Brownsville Youth Court was like a second family to me during my last two years of high school. At Brownsville Youth Court, it was about more than the job, it was about the passion that brought us all together to serve. Not only did Brownsville Youth Court teach me the fundamental tools necessary to be a leader, they believed in me and my dreams. Brownsville Youth Court taught me things I could use in my future, such as team building skills, resume writing, professionalism and interviewing skills! Brownsville Youth Court went above and beyond as a community justice center, creating a long lasting tie with every member that has joined.
During my time at Brownsville Youth Court, I didn't realize the amazing opportunity that was at hand. To come in every Tuesday and Thursday to hear court cases with a peer led jury began to feel like a regular routine. It wasn't until I graduated and shared my accomplishments with others that I realized the amazing opportunity I was offered and the special impact I had on my community. With Brownsville Youth Court, I realized that age is truly nothing but a number when it comes to service. Brownsville Youth Court taught me that my voice matters and that service is essential if we want our community to survive and to strive.
I salute the staff at Brownsville Youth Court. To them, Brownsville Youth Court was far from a job, it was almost like their baby. The staff I've had the pleasure of working with not only invested in the court to make it what it is today, but they invested in the members as well. Without Brownsville Youth Court, I would never have learned how to challenge myself to seek bigger and better. Without Brownsville Youth Court, I would never have had that humbling moment that causes you to realize you must give back to receive. I looked forward to every week at Brownsville Youth Court and until this day I still have a special place with them in my heart!
Opportunities like this need more recognition among high schools and New York City itself. This is a wonderful opportunity for students and future change makers. Brownsville Youth Court pushed me one step closer to my purpose and helped me realize that I am here to change the world one youth at a time.
My favorite thing about Brownsville Youth Court is knowing that I can come back tomorrow and still have a home.
Much thanks to B.Y.C.!
Ashia Barnes served on the Brownsville Youth Court from May 2011 to May 2012. Ashia is currently enrolled at Howard University and is the Co-Chair of the Build-A-Dream Mentorship program.