Teen Court

Teen Court of Sarasota County has received a $15,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to to support its Criminal Justice Reform Initiative for Youth, it announced Friday.

SARASOTA — Teen Court of Sarasota announced Thursday it has received a $15,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in its efforts to help reduce recidivism.

“The grant will support the facilitation of Teen Court’s CAMP X-RAYD (Examine the Reality of Your Decisions) program,” according to a news release. “Team building with law enforcement throughout our monthly Saturday CAMP is a pivotal component to the day. Success is only within reach if we pursue trust and honesty without judgement. Our goal for this day is to dive deep into the realities of what might happen if a youth continues with these risky behaviors.”

CAMP X-RAYD also includes visiting a funeral home and cemetery to discuss people who have died along with visiting support groups, talking with authorities and taking part in building exercises to try to make a difference.

The grant came through Gulf Coast’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative. The funds are used to work with youth who go to Teen Court in lieu of arrest, especially in drug and alcohol cases, according to the news release.

“Substance abuse is a dangerous problem among teenagers, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it worse,” Teen Court Executive Director Heather Todd said. “We are thankful that Gulf Coast supports us in the prevention and earliest of intervention of these choices. Positive redirection and education through experiences equals success. The foundation’s long-standing support of our work shines a light on the importance of second chances.”

She credited Gulf Coast Community Foundation for being with Teen Court from the beginning of its Sarasota County Teen Court services. She noted the programs have a 93% success rate.

For more information, visit www.sarasotateencourt.org.

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