Get Involved: Be a Volunteer

Retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge D. Kelly Thomas
Retired Court of Criminal Appeals Judge D. Kelly Thomas

Volunteer Your Time and Talent

Volunteering with youth court programs is an invaluable experience. Youth volunteers bring a unique perspective and a sense of relatability. Adult volunteers provide guidance, experience, and training to help teenage court members make fair and appropriate decisions and sentences concerning their peers.

Youth Courts are Volunteer-Driven

Hamilton County mock trial

Youth court programs could not operate without its volunteers. Teen volunteers operate the courts as jurors, advocates and court officers. Adults train and coach their teenage counterparts. 

Youth volunteers operating as court members receive extensive training from adult volunteers who are often lawyers and legal professionals serving in the community.

TN Youth Court Volunteers
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Youth court training includes mock trials to ensure teens have a comprehensive understanding of the court system and its expectations of them.

After their training, youth volunteers are sworn to carry out their duties as members of the youth court. Their duties include an oath of confidentiality and fair and open-minded consideration of the evidence.

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The Entire Youth Court Process is Voluntary

The teens and adults serving as court members and coaches are volunteers. Even the teen who appears before the court and his or her parent or guardian volunteer to participate and abide by the decisions of the youth court.

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"I have been a volunteer since the Youth Court Program started and it has been one of the most meaningful volunteer experiences of my life.  In no other program can you participate so directly in positive, life-changing restorative justice for first offenders. The student teams that staff the Courts are engaged in helping the first offender change his or her course of life, and offer thoughtful insights and peer encouragement to the offender."


"As a parent with a student representing her peers as a defense attorney, the Youth Court experience is very transformative, impactful and empowering. The opportunity made my daughter a much better person. It demonstrates how the peer-to-peer effect can make a huge difference in the lives of those serving and those that are served." 

Ready to Serve?

As Tennesseeans, we are known for our volunteer spirit. Are you ready to volunteer and make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth? If you would like to get involved as a mentor or advisor or are a student interested in becoming a member of a youth court, please email [email protected].