The Richmond Register Jul 03, 2011, 12:00 PM EDTParalegal Jennifer L. Webb, a paralegal with Kentucky’s 25th Judicial District, was recognized for her efforts to educate young people about the judicial system when she was presented with the 2011 Law Related Education Award at the annual Law Day ceremony at the Capitol in Frankfort.
“The prestigious Law Related Education Award honors individuals who are committed to educating youth and professionals about the fundamental principles of the Kentucky Constitution,” said Patrick Yewell, executive officer of the Department of Family and Juvenile Services at the Administrative Office of the Courts.
“Teen Court uses peer pressure in a positive way for nonviolent juvenile offenders,” said Billy Stover, coordinator for Kentucky Teen Court. “We’ve found that peer pressure in a court of law has a profound impact on a juvenile offender and is very effective at deterring juveniles from committing other crimes.”
This is not the first time Jennifer Webb has made the news. In 2009 she was teaching teenagers the dangers of drugs and alcohol and persuading them to commit to a sober lifestyle as one part of Jennifer her job as Madison County’s Teen Court and Youth In Action coordinator.
“Admittedly, I had no overwhelming desire to work with teenagers,” she said. “I merely considered it an honor to be asked.”
“One of the teen court defendants came up to me and thanked me for allowing him to participate in Teen Court,” Webb said.
“He said that the experience made him learn the value of making the right choices in life. He expressed a desire to join Teen Court as a student volunteer because he was impressed at the ability of the volunteers and felt that they had treated him fairly.”
“All of the effort I put forth is truly worth it when I see kids realize they have the ability to make the right choices.”
“Teen Court encourages teens to be leaders in their schools and in the community,” she said. “I encourage the students to become involved with other programs when they are available. The statewide Youth In Action made a presentation at the Teen Court Coordinator training three years ago. I gave the information to the Teen Court volunteers and there were several kids who wanted to start a team.”
“Throughout my experience working in the court system, I have seen many adults affected with drug and alcohol addictions,” she said. “These addictions lead to devastation not only in their lives, but in the lives of their loved ones.”
“Youth who begin drinking before the age of 15 are more than five times more likely to become an alcoholic,” she said. “Making teens aware of this information will hopefully prevent them from drinking at an early age. Thus, avoiding having to escape the cycle of addictions when they become adults.
“By far, my most important job is working with the public and doing my best to be helpful to the citizens and professionals who are involved with district court,” Webb said.
“The caseloads for the dockets are enormous, so it takes all of us to keep it flowing smoothly. For an average citizen, court can be very confusing and intimidating. I try to help people navigate the system so they feel the court is serving them fairly and efficiently, as it should.”
Congratulations, Jennifer! You’ve certainly earned this award.