A group of young men and women from Charles County joined millions of young people April 14 and 16 to participate in community projects for National Youth Service Day, and the Charles County Sheriff's Office Teen Court program was highlighted by the Department of Justice during the celebration.
National Youth Service Day is organized by Youth Service America (YSA) and records and celebrates the positive contributions young people make to their communities year round. On April 14, Teen Court representatives and students from the Westlake High School Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group presented driving safety signs to Charles County Public Schools. The signs are posted at the exit of each county high school student parking lot. Each of the signs provides a different reminder of the penalties associated with the most common youth traffic offenses and will be rotated among the schools. The SADD students included Maryam Ftab, Toya Brow, Justina Howk, Ashley Roland, Puja Mathur, Brittany Desselle and Candace Imatong.
On April 16, the Charles County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with St. Charles Towne Center, sponsored a National Youth Service Day public display in the center court of the mall. Students from the Westlake and McDonough high school SADD group and participants in Teen Court provided literature to their peers and discussed youth health issues and youth programs in Charles County, including Teen Court and how it is an effective diversion program for first time misdemeanor youth offenders.
During the Charles County Sheriff's Office's annual Teen Court awards banquet in 2004, the Department of Justice, a supporter of National Youth Service Day, announced it had selected the Sheriff's Office as the agency it would highlight during the celebration.
Anyone interested in volunteering for Teen Court may contact Maryellen Kraese, Teen Court coordinator, at 301-609-3916. For information about Teen Court and the Charles County Sheriff's Office's other youth programs, visit http://www.ccso.us.
PHOTO: As part of National Youth Service Day, the Students Against Destructive Decisions group at Westlake High School presented safe driving signs to (back row from left to right) Cpl. Kevin Wilson, the school's juvenile resource officer, Larry Martin, Westlake's principal; Capt. Michael Wyant, Sgt. Carl Rye, supervisor of the Juvenile Resources Section; Maryellen Kraese, Teen Court coordinator, and Kathy Levanduski of the Charles County Board of Education.