Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Students Advocate for Justice in their Communities

Image of a group of high school students holding an oversized check

Students from Collinwood High School in Cleveland received a Youth for Justice Implementation grant for a project about teen pregnancy prevention.

Image of a group of high school students holding an oversized check

Students from Collinwood High School in Cleveland received a Youth for Justice Implementation grant for a project about teen pregnancy prevention.

It’s not every day that middle school student activists try to solve problems such as animal abuse, bullying, domestic violence, homelessness, and teen pregnancy. But that was the scene May 7 at the Riffe Center in Columbus when more than 150 Ohio students took part in the 19th annual Youth for Justice Summit, a program of the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education.

“These students are tackling real world problems,” said OCLRE Executive Director Lisa Eschleman. “Domestic violence is not an easy topic for adults to solve, yet we have a group of eighth-graders who developed ways to address this issue.”

Youth for Justice is designed to empower youth to be actively engaged citizens who work together to make a positive difference in their communities. Students identify a problem relevant to them, then develop and implement solutions.

Summit project evaluators selected four teams, out of 18, to receive an Outstanding Project Award:

  • “Fighting Bullying,” Greensview Elementary School (Upper Arlington)
  • “Relax, Refresh, Respect,” Pleasant Street Elementary (Mt. Vernon)
  • “Domestic Violence,” St. Francis School (Cleveland)
  • “Positive Role Models,” Heritage Middle School (East Cleveland)

This year’s summit also marked the first time that OCLRE aided teams in implementing their projects. The Youth for Justice Implementation Grant was awarded to two teams: “Botkins Bully Busters” (Botkins Elementary, Botkins) and “Railroaders Against Teen Pregnancy” (Collinwood High School, Cleveland). Botkins students will spread awareness of bullying by distributing “no bullying” frisbees at their school track and field day. Collinwood students will design team shirts to wear when they give presentations about teen pregnancy prevention, a prevalent issue in their hometown.

“It’s rewarding to empower young students and watch as they make incredible differences in their communities,” said Eschleman.

Youth for Justice has a positive impact statewide and includes teams from urban, suburban, and rural areas. Teams showcasing projects at the summit besides those already mentioned included: Heritage Middle School (East Cleveland); Leaves of Learning (Deer Park); Ripley Union Lewis Huntington (Aberdeen); and St. Cecilia School (Columbus).

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