Juvenile Diversion


Volunteers for Youth Justice provides educational intervention and support to young people and their families who have been referred by area courts, school systems, community agencies, and parents. For more information on the classes listed below, contact Shonda Houston-Dotie, Director of Youth Programs, at (318) 425-4413, Ext. 104 or at shonda.houston@vyjla.org.


Stamp Out Shoplifting (SOS) is targeted to juveniles with first-time theft offenses; however, repeat offenders are also accepted. SOS also can serve as a prevention program. Youth are required to attend a 4-hour workshop, complete community service, and personally deliver a written apology to the store manager or owner of the stolen item. Classes are held on the third Saturday of each month. Parents are required to attend.

Location: VYJ, 900 Jordan Street, Shreveport
Location: Bossier Instructional Center, 2719 Airline Drive, Bossier City
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Fee: $40.00


Power of Choice (POC) is a 6-session series of classes which encourage youth participants to consider how their decisions impact their lives. A variety of topics are explored in POC, including peer pressure, goal-setting, conflict resolution, sexual responsibility, substance abuse, and the importance of an education. POC classes are held the first three Tuesdays and Thursdays of the month. Each class lasts 1 1⁄2 hours. The program’s length provides an important opportunity for volunteers and staff to develop relationships with youth in order to better serve their individual needs. Parents are required to attend 6 Parent Power of Choice sessions along with the youth.

Location: Misdemeanor Referral Center, 546 Olive Street, Shreveport
Location: Bossier Instructional Center, 2719 Airline Drive, Bossier City
Time: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Fee: $40.00


Teen Court is a program designed to offer non-violent, first-time juvenile offenders the opportunity to be judged by a jury of their peers, accept responsibility for their actions, and make restitution for their offenses. Youth volunteers serve as attorneys, bailiffs, clerks, and jurors. Referrals to this program are made by the Caddo District Attorney’s office. Any youth age 13 – 18 may volunteer. Court is held on most 4th Mondays of the month.

Location: Caddo Juvenile Court, 1835 Spring Street, Shreveport
Time: 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. Fee: $40.00

School-Based Teen Court is a Teen Court at Huntington High School. This court hears cases of minor rule infractions on the school campus. The debate/law studies class participants facilitate the court hearings. Students may be sentenced to detention, school beautification, apology letters, and essays. Students are referred by the discipline principal to avoid suspension.

Location: Huntington High School, Raider Courtroom, 6801 Rasberry Lane, Shreveport
Court sessions are scheduled based on referrals.


Conflict Resolution Program is designed to address the dynamics that lead to violent behavior, with the goal of preventing school fight violations. Middle and high school students who have a first fight during the school year are eligible for the program. Students may also be referred for a verbal altercation in an effort to prevent a physical fight. If a student chooses to participate in the program and it is successfully completed within the time required, the student will avoid a court appearance for that particular offense. Students are also able to shorten their out-of-school suspension days. Classes are held Monday-Friday at Caddo Student Services (formerly Central Elementary School). Referrals come from principals and child welfare hearing officers.

Location: Caddo Students Services Center, 1638 Murphy Street, Shreveport
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Fee: $50.00 School Fights; Free to Prevention Referrals


Girls Empowered to Move Successfully (GEMS) & Gentlemen Excelling and Navigating Towards Success (GENTS) is a mentoring program that allows middle and high school females and males to participate in educational workshops, attend cultural events, and conduct community service projects. The goal is to improve self-esteem, leadership, and social skills. Students served by VYJ staff may also be referred to be paired with an adult mentor from the community. Participants are asked to commit to the program for a minimum of 1 year.

Location: Leadership classes are offered at Huntington and Green Oaks High School, Shreveport