the lives of the youth who choose to participate.

If you know a child who might be interested in participating, please call Katie Osterbur at 217-260-0023.

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