Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust’s Youth Services Division is on a mission to transform the lives of young people by cultivating opportunities for youth to develop into responsible citizens and increase their upward mobility. The division aims to increase youth exposure to lucrative and emerging career pathways through youth empowerment, leadership development and civic engagement.
MDEAT Youth Division has operated the Miami-Dade County Teen Court program for over 23 years. Miami-Dade County’s Teen Court is part of a national network of teen and peer courts and the largest chapter in the state. This second chance youth diversion initiative has provided more than 8,000 youth an opportunity to correct their wrongs and aided in maintaining Miami-Dade County’s less than 4 percent juvenile recidivism rate. Program participants are trained and connected to over 100 mentors that maintain good standing with the Florida Bar Association. Those bar members assist with the Teen Court hearing and training process.
Youth facing a misdemeanor charge or minor offense are typically referred to Teen Court by a referring agency such as the Juvenile Services Department. The hope is that instead of getting a blemish on their record, Teen Court would instead give the teen a second chance by allowing them to be tried in a court of their peers - other youth who also act as jurors and attorneys under the guidance of professional judges and attorneys. The outcome is usually an alternate sanction, such as a letter of apology, counseling sessions, or community service hours, among other possible sanctions.
Life Skills Workshops
Core Life Skills Workshops are required for all youth referred to Teen Court. These workshops include:
Teen Court Locations:
Tuesdays at 5:15 p.m. South Dade Government Center 10710 SW 211th Street, Court Room 2-2 Cutler Bay, FL 33186
1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. Miami Gardens City Hall 18605 NW 27th Avenue, Commission Chamber Miami Gardens, FL 33056
2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. North Dade Justic Center 15555 Biscyane Boulevard, Court Room 207 Miami, FL 33160
Thursdays at 5:15 p.m. Richard Gerstein Justice Building 1351 NW 12th Street, Court Room 1-3 Miami, FL 33125
The Youth Services Division exposes youth participants to high-paying and emerging industries through workshops, conferences, and professional opportunities.
Youth Services cultivates an enriching experience that includes:
Engagements with experts from targeted industries
Field trips to employers in emerging vocations
Job shadowing opportunities
Professional development curated in partnership with trade associations and professional organizations
Community service and experiential opportunities in relevant industries and occupations
Mock interviews, resume writing workshops and internships
The Division recently partnered with Mayor Levine Cava's Fit2Lead program to connect program participants with local enterprises to facilitate meaningful professional experiences. Students acquire first-hand professional experience, inspiration to complete their studies, and transition to the next phase of their lives.
Employer engagement takes place in the following ways:
Assist in the training of students through internships, mentoring and career awareness activities
Provide input and feedback regarding curriculum and instruction to help students develop the skill sets necessary for participants to achieve competency in various career areas
Provide dedicated employees to meet with students to discuss career opportunities, demonstrate work processes and share experiences using relevant technology and applying work-related techniques.
Invite leading employees to give testimonials regarding their experiences to motivate students to pursue various career pathways
Youth Services incorporates Teen Success Coaching throughout its programming. Young people can take advantage of vocational and mental health support from dedicated staffers. Success Coaching also includes a curriculum targeting job readiness and connectivity.
Success Coaching programming includes the following training workshops:
Resume Preparation Skills
MDEAT’s Youth Development Division provides curricula, character development, psychoeducation and related services that support the program goals and lead to improved performance in self-efficacy, academic achievement, career readiness, pro-social behaviors and decision-making.
Mental Health Services Teen Court offers mental health services that promote physical and emotional development among youth. These resources allow young people to:
Learn more about themselves
Receive evidence-based assessment and treatment to equip them with necessary life skills
Share experiences with others in a group and individual setting
Connect with subject matter experts
Address negative thoughts and emotions in an accepting environment
Gain knowledge that will prove invaluable in the future
Volunteers engaged in the Youth Development Division make a significant impact in the lives of youth residing in Miami-Dade County. Through its service programs of Teen Court, Career Pathways and Mental Health, volunteerism in the division creates great opportunity for middle and high school students and adults to engage in programming areas of interest that will allow them to earn community service and explore career fields that are not ordinarily accessed.
Volunteering is a fulfilling experience as an advocate for your own community and allows for possibility to become a mentor and create legacy. Adult volunteers assist with the training and mentorship of youth engaged with the division. The Youth Development Division would not be successful without the volunteers – both adults and youth.
The following requirements are needed to be eligible to be a volunteer.
Must be in middle or high school
Ability to engage in positive peer pressure interaction
Volunteer for a minimum of four months
Must be 18 years of age or older
Ability to positively impact young people
Available to volunteer at least four times per year
Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) partnered with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) to offer Student Court. This collaborative initiative is a student-powered, peer-sanctioning process that provides an alternative to indoor and outdoor suspension. Student Court helps schools develop a culture of positive behavior and respect for the established School Rules.
In articulating a vision for school discipline, MDEAT offers suggestions and findings that support restoration of healthy interactions; helping participants learn from their mistakes; development of new opportunities for adults working with students to listen to students’ sides of the story; and implementing effective responses to reduce misbehavior.
Student Court provides:
Law Education and
Related services that support improved performance in the areas of academic achievement, attendance and discpline
The Student Court program is designed to
Help empower youth
Provide an avenue to reduce time spent out of school due to low-level infractions
Address safety issues
Create a positive learning environment
Help students become well-educated, civically-engaged citizens
Promote positive peer pressure
Foster character building
Encourage critical thinking, problem solving-decision making and other positive leadership skills among students
Other benefits include
Improved school safety
Discipline options for administration
Reduces student continuous involvement in school-rule violations
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