Provided by Prince William County Bar Association
The PWC Bar Association has been inspiring, teaching and affirming area youth through its Court Tours, So You’re 18 and Beat the Odds programs since 1999. All these community service programs are made possible through long standing partnerships between the local bar association and area school districts or juvenile service agencies, with financial support through the Prince William County Bar Foundation.
According to Kris Spitler, Esq., President of the PWC Bar, “That’s a generation of youth who have been encouraged to pursue law or law enforcement as a career; have learned how legal rights, restrictions and responsibilities change when they turn 18; and have received a scholarship and other support to continue their education. Our Bar Association cares about the youth in our community!”
Middle School Court Tours Program
Through the Court Tours Program, middle school students are brought to the PWC Judicial Center, where volunteer attorneys guide them through the courthouse, explain the duties of the courts, and visit court in session at the Circuit and General District Court levels. Following court, the students get to ask questions of the judges, attorneys, bailiffs, clerks and interpreters, who all play a role in the administration of justice for the citizens of PWC, Manassas and Manassas Park. The program ends with the students participating in a Mock Trial on the subject of underage drinking or sexting. Each year, additional middle schools participate in the program. According to Jackie Lucas, Esq., who spearheads this program every year, “we are working towards 100% participation by area middle schools for the 2019-2020 academic school year.”
So You’re 18 Program
Through the So You’re 18 Program, high school seniors learn about the ways in which legal rights, restrictions and responsibilities change when they turn 18, and become an adult, in the eyes of the law. This program is presented to every high school senior in PWC, Manassas and Manassas Park, by specially trained volunteers. The Bar Association also partners with PWC Voter Registration to register eligible students to vote. For the graduating class of 2019, the Bar reached 7400 students, not only with live presentations, but also by distributing the “So You’re 18” student handbook, which was made available at no charge from the Virginia State Bar. The VSB has also developed a great website to support the program, which can be viewed at soyoure18.com. The PWC Bar has just developed a short video featuring a live presentation, which provides another great resource for teachers and students. The video can be viewed on the PWC Bar Association’s website.
Beat the Odds Banquet
The PWC Beat the Odds Banquet seeks to recognize and affirm area youth who have come in contact with the local juvenile justice system, through abuse, neglect or an otherwise unstable home environment, and have achieved academic and social progress despite the odds against them. These students are nominated by case workers who work for the Community Services Board, Department of Social Services, Juvenile Detention Center, Juvenile Probation, or by Guardians at Litem, who all have a vested interested in the success of their students.
Six such students were honored at this year’s BTO Banquet, each receiving a $2,000 scholarship, made possible by generous donations from businesses, individuals and philanthropic organizations. According to Brad Marshall, Esq., President of the PWC Bar Foundation, “Since 1999, we estimate that approximately 120 students have received scholarships totaling over $225,000.” Two prior scholarship recipients spoke at this year’s BTO Banquet, each with an amazing success story, and words of wisdom to share with the 2019 honorees. Mary Mozingo, a 2007 recipient, concluded her remarks by saying, “There’s a world of people who will support you unconditionally, who will become your family, and they’re here tonight!”