Teen Court

A program for today's youth. Teen Court is designed to develop respect for authority and the community and to stop potential delinquent behavior in teens. Teen Court capitalizes on positive peer influence.

Teen Court's jury members, attorneys, bailiffs and clerks are all teens. Teen Court is administered by the Sherman Police Department's Youth Mentor Program, whose purpose is to help people help themselves. The Youth Mentor Program is a community action organization coordinated by the police department. It is comprised of adult and teen volunteers acting as mentors and peer mentors to "at-risk" youth and juvenile offenders in the community.

The Teen Court represents an alternative approach to juvenile justice that holds juvenile offenders accountable for a sentence imposed by a jury of their peers. By offering this alternative system, we allow youth who have made poor decisions an opportunity to recognize their mistakes and learn valuable lessons. At the same time, participating youth increase respect for themselves, schools, law enforcement, the community and the legal system. Our biggest goal is to educate youth who make unfavorable decisions to be accountable for their actions in an effort to prevent further involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Teen Court is a voluntary alternative to the juvenile justice system. Participants and their guardians agree to have the matter heard in Teen Court, in lieu of formal prosecution through the Sangamon County State's Attorney Office.

Project R.I.S.E. - Responsibility Increases Student Excellence

Project R.I.S.E. is a substance abuse, anti-violence, character education and life skills curriculum taught in the 5th grade at Sherman Elementary School. R.I.S.E. is a 15 lesson program with the purpose of preparing youth for the future by equipping them with strong character education and life skills.

The curriculum includes teacher graded homework assignments and the classroom instruction of experienced teachers and officers. The student workbook includes vocabulary words, games, puzzles, and other reinforcing activities intended to make learning the information fun.

R.I.S.E. Lessons:

  1. Introduction & Course Orientation
  2. Understanding Violence
  3. Defining Support Groups
  4. Pressure & Influences
  5. Dealing Confidently with Stress
  6. Anger Management Skills
  7. Conflict Resolution
  8. Balancing Rights with Responsibilities
  9. Drug Awareness
  10. Positive Alternative Activities
  11. Leadership & Followership
  12. Setting Worthy and Achievable Goals
  13. Course Review
  14. Evaluation and Assessment Essay
  15. Graduation Ceremony
S.A.V.E. - Students Against Violence Everywhere

S.A.V.E. is a student-initiated program that promotes nonviolence within schools and communities. The Williamsville High School chapter became active in 2003 with the permission of the school administration. Advisors are selected to represent teachers, parents and the school resource officer. Students are selected to serve as board officers. Members attend prevention workshops like the Illinois Drug Education & Alliance Convention. Service projects selected by the S.A.V.E. chapter include decorating local schools and handing out safety pamphlets on National S.A.V.E. Day and during Red Ribbon Week. Chapter fundraisers have involved donut sales and hosting a teen dance after a high school football game. Students get involved in numerous prevention activities and community service projects. The chapter provides a positive group environment for the students.

Choices & Consequences
Choices & Consequences is a series of lesson plans which focus on the adolescents coming to an understanding of the risks associated with aggressive, anti-social and criminal behavior. This course of instruction is an interactive and facilitated class providing the teen the opportunity to come to positive conclusions on their own, that decisions they make today can result in life changing consequences.

Each lesson features actual courtroom cases involving teenagers who have engaged in criminal and aggressive behavior. The videos are of footage of the actual courtroom testimony. The videos also feature interviews and perspectives of witnesses, friends and family members. This portion of the videos is very emotional and hard hitting.

This course of instruction is offered in the Driver's Education Classes and Life Skills Classes. The age of the students range from 14 to 16 years old. In the future, we would like to extend this to the freshman health classes and possibly in the middle school.

Youth Mentor Program

The Sherman Police Department Youth Mentor/Peer Mediation Program is community-based and supervised by a Youth Services Officer. The primary goal of the program is to assess and match each youth with an adult and peer mentor in their community in an effort to develop a sustaining and nurturing relationship. This also expands career or academic options, and aids in eliminating barriers to safe and productive lives.

Effective communications and positive reinforcement provide youth with necessary support to sustain their new found skills and perspectives. Mentoring involves a one-on-one relationship between a youth and their mentors, over a period of time during which consistent support and guidance is provided. This support is increasingly important, especially when the youth goes through a difficult and challenging situation or period of life.

The goal of the program is to aid the youth in attaining and maintaining the skills and confidence needed to become a responsible young adult. This culminates in the youth's desire and ability to succeed in educational and employment opportunities. Mentoring is also community-building on the part of the mentor. It is a process of sharing personal knowledge, experience and skills with a less experienced youth. It requires believing in and caring about young people.

Participation in the Youth Mentor Program is voluntary. Participants and their guardians agree to program requirements prior to enrollment. This program accepts youth, ages 10 to 17 years of age.

If you are an adult over the age of 21 and would like to be a mentor then contact the Sherman Police Department at 496-3256. Get involved! Volunteer! Help mold and guide the youth of our community.