Four-hundred-plus Jefferson County youths were seen in the county courthouse July 11, although none were there to directly participate in court proceedings. “I want to let these kids know there is more to the courthouse than getting in trouble,” Save Our Children (S.O.C.) founder the Rev. J.D. Roberts said when planning the July 11 Know Your County Courthouse program, now in its fifth year. “There is so much more than criminal proceedings going on at the courthouse.”
Some of the services Roberts said youth were introduced to were the tax office and county clerk’s office.
“Our Jefferson County Courthouse is a treasure trove of offices that provide much needed public services to local citizens,” he said. “While criminal proceedings do take place there on a daily basis, the negative association of the courthouse and jail can impact these children well into adulthood and intimidate them from exploring and enjoying all our courthouse has to offer.”
Aside from learning about the sometimes-overlooked functions of the courthouse, the youth in attendance were also privy to one-on-ones with courthouse personnel, attorneys and judges; and a host of prize giveaways including TVs, Lamar gear and sports tickets.