SOY: Former volunteer Brynn Morse turns employee at Anchorage Youth Court

Published: Sep. 25, 2019 at 8:04 AM AKDT
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In junior high Brynn Morse started volunteering with the Anchorage Youth Court. For five years she sharpened her skills and eventually took over as the organizations' student executive board president. After graduating high school that could have been it for Morse and AYC instead the aspiring lawyer is back as an employee where she works part-time so that she's able to attend classes at UAA. Morse says "especially with entry-level jobs this is certainly much more entertaining and I’ve been able to continue the work that I’ve been working on for the past five years."

For volunteers, Anchorage Youth Court is an opportunity to take on the roles of attorneys, judges, bailiffs, clerks, and even jurors from grade seven to grade twelve. They represent their peers in cases with real consequences and that's why Morse finds the organization so important. Morse says "most of the kids who commit crimes, especially for the first time are truly making a mistake and it’s not something that they are going to do again or actually represents their character."

Now as an employee of AYC Morse helps plan events, helps direct the curriculum, and aids the current student volunteers with legalese. Soon though it will be Brynn taking notes, the motivated Ms. Morse is only just out of high school but already is planning to finish up her undergrad degree at UAA in a year. She then wants to attend law school before perusing a career as a lawyer.

Perhaps on the day, she passes the bar she will think back to her first case at Anchorage Youth Court where she learned an important lesson. Morse explained the moment saying "I had read a case file of a person who had committed a crime and all I could think about was my images of what kind of people were in jail because that’s what I thought of as criminals and then we started the case and I think it was when the defense attorney was talking about who this person was outside of committing the crime that I was completely shocked to realize that not only was that person fairly normal, they also participated in several of the same activities as me. That dramatically changed my perspective of what criminal justice is."

That seems like a good lesson for anyone to learn, but it seems especially useful for someone who plans to go into law.

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