Youth Court Champion Awards

Youth Court Champion Award to Brian Foster
Brian Foster was honored with the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Youth Court Champion Award on Oct. 17, 2019, at the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies 66th Annual Conference. Foster, then newly elected to a three-year term on the board of PCSS, has worn many hats during a professional career that has seen him bridge the art and justice worlds. An accomplished disc jockey, Foster has worked with some of the top young performers in our region at night while working to promote youth courts in various settings during the day. He advocates for justice in both worlds and his teaching is informed by his artistic expression. He anchored the inaugural Chester High School Youth Court as a student (Class of 2011) and he has worked in schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties in the years since he graduated high school, commanding the attention and respect of both the students and the educators he has worked with. The understated ability to capture a room that he has as a DJ allows Foster to capture a classroom equally well.

Over the years, Foster has promoted youth court in many venues and with numerous partners. While Foster was a student at Chester High School, he was trained by longtime public interest lawyer Gregg Volz, and Foster and Volz have continued to collaborate over the years. Kathy Smith, a lawyer-educator who has supported youth courts as she has transitioned from Community College of Philadelphia to Chestnut Hill College, has employed Foster as an expert on youth court for her programs. Foster has joined Volz and Smith in making youth court presentations at the annual statewide Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies Conference for the past few years.

Foster’s commitment to public service and to educating the next generation of citizens is deeply rooted in a Chester family that has struggled with concerns of poverty and justice. He has chosen a path of civic engagement in tackling those issues. He just completed nearly two-year service as a member of the Pennsylvania Youth Court Advisory Committee on the Uses and Effects of Youth Courts in the Juvenile Justice and Educational Systems, helping the Joint State Government Commission of the Pennsylvania General Assembly come up with its recent Youth Court report. Mr. Foster also serves on the Philadelphia Region Youth Court Advisory Board. The Pennsylvania Bar Association proudly honors Brian Foster with 2019 Youth Court Champion Award.

Volz Honored as Youth Court Champion, October 2016
The Pennsylvania Bar Association Law-Related Education Committee and its staff coordinator, Susan Etter (shown at left below), joined the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies and the PBA's Pro Bono Office to honor Gregg Volz (below right) as Pennsylvania statewide Youth Court Champion. PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis joined Etter in making the presentation, which was followed by a CLE on Youth Court conducted by Volz and other champions in the field, Philadelphia educator John Papiano; Keith Bailey; and Dennis Henderson of Pittsburgh Manchester Academic Charter School.

Inaugural Youth Court Champion Award Presented to Schnader Law Firm in Pittsburgh, May 3, 2016
The Pennsylvania Bar Association's Law-Related Education Committee and its chair, Philip Yoon, celebrated Law Week in style on May 3 when they joined with the PBA's Pro Bono Office to honor the youth court students of Manchester Academic Charter School (MACS) and their partners at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP in an inspiring program at the Supreme Court courtroom in Pittsburgh. MACS Principal Dennis Henderson and PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Trevaskis were joined by seventh- and eighth-grade students from the school in showcasing the youth court initiative at MACS. Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice David Wecht and Duquesne University School of Law professor Tracey McCants Lewis spoke passionately to the students and adults about service and justice. Yoon then presented a plaque to Keith Whitson, Schnader's administrative partner for its Pittsburgh office, recognizing the firm as the inaugural Pennsylvania statewide Youth Court Champion. Individual awards were presented to the numerous Schnader attorneys and staff members who regularly work with the MACS students to support its youth court initiative. A youth court demonstration was followed by awards to the eighth-grade students who make up MACS youth court, as well as the swearing in of the seventh-graders as next year's youth court team. Noted attorney Carl Cooper, a longtime supporter of the restorative justice efforts at MACS, concluded the program with brief remarks. See a slideshow collection of photos from the program (click on photos to advance).