Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Young Artists and Newark Youth Court Create A Mural To Inspire Adults

Community courts connect courts, law enforcement, local organizations and the community in the effort to solve problems and broaden our perceptions of what collaboration can achieve. At Newark Community Solutions, we make every effort to incorporate young people into that dynamic. For example, the Newark Youth Court works with the Newark Municipal Court Truancy Program, the Newark Police Department and Newark Public Schools to help steer young people away from misbehavior and low-level offending.  Youth courts train teenagers to serve as jurors, judges and attorneys, handling real-life cases involving their peers. The goal of youth court is to use positive peer pressure to ensure that young people who've committed minor offenses learn accountability and repair the harm caused by their actions.

In addition to hearing Youth Court cases regularly in a courtroom at the Municipal Court, youth court members also perform hundreds of hours of community service. Our most recent youth court class and several amazing high school students from Newark's Weequahic High School, under the guidance of local artist and teacher Curtis Grayson, created a mural for the Newark Community Solutions office. The theme of “transformation" animated their work. The students set out  to create a lasting reminder of how individuals and communities can transform. I'd also add that our young people can teach us everything there is to know about how dedication to a collaborative effort can lead to an amazing (and visually stunning) outcome.

The mural was created with the support of two essential community partners the Newark Arts Council and the Barat Foundation. We hope you can join us later this spring when we unveil and install the mural in the Newark Community Solutions Offices. Stay tuned!!

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