If children aren’t showing up for school, odds are they are going to struggle. That struggle leads to a slippery slope that often ends up with the student dropping out. Those who drop out of school face dismal employment prospects and limited options for success. That’s why the work of the Truancy Diversion Program (TDP) volunteers is so important. Truancy Diversion Program volunteers who motivate students to stay in school and graduate have achieved sweet success. To acknowledge that success, the volunteer judges who visit schools to mentor students were recognized at a dessert reception.

District Court Judge William Voy presides over juvenile cases and currently oversees the TDP that was established by Judge Gerald Hardcastle in 2002. “Every kid you touch is probably one less kid that I see; and that’s the whole point of this; so, thank you,” said Judge Voy.

Volunteer after volunteer got up to receive their ruby-red, gem shaped award and shared their experience in making a difference in the lives of the young students. Former federal public defender Paul Turner who now volunteers for the program said, “I represented people in prison. I saw a lot of lives that have been destroyed. To have a chance to actually help someone to have a life is a meaningful thing for me.”

School representatives who support the program were thanked and recognized at the reception. The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court administers the TDP in collaboration with the Clark County School District, the Nevada State Public Charter School and the Achievement School District. More than 1,600 students participated in the truancy diversion program this past school year.

Attorneys, mental health professionals or law enforcement officers who are interested in volunteering to mentor students to stay in school should call 702-455-1755.