The HBA provides two drug education programs yearly for Harris County fifth graders, in conjunction with local medical professionals, called the Interprofessional Drug Education Alliance (IDEA) Program. The presentation is held each October during the statewide Red Ribbon Week, sponsored by Texans’ War on Drugs, then again in February. Teams composed of medical professionals and a lawyer speak at schools in Houston-area school districts, reaching over 1,000 fifth grade students each session. The teams discuss both the legal and medical consequences of substance abuse in an interactive format. The medical volunteer may show how drugs affect a student’s ability to study and play sports; while the attorneys may show what happens if a juvenile is caught with drugs in a school locker. Students are encouraged to ask questions, and some team members bring props, such as handcuffs. Some teams even discuss substances that may not normally be considered drugs, such as how caffeine can affect growing bodies and minds. All volunteers are provided with written training materials and stickers and pencils as parting gifts for each student. Evaluations from schools indicate the program is well received by both students and faculty. Contact Ashley Gagnon Steininger with inquiries.
The Teach Texas Program is based on a new book from the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society and shows how the state’s court system fits into the larger picture of Texas history: its roots, heroes, growing pains, and milestones, from the days of early Spanish colonization to the present. It introduces students to the Texas court system through an innovative program combining colorful stories from the history of the Texas courts with hands-on classroom activities led by teams of judges and attorneys.
In commemoration of Constitution Day on September 17, the HBA conducts a reading program in local schools. Attorney members of the HBA present interactive readings on the constitution or good citizenship in 100 elementary schools throughout Harris County. The books are then donated to the school libraries. The reading program has set a goal of reading at 100 elementary schools on Constitution Day, reaching approximately 9,000 students each year. The HBA Lawyers for Literacy Committee has selected the book Grace for President by Kelly Dipucchio to read on Monday, September 17, 2018. We read to two groups of students back to back in 30 minute sessions with a limit of 50 students per reading session. To request a volunteer at your school, click here. To volunteer to read at a school, click here. Contact Bonnie Simmons at email@example.com or (713) 759-1133 for more information.
Law Day Readings
In the Law Day Reading program, attorneys read a book to elementary classes throughout Harris County. The book is selected by the HBA Law Week Committee based on the Law Day theme for the year and donated to each school’s library. Contact Bonnie Simmons at firstname.lastname@example.org or (713) 759-1133 for more information.
The Importance of Jury Service Program
The HBA created this program in response to low juror turnout in Harris County, especially in certain zip codes. It was designed to help increase participation and to ensure that jury pools are made up of a true cross-section of the community. The program educates high school seniors, who will soon be eligible for jury duty, about the importance of the jury system and juror participation in our American justice system. Volunteer attorneys and judges conduct interactive classroom presentations that illustrate the history and importance of our jury system, as well as statistics on Harris County juror participation. The presentations debunk myths about jury service, explain the trial process, and show students how jury deliberations actually work. The program encourages young adults to take seriously their responsibility and their right to serve on a jury and shows them how they can make a difference in their communities.