Daily Point of Light # 2149 Apr 30, 2002

The Layton Youth Court was established September 1998. Youth Courts are a diversionary juvenile program whose purpose is to provide those youth offenders, with no previous criminal history, a second chance not to receive a juvenile record. The Court adjudicates misdemeanor offenses for juveniles 12-17. Youth offenders are referred to the court by resource police officers in local schools, patrol officers, and by the schools themselves.

After agreeing to plea guilty, the youth offenders are sentenced by a panel of their peers. Youth Court members are trained to serve as judges, bailiffs, clerks, mentors, peer counselors, and all aspects of running a successful court. Many sentencing actions used by the Youth judges are programs administered locally by the town court, and some are run entirely by the youth. Among such programs are Peer Counseling and the CHOICES Class.

Youth Court is a very demanding volunteer effort for the youth to give something back to their community. Members of the Court spend the spring and summer devoted to a significant amount of time completing the training course required to serve on the Court. This is done on their own time, after school and during the evenings. Court is held every Wednesday evening at 5:00 p.m. at the Layton City Center.

Shantelle Cochran is a member of the Youth Court and serves with enthusiasm. A Utah State Youth Court Board sponsors an annual three-day Youth Court Conference every year. Shantelle attended one in June 1999, which was held in American Fork. She also attended another one in June 2000, held at USU in Logan, at which she was one of the emcees, who were in charge of the entire conference. The conference helps youth build skills in leadership, communication, and team building. A variety of other skills are also offered in workshops.

Shantelle was also able to attend a National Youth Court Conference held in New Mexico in October 2000. She is currently on the State Youth Court Board as a youth member and served on the Committee to organize and run the 2001 Conference held in June in Cedar City. Since Shantelle became a member of the Court, she has served as a senior judge, who chairs the sentencing panel, as well as a judge on other panels, bailiff, clerk, and secretary. This year Shantelle is the President of the Layton Youth Court.

As a mentor, Shantelle has exhibited genuine concern for the youth she is assigned to guide. She is a very responsible person and is dedicated to the Youth Court. She takes her tasks seriously and is extremely reliable. She has been involved in several extra activities that the Youth Court has been invited to participate in. She was chosen to be in the Youth Court Promotional Video for the state of Utah. The Layton Youth Court received the Silver Bowl award from the United Way in Apri1 1999 due to the tireless effort of Shantelle. She and other members of the Youth Court were involved in the passing of the Youth Court bill by the 1999 legislature. Shantelle received a Student Presidential Service Award for her service in 1999 and 2000. To date, Shantelle already has completed 198.75 hours of service with the Layton Youth Court this year and will receive the Presidential Student Service Award for the third year in a row.