Making a Difference: Call for Volunteer Arbitrators for Juvenile Arbitration Program

March 13, 2024

In a world where the future of our communities is shaped by the actions of our youth, initiatives that provide second chances and avenues for rehabilitation are crucial. The Volunteer Juvenile Arbitration Program, led by the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, plays a pivotal role in Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens, and Newberry counties. This community-based program offers a swift path to accountability and also serves as a lifeline to young first-time offenders charged with non-violent crimes.

“Serving as a Volunteer Juvenile Arbitrator is not just about administering justice; it’s about shaping futures and fostering positive change within our communities,” says Solicitor David Stumbo of the 8th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. “It’s a chance to intervene early, guiding youth away from the destructive cycle of crime and towards a path of productivity and responsibility.”

At its core, the Arbitration program operates on principles of restorative justice. It favors a more holistic approach that focuses on repairing the harm caused by the offense, holding the offender accountable, and facilitating their rehabilitation, rather than traditional courtroom proceedings. By diverting young offenders from the formal justice system, the program not only saves valuable resources but also ensures that the youth are not burdened with lifelong criminal records that could hinder them in the future.

Stephanie Pitts, the Juvenile Diversion Director, emphasizes the program’s threefold goals: accountability, competency building, and community safety. “Our aim is not merely to administer punishment but to instill a profound sense of responsibility in these young individuals,” says Pitts. “Through mentorship, counseling, and community service, we empower them to recognize the impact of their actions and make positive choices moving forward.”

The call for Volunteer Juvenile Arbitrators is a call to action for individuals who wish to make a tangible difference in the lives of local youth. Requirements are straightforward: volunteers must be at least 21 years old, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a screening process conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Department of Social Services (DSS).

“Volunteering as an arbitrator is an opportunity to be a guiding light for young individuals who may have lost their way,” says Stumbo. “It’s a chance to invest in the future of our communities and contribute to a safer and better society.”

If you’re ready to take up the mantle of positive change and help shape the future of our youth, reach out to Stephanie Pitts at (864) 942-8843 or via email at [email protected] to learn more about becoming a Volunteer Juvenile Arbitrator.

Together, let’s pave the way for a brighter tomorrow, one arbitration at a time.