Organized by the Standing Committee on Diversity in the Judiciary, the Youth Outreach Program allows young people to have meaningful conversations with judges and lawyers from across the country.
This program brings a diverse pool of judges and lawyers into middle and high schools, summer programs, and after school programs to teach teenagers and young adults about courts and the judiciary, the rule of law, and the importance of civic engagement.
Our Planning Team works with your school to determine what your audience is interested in and what our judge and lawyer volunteers can bring to them. We've covered a variety of topics over the years, from group exercises on the Bill of Rights, to discussions of current judicial events, to college and career advice.
The Youth Outreach Program does its best to meet participants where they are.
“Our students and staff shared amazing experiences and comments about your time here. Students saw themselves in the faces of the wide range of diverse judges that came to visit; students heard their own stories in the human experiences that were shared; and they got to positively and edifyingly interact with authority figures that represented people whom several of our students had negatively experienced before. You all have quite literally changed the lives of many of our students.”
-Blanca Valencia, Humanities Department Chair, Gonzalo Garza Independence High School
Participating - Schools and Programs
- Format - In Person or Virtual?.
The Youth Outreach Program offers both in-person and virtual options, and any of our content or curriculum can be adapted to either format.
Our volunteers are located across the country and hosting the Program in-person allows the volunteers near to you to join you in your classroom. Some of our regular volunteers are also willing to travel for the Program, and we will do our best to bring judges from other regions to provide additional perspectives.
Virtually, we have successfully hosted many Youth Outreach Programs over Zoom and other platforms, with student participant numbers ranging anywhere from 15 students to 200 students at once. A virtual Program opens up our volunteer list without the travel requirements, which works well if you have a large group of students so we can maximize the number of volunteers available.
- Participants - Age Range? Do we need to be a school?
We've offered this program to students aged 12 to 22 through schools or through youth programs and summer programs. We work with any program or initiative for young people.
- Topics covered?
Most recently, we've been discussing the importance of the rule of law and the judicary's role within the three branches of government. We are happy to develop new ideas or topics depending on what your students are interested in and where they are at in their civics or government learning.
Please contact Danielle.Norwood@americanbar.org to see how we can bring the Youth Outreach Program to your school or organization.
The Committee also plans a Youth Outreach Program at every ABA Midyear or Annual Meeting. If your school or program is in a city we are coming to soon, please let us know!
Participating - Judges and Lawyers
The next scheduled Program will be on February 1 during the ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans, LA. Please contact Danielle.Norwood@americanbar.org to volunteer.
Judicial Division members who'd like to be added to our Volunteer Roster for future Outreach events should contact Danielle. We understand not every volunteer will make every Outreach event. Signing up for the roster does not obligate you to volunteer.
At this time, we are not adding non-members onto the volunteer list for the privacy and security of the student participants and of our members. Please contact us if you have questions about this.
"[We] found the students highly engaged, very interested in the exercise, and asking very pertinent questions about career paths. We were all very impressed by the engagement of the students. Judges who participate in [this] outreach activity before every Midyear and Annual meeting always learn from the students."
-Hon. Elizabeth Finn, Glendale, AZ
Program Staff Contact Info
Program Specialist, Judicial Division