Colorado Springs Teen Court annual luncheon

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Hundreds of people came together to help teens who get in trouble get back on track.

Colorado Springs Teen Court luncheon

It was all part of the annual luncheon for Colorado Springs Teen Court.

Through the program, peers hear cases about teens who got in trouble and then they decide the best ways to repair harm, like through community service.

11 News talked to a couple of teens who have been through the program.

“I was a defendant in teen court because I was being a bad kid and I was shoplifting," said Syncere Hinton. "I eventually got the offer to come do teen court as my community service, and I enjoyed it so much that I actually decided to join.”

“It makes such a difference because it sculpted who I am today. It made me believe in choices and it also showed me how I impacted the community and how we can change the community as a whole," she added.

“I went to Palmer Park and I spray-painted, like, a face and my hand on some rocks and somebody heard the can rattle and called police," said Kamil Oldham.

Through the program Oldham told us he found a passion in photography.

“It’s something to distract myself from everything else or like I can put my emotion into pictures instead of out lashing or going out and spray-painting for no reason," said Oldham.

Re-offense rates for former teen defendants who go through Teen Court is only seven percent, compared to 40-50 percent for juveniles in traditional criminal court proceedings.

“We actually work with student volunteers so those teenagers between 13-18 and those students are the ones that are going to capture what’s going on in our at-risk youths’ lives. So what are they struggling with, is it home, you know, what is it?" said Morgan Mote, executive director of Colorado Springs Teen Court.

“What our volunteers do is they come up with a plan that these students are going to work on for the next six months in their life to figure out how to help them make some better choices in life," she said.

The program sees about 400 kids every year. Teen Court has seen over 8,000 cases in the past 23 years.

"We’re about the whole kid so it’s not just that a kid was shoplifting or he got in a fight, it’s about who they are as a person and what they need to be successful," Mote added.

11 News reporter Katie Pelton was the emcee of the event.

Click here to learn more about Colorado Springs Teen Court.