Jarkira Shird is a Baltimore City Teen Court volunteer superstar, who has been volunteering for four years. She is dedicated to helping her peers learn from their mistakes. Every other Thursday, Jarkira, without seeking any recognition, shows up to do her part for Baltimore’s youth. Whether she volunteers as juror or bailiff, or helps organize the pizza so dinner is served without issue, the MYLaw team has come to depend on and appreciate Jarkira for all her help. I had the pleasure of sharing a slice of pizza with Jarkira before the other volunteers arrived and I asked her, what keeps bringing her back to Baltimore City Teen Court as a volunteer? Jarkira shared that she likes sitting on the jury. As a juror, Jarkira is required to listen to the testimony of the Juvenile Respondent, and subsequently ask questions to determine which sanctions will best help the Respondent learn from his or her mistake. Jarkira explained, “I like jury duty because the sanctions show how to do better in life.”
When Jarkira isn’t at Baltimore City Teen Court, she is preparing for her future. She hopes to study music production in college and save enough money to open a music studio. Her dream job is to be a music producer. For fun, Jarkira likes to go shoe shopping. Her favorite brands are Nike, New Balance and Jordans. Volunteers like Jarkira provide Baltimore City Teen Court the kind of peer insight needed to connect with other youth who need help. At MYLaw, programs such as Teen Court help prepare youth for college, careers and civic responsibility. So, I like to ask youth to think about, if they were President of the United States, what would they say to the Nation? I asked Jarkira, and she answered, “I would say that we need to be a better community, build better housing and help homeless people.” Jarkira has our vote.