Every year in Southeast Texas, thousands of teens are processed through the court system – be it as victims or offenders. Either way, the process is no place for a child to navigate the legal system for the first time. For that reason, non-profit 501(c) (3) Save Our Children (S.O.C.) has partnered with Jefferson County Courthouse to give the area’s youth a chance to encounter the sights and sounds of the court in a controlled environment during an event scheduled for July 13, beginning at 9 a.m.
“More and more kids are getting caught up in the system in the wrong way,” S.O.C. founder the Rev. J.D. Roberts said in preparing for the event, which is dubbed “Know Your County Courthouse.” “What we try to do with the judges, supervisors, etc., is to show them there are other means and reasons to go to the courthouse. There are some good things going on at the courthouse and that’s what we want these kids to know.”
Among some of the departments Roberts said gets little-to-no recognition from the community at large are the county clerk, bar association, legal aid, child support, tax collector and veterans affairs, to name a few.
“And,” he added, “there are a lot of departments at the courthouse that their parents don’t know even exist.” Which is why guardians are also invited to stay for the tour.
“We encourage the parents to stay so they can learn too what really goes on at the courthouse,” Roberts said, adding that the adults don’t have to stay for the day-long event, as long they sign up the child on-site and return to pick up their child by 4 p.m.
During the event, held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jefferson County Courthouse Jury Empanelling Room located at 1149 Pearl Street in downtown Beaumont, attendees will tour the courtrooms, talk to judges, watch a trial, view a jail run, and hear from both sides of the legal battle – the alleged criminal and their law enforcement counterparts. Lunch and door prizes will also abound – with at least two flat screen TVs and more up for grabs. With plenty of food, fun and information to be garnered from an event - which is also completely free of charge – Roberts said it would be a travesty to let the chance pass by.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime education that I feel every youth should have the opportunity to go through,” Roberts concluded. “And, I thank God for the Jefferson County Judge and Commissioners for allowing S.O.C. to partner with them in such a way that would positively impact so many lives.”
To RSVP for the event, contact S.O.C. at (409) 554-0164 or robertsjd [at] yahoo [dot] com, and each of the first 50 RSVPs get a free T-shirt.