How has Youth Transforming Justice created change in our community? Hear directly from the young people, parents and
community members impacted by YTJ programs.
The youth who've experienced restorative solutions instead of traditional punishment.
When I entered the program as a respondent, I was going through a big change
and was feeling down on myself which is not the norm for me since I am
generally a happy, positive, and confident person. I can very clearly remember
the lightbulb going off in my head after the jury foreperson spoke so highly of me
and pointed out the strengths they saw in me. It was like a switch had been
turned off and I just needed a random group of peers to point out my abilities for
it to be turned back on. It makes sense though, right? If other people that I barely
know can see it, why shouldn’t I be able to? I often look back on this experience
as having a positive impact on my life.
Youth Transforming Justice has opened my eyes to implicit bias, discrimination,
and my own privilege. I have been deeply inspired by my experiences working as
a youth advocate which has given me the opportunity to engage in social
responsibility. This experience has had a powerful impact on my understanding
and interest in social responsibility, as the values and principles are embedded in
the restorative justice model.
I would not be where I am today if it were not for the program. In both official and unofficial ways, this program has changed my life. From making me confront some more challenging internal-personal conflicts on the stand as a respondent, to helping me develop a better sense of empathy and of the "real world" through advocating, this program has helped me. That is the simplest way I can think of putting it. It has helped me through rough times and has also been a part of my life for the better parts too. This program is here to help. There IS no other way of putting it. Everyone involved truly wants to see the kid in front of them succeed and wants to help in the process. I owe a lot to this program and so do thousands of other kids whether they acknowledge it or not. This program has given me friends, experiences, and lessons I wouldn't trade for anything. If people are looking for something to model a new justice system after, this program should be the blueprint.
YTJ Leadership Member
Volunteering at YTJ gives you an amazing group of people to connect with, great chances to learn and expand your perspective, and is an overall wonderful experience. Not only is it a great way to connect with your community and peers, but it is also a nonprofit that encourages you to challenge yourself and your beliefs.
YTJ Board Member
My experience as a young activist, has been about growth and a lot of learning
opportunities. Being able to use your voice and speak up for those who can’t is a rewarding
feeling to say the least. It’s a nice reminder knowing to keep fighting the good fight.
YTJ Youth Leader
Over the past two years my involvement with Youth Transforming Justice (YTJ) has changed dramatically. As most do, I began as a volunteer for Peer Solutions (formerly Marin Youth Court) as a peer team member and eventually a peer advocate. Over time I took on more of a leadership role and began conducting peer advocate training and participating on the youth advisory board for the California Association of Youth Courts. As Youth Transforming Justice has grown I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a more hands-on part of the organization by leading their new youth racial equity team, Youth for Racial Justice in our community schools. YTJ has been doing so much good over the past decade -- I am lucky to be a part of it!
PARENT & COMMUNITY
Mom of Youth Court Participant
“If you asked me one word to express how I was feeling when I arrived at the Harm Reduction class on Saturday I would have said, “Resentful.” Resentful that I had to give up my Saturday to attend a class for something I didn’t do, resentful that I had to spend 5 hours with a kid who didn’t appreciate what I was doing for him, resentful that I was missing my other son’s baseball game and resentful for a whole pile of things. And it didn’t get much better when I had to try to think of 2 great things about my kid who I had just spent the car ride arguing with. Now fast forward 5 hours and ask me the same question and I’d have to say, "Grateful." I am so grateful for you and what you are doing for these kids and to the County for believing in your program.”
Community Member and YTJ Board Member
The Youth Transforming Justice has become a synonym to human rights, access to justice and all the actions that allow young people in Marin County to have equal opportunities in life. The success of the program is rooted in the belief that holding the young person accountable for his or her action, by providing opportunities to understand the harm caused against another and to take social responsibility to the person harmed, strengthens relationships with one’s family, friends and the community as a whole in a student-centered environment. The goal of identifying, developing and enhancing the skills that will help the young person become a more responsible and confident citizen promotes the values of restorative justice, such as equality, dignity and respect of each youth, which reduces recidivism and fosters positive change in the greater Marin