United Way Teen Court partner spotlight

Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 6:25 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - United Way of Southwest Oklahoma helps connect children, individuals, and families to resources they need, but they can’t do it alone.

United Way is fighting for the education, income stability and basic needs of every person within the community, through organizations like Teen Court.

“We are really proud of that ability to connect those in need with the resources that they need to help them get out of the situation they are in,” said Ellis.

United Way fundraises year-round, but their biggest campaign is now, which funds 20 non-profit organizations.

Lauren Ellis has been working for United Way the past nine years and said those partners are valuable to their mission.

“Our funded partners who work so hard with such limited budgets which is why we work so hard to raise the funds so that they can continue to provide those services to those most in need,” she said.

They partnered up with Teen Court in 1993. Teen Court is a first time offender program for juveniles who have been arrested for the first time on misdemeanor offenses.

Their goal is to help them dismiss their case so they can have a clean start.

“There’s so many things against them and they have to realize that they are important that they do have a say in the matter, that they’re people out there that care about them and that love them, and they are resources out there that can help them,” said Frazier.

Every juvenile they help goes through educational classes on faulty thinking, substance abuse, conflict resolution and anger management.

They have educated almost 1,400 teens in the past year alone.

“All they need is somebody to show them that they have a gift inside of them and help them draw it out can absolutely change their life forever,” said Frazier.

She said United Way has played an important part in the success of Teen Court over the years, helping fund a third of their annual budget.

“United Way is right behind us every step of the way and we can always go back to them when we have questions, when we need help.”

We’ll be highlighting two other partner organizations in the coming weeks