On February 24, youth participants in the joint Toronto Community Housing - Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) program showed off their self-confidence, professionalism and excellent public speaking skills in a mock trial presided over by a real Ontario Court of Justice judge. Participants were from Humber Boulevard and the Gordonridge community.
This was the fourth mock trial since the Toronto Community Housing - Ontario Justice Education Network partnership began in 2005. Once again, Judge Kofi Barnes was impressed with the �stars� that have come from TCHC neighbourhoods through the OJEN program.
Participants prepared for four weeks and attended a series of Justice 101 workshops. The training and preparation enabled the young role-players to complete another successful mock trial. Even the mock witnesses (some as young as 11 years-old) and the accused were applauded for their �on-the-witness-stand� performances.
The Toronto Community Housing - Ontario Justice Education Network partnership has been very successful since its inception. This partnership has enabled 90 young people from neighbourhoods like, Firgrove, Flemingdon Park, Glendower and Sheppard-Magellan to role-play and learn about the processes of the Ontario Courts System. The youth developed friendships and camaraderie with respected lawyers, court staff and a distinguished judge. Thanks to the hands-on experiences from the program, some former participants are considering a career with the Ontario Justice system.
The program�s success speaks to the impact of Toronto Community Housing�s Children and Youth Strategy. It offers meaningful programming and creates opportunities for young people to learn skills and develop relationships with caring adults.