Youth courts (also called teen, peer, and student courts) are programs in which youth sentence their peers for minor delinquent and status offenses and other problem behaviors. The primary function of youth court programs is to determine a fair and restorative sentence or disposition for the youth respondent.
Supported by Allegany County United Way, the Allegany County Youth Court (A.C.Y.C.) helps more than just the respondents sent to the program. Problem solving, public speaking, and self-confidence are just a few skills our volunteer members are taught as well. This year a young lady submitted an application for membership to the A.C.Y.C. She was shy and did not like speaking or reading out loud. As the 20-hour training progressed, this 7th grader began to make friends with the other trainees and members. She began to gain more confidence, and feel more comfortable with public speaking. By the end of training, she volunteered to take on the difficult roll of prosecution during mock trials. Now, as a full member, she speaks with confidence and authority, and never shies away from a challenge.