By Caylee Henderson, CFCC Student Fellow 2019-2020
I walked up the large staircase and through the glass front doors of Baltimore Design School’s lobby. The walls were filled with students’ projects and artwork. You could feel the creativity and inspiration, as if they were vibrating through the hallways. I was filled with excitement to be returning to Baltimore Design School for Orientation Day for the University of Baltimore School of Law Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts (CFCC) Truancy Court Program (TCP).
Baltimore Design School is a specialized middle and high school, with a design focused curriculum, comprised of 516 students enrolled for the 2019-2020 school year. CFCC operated the TCP at Baltimore Design School last year, working with approximately 15 middle and high school students each semester. During that time, I volunteered with the TCP as a tutor. I was a resource for the students to utilize if they needed assistance with homework, projects, college applications, etc. Working with these students every Thursday morning quickly became a consistent highlight of my week.
I was extremely excited to return to Baltimore Design School with the TCP for the Fall 2019 Semester. However, my role within the program has shifted. I am now serving as a law clerk for the TCP Judge, rather than as a tutor. This year, the TCP team includes a TCP Coordinator, a TCP Attorney, a TCP Mentor, a TCP Social Worker, a volunteer TCP Judge, a volunteer tutor, and two University of Baltimore School of Law CFCC Student Fellows. My role within the program is to assist the TCP Coordinator and the TCP Judge in their one-on-one sessions with the students to ensure that they have all of the materials necessary to effectively support these students.
During Orientation Day, the students were introduced to each member of the TCP Team, filled out various paperwork, and then had an opportunity to introduce themselves. Listening to the students share their dreams and aspirations following graduation from high school not only inspired me, but it also made me that much more excited to get to work with each of these students over the next 10 weeks. Having witnessed first-hand the impact the TCP can make in a student’s life, I was able to visualize the TCP helping these students reach those goals.
Prior to Orientation Day, the TCP team discussed the various issues the students face. The TCP guides the students to navigate through these issues. This program does more than help students get to school. The TCP provides support to the students through a wide array of team members, from tutoring services, to education regarding their rights as students, to developing goal setting and accountability skills, and so much more. I cannot wait to see what this semester holds.