Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Fear Will Not Stop Me

Name: John F Jones
From: Anchorage, AK
Grade: Junior
School: Interior Distance Education of Alaska
Votes: 0

John
F. Jones, V

2410
Legacy Dr.

Anchorage,
AK 99516

907.250.4581

Fear
Will Not Stop Me

Three
years ago I joined the Anchorage Youth Court (AYC), a program where
youth can act as attorneys and judges on misdemeanor cases involving
their peers. Initially, I joined to learn about the justice system
and to see if law would be an interesting career path. On my first
case I was assigned to be a defense attorney to represent a student
who was arrested for shoplifting. It was my job to call our client
and to learn information about her to tell to the court, so that the
judges would not just have a police report to understand who she is.
During that phone call I was extremely nervous. I had rehearsed all
of my questions in advance and was fearful that my lack of confidence
in myself would be detected by my client, and potentially make her
doubtful of her defense.

When
I called her I discovered that she was a normal high schooler just
like myself. However, she had been affected by things beyond her
control,
including a broken home and siblings who depended upon her care. I
felt like she needed someone to vouch for her. After hearing her
story I no longer felt afraid.

Seeing
palpable ways in which to help students motivated me to work hard as
a volunteer. I have since volunteered hundreds of hours and have
taken an large number of cases as an attorney and judge, having
received multiple Presidential Volunteer Service Awards from the
White House for more than 200 hours of volunteer work during my
senior year. I was also elected to Bar Association President. Yet,
the most important aspect of my position is to encourage and support
the 300 student members in the Anchorage Youth Court so that they can
continue to help their clients.

Through
this, I was invited with several other student leaders to meet with
Anchorage Mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, to discuss how the Municipality can
help our program. We asked him to back our work with the Department
of Juvenile Justice to start taking minor consuming alcohol cases. I
described how this would benefit the Anchorage community because
offenders in our program are less likely to reoffend. The mayor was
willing to support us. He also invited me to to be a part of his
Youth Advisory Commission. On the Commission I work with 17 other
student members and the Mayor
’s
assistant. Our job is to recommend and execute ways for the
Municipality to help youth.

When
I look back at one nervous phone conversation, along with the
opportunities I have had to help others, I feel privileged. Never
could I have predicted this usefulness to my community. Not only have
I learned valuable skills that will help me in my adult career, I
have been able to turn a fearful event in my life into a lasting
desire to use my skills and abilities to help others. This is the
kind of enrichment I look forward to carrying into college and my
vocational career.

DmvEdu.org
| Jones
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