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Positive Youth Justice in Action: the DYRS Youth Council

“Young people demonstrate a positive identity when they have a sense of personal well-being and a sense of connection and commitment to others” -- From Youth Development: A Common Language, the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation.

The DYRS Youth Council gives youth a structured way to give back to the DC community. Its members gain experience in leadership, community service, and career development. The youth in the DYRS Youth Council volunteer locally for organizations such as DC Central Kitchen and speak on behalf of DYRS at meetings and forums, inspiring by example hundreds of DC young people to make better choices to improve their lives and their communities. DYRS established its Youth Council in 2013 to provide court-involved youth with advanced leadership training, expanded mentoring, and volunteer service opportunities to encourage active citizenship and setting positive examples within and around the District of Columbia.

To date, DYRS Youth Council members have participated in the Mayor’s Youth Town Hall meeting, summits, and focus groups conducted by national juvenile justice organizations. Members also serve as an advisory body for agency leadership and DC YouthLink service providers.

Participation in the Youth Council is a privilege. Youth must be recommended by their DYRS Case Manager, be in compliance with their commitment to the agency, sign behavioral contracts and gain approval by an agency case management supervisor to participate in the Youth Council. Beyond their roles as peer leaders, college students and community stewards, many Youth Council members express a strong interest in gaining experience in community outreach, job skills and career development.Positive Youth Justice in Action: the DYRS Youth Council