Teen Court Of Sarasota Inc
PO Box 48927
Sarasota FL 34230
Teen Court, Inc. changes teen lives and reduces juvenile crime in our community through unique, intervention services for juvenile offenders and through opportunities for teen volunteers to learn about and work in the legal system. 
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Heather Lee Todd
Board Chair Ms. Emma J. Joels
Board Chair Affiliation Attorney-at-Law
General Info
Organization DBA
Teen Court
Supported Organization Teen Court
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1990
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes June 2017
State Registration Yes Dec 2016
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $310,732.00
Projected Expenses $322,465.00
Impact Statement
1.  Teen Court achieved the agency's Mission to reduce juvenile crime in our community by placing 350+ at-risk youth into rehabilitative services.
2.  Teen Court achieved the agency's Mission by providing law related education to more than 4,200 area students, 200 of which chose to become active participants in the resolution of a problem: juvenile crime. Through their volunteer efforts the community was made safer with all youthful participants learning the benefits of law abiding citizenship.
3.  The organization was recognized by the Florida Bar Foundation for its contributions to reducing crime throughout Florida and its leadership in expanding the program throughout the State and across America.
4.   Teen Court, Inc. saves, on an annual basis, over $1 million in juvenile court system costs in Sarasota County.  
1.  Cultivate donors through outreach efforts and the creation of new fundraising events. 
2.  Implement new educational programs for at-risk youth.
3.  Form new community partnerships with organizations that compliment our mission.
Needs Statement
1.  $2,500 for rebranding and marketing collateral, including printed material such as pens, brochures, and mailers.
2.  $2,300 to fund administrative fees for low-income at-risk youth who receive services at a reduced or scholarship rate AND $3,000 to fund CO-OP classes for low-income at-risk youth who reside in North Sarasota County and receive services at a reduced or scholarship rate.
3.  $5,000 for a client database software upgrade.
4.  $1,000 to develop curriculum for new educational programs related to health and well-being for at-risk youth, as well as $6,800 to fund Substance Abuse Education classes for low-income at-risk youth who receive services at a reduced or scholarship rate AND $10,000 to fund initial and follow-up drug testing for low-income at-risk youth who receive services at a reduced or scholarship rate.
5.  $7,500 to fund Individual Counseling sessions for low-income at-risk youth who receive services at a reduced or scholarship rate AND $10,500 to fund Family Counseling sessions for low-income at-risk youth who receive services at a reduced or scholarship rate.
Background Statement
In 1986 the Sarasota Chapter of the League of Women Voters approached the Junior League of Sarasota, Inc. with concerns that the community was experiencing an increase in juvenile crime.  An innovative youth jury program, operating in Grand Prairie and Odessa, Texas was meeting with great success through the use of diversion programs for juvenile offenders and by providing opportunities for civic engagement for student volunteers.  Local community leaders and judicial officers determined that the concept could have a positive impact on the youth of Sarasota County.
Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc. a 501 (c) (3) organization, was incorporated in 1988 and the first Teen Court hearings were held in December, 1988.  In 1995, the Florida Association of Teen Court, Inc. was founded.  In 1996, F.S.S. 938.19 was adopted by the Florida Legislature, providing for the collection of a fee on certain traffic and court costs as a funding source for Teen Courts.  By 2011, 52 Florida counties had an active Teen Court program based on the Sarasota model.
Over the years, new programs have been added.  Peer Circle counseling began in 1989 and provides teens with an opportunity to discuss issues of concern in a peer setting.  Camp X-RAYD- Examine Reality About Your Decisions- was established in 2002 to help juvenile offenders who have substance abuse or other critical problems.  In 2011, seeing an increase in bullying and battery offense, the staff implemented Co-Op, a counseling service that helps teens learn how to interact with others in a positive way.  This includes family group counseling, individual counseling & and family counseling. 
Every year, the Teen Court staff of three full time employees works with more than 350 at-risk youth and trains over 200 student volunteers to serve as clerks, bailiffs, jurors and teen attorneys. By offering at-risk youth an alternative to the traditional juvenile system and keeping 88% of these youth from repeat offenses, it is estimated that Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc. saves the community and the court system an estimated $1 million annually.
Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
Areas Served Comments
Group 1:  Sarasota County at-risk youth who are charged with and admitted guilt to breaking the law in Sarasota County or young people that reside in Sarasota County and broke the law in another county.
Group 2:  Student volunteers in Sarasota County or neighboring counties if the student attends school in Sarasota County
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Human Services
Secondary Org Type Youth Development
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

Since the organization’s inception in 1988, Teen Court has been on a mission to identify needs amongst our community’s youth and evolve to serve those needs. Our core service has always been juvenile misdemeanor case diversion, a highly structured program that places importance on accountability and education above punishment. While we serve law enforcement agencies and the courts, our status as a non-profit organization allows us to develop complimentary programs and engage the community.


Remaining a non-profit brings rewards and challenges. The chief reward is the ability to respond swiftly to community needs. When our Executive Director observed an increase in cases related to cyber-bullying, she launched a new counseling program focused on anger management. Small group therapy sessions let our participants share experiences and ask questions they may be afraid to ask in any other format. When our Camp XRAY-D program needed a new obstacle course for its physical training and team building retreat, we reached out to local builders who overwhelmed us with support. I wish each of those volunteers could see a group of Camp XRAY-D participants figure out how to approach the obstacles as a team, for they would see how a few hours spent raising timbers and hammering nails were changing lives.


For those who know Teen Court, the value of our services is unquestionable. But for those unfamiliar with Teen Court, we face a two-fold public perception struggle. The first struggle is that potential donors may assume Teen Court is part of the court system, and therefore funded wholly through government assistance. The second struggle is that donors may be more likely to fund programs that help the “good” kids instead of who they may perceive as the “bad” kids. In reality, Teen Court is as important an opportunity for our young volunteers as it is for our defendants.


There have been many success stories over the years, students who received the kind of guidance or second chance through Teen Court who may have easily failed in the traditional juvenile court system. We have seen many adults, including members of the armed forces, return to thank Teen Court staff for the chance to pursue goals that may have been impossible had they been saddled with criminal records of guilt. And there have been many quiet volunteers who, like me, found their voices in the courtroom as teen attorneys.


As a high school volunteer in 1995, I became passionate about Teen Court. Then it may have been about playing a lawyer in the courtroom or becoming a better speaker. Now, as the Board President looking at the serious needs of Sarasota County youths, my passion is as strong as ever. It is always rewarding to learn about our participants’ success stories, but I am also mindful of the children we sometimes cannot reach. For those children we need to remain responsive and innovative, funding programs they can rely on and staffing those programs with dedicated professionals.


Jesse R. Balaity, President
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
When Teen Court was implemented by the Junior League of Sarsota, Inc. in 1988 as Florida's first Teen Court there were many skeptics among the legal community as to whether young people could actually participate in a serious courtroom process that would reduce crime! Taking over the reigns of the floundering program, my committment to the Jr. League was a six month trial period that has lasted almost 22 years. The catalyst for my commitment, as well as that of others in the community who are involved as Board members or adult volunteers, is that, as taxpayers,  the potential savings the services  provide are "priceless".  Keeping at-risk youth from entering into the traditional court system, with adult judges and attorneys volunteering their extensive legal training, it has been proven that substantial monies are saved through the services the agency offers. What I did not realize, but learned quickly, were the benefits to the students who would volunteer during the sentencing hearings which  are supervised by those adult volunteers in a courtroom that commands discipline and respectful demeanor at all times. The value of providing young people the opportunity to become actively engaged in the resolution of a problem in their community while also introduing them to esteem developing activities and law related education is "priceless". Today we have several adult attorneys who we first met when they were minor offenders and one in particular who started a Teen Court in Nassau County, NY while attending law school at Hofsta Law School. Teen Court provides delinquent children the chance to have their charge dismissed which meant they can go on to law school, medical school, the armed forces, or other careers that would otherwise disqualify them due to a criminal charge. Today our services have expanded to include education classes that reduces substance abuse, bullying, and fighting. We are told routinely by parents and, most importantly, the youth themselves, that Teen Court's services saved their life and brought their family back together. With an estimated savings to the court system and county of more than $1 million annually the organization takes tremendous pride in the young people who seize the opportunity to complete the services and go on to become law abiding citizens. Sarasota's Teen Court, replicated into 51 other Florida counties, cited by the U.S. Dept. of Justice as a model intervention and prevention program, is truly a feather in the cap of the community and all the people and funders like Community Foundation of Sarasota and are the reason the organization can continue operating as a non-profit organization.
At-risk youth who demonstrate experience with alcohol or substance abuse participate in Substance Abuse Education Classes with at least one parent/guardian. There are 6 sessions in each group of classes led by a group facilitator and each session has a unique curriculum covering topics such as addiction; pharmacology, psychology, physiology; anger; peer influences and decision making; family communication, impact, and strategies; and belief systems. At-risk youth participants will receive random monthly drug testing for at least 3 months following their initial drug test upon entering Teen Court.
Budget $8,300
Category Human Services, General/Other Family-Based Services
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served At-Risk Populations Alcohol, Drug, Substance Abusers Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Short Term Success
Families will be provided tools to improve communication about substance abuse and other challenges facing teenagers
90% of at-risk youth will test drug-free while enrolled in the program
85% of at-risk youth will not re-offend while enrolled in the program
Long Term Success
Substance abuse among teenagers will be reduced below 33%
Substance abuse in families will be impacted
Recidivism (reoffense)/crime rate among at-risk youth will be reduced
Families will improve communication within the family unit
Program Success Monitoring
1. A recidivism study is conducted at the end of three years & five years.
This is accomplished by checking the in-take records on file at the Dept. of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
2. Surveys are provided to all successful participants at the end of the 3 months of programs services. The results are overwhelmingly in support of the services.
Program Success Examples
The recidivism studies indicate that the re-offense rate has been reduced from 33% to 20%.  This rate reflects a review of the offender's criminal history five years beyond the completion of program services.
These services were implemented in March, 2011 as a pilot project out of growing concerns about bullying, suicide, cyber-bullying and domestic battery. Since the program's inception we have expanded the group session meetings from four weeks to six weeks and now include parents and siblings as appropriate.  In 2013, we instituted a Parents Group.
Budget $15,000
Category Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities Victims
Short Term Success
At-risk youth, through teaching them new ways to communicate, learn how to resolve the challenges they face without hitting, using drugs, or thinking that the only solution is suicide. 
Long Term Success
Teens learn how deal with challenges in ways other than fighting, bullying or other anti social tendencies, keeping them, their families, and those around them,safer.
By using more effective communication methods, the re-offense rate among this population will be reduced. 
Program Success Monitoring Recidivism studies conducted by the Department of Juvenile Justice indicate a reduction from 33% to 20% in reoccurring criminal activity 5 years beyond participation in the program. Staff has begun data collection for recidivism at 1 year and 10 years to study short term and longer term affects. 
Program Success Examples 88% of the teens do not re-offend after participating in this program.  Anecdotally, teens and families requested an increase in meeting and counseling sessions because they value and appreciate the help they are receiving. 
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Heather Lee Todd
CEO Term Start Dec 2015
CEO/Executive Director Email executivedirector@sarasotateencourt.org
Experience Heather Todd was the Case Manager for the Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc. for 16 years before she moved into the role of Executive Director in December 2015. 
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Katie Self May 1989 - June 2015
Senior Staff
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 3
Volunteers 200
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No

12th Judicial Circuit Court Administration:  Provide courtrooms for sessions;
Sarasota County:  Provides our session space.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital:  Provide volunteer tours of the ER
Sarasota County Medical Examiners Office: Provide tour of morgue

Planned Parenthood: Comes to Peer Circle for their educational piece
ALSO: Comes to Peer Circle for their educational piece
SPARCC: Comes to Peer Circle for their educational piece
AIDS Network: Comes to Peer Circle for their educational piece 
External Assessments and Accreditations
Risk Management Provisions
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Medical Health Insurance
Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years 3
Strategic Plan Adopted June 2016
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures No
Management Comments by Organization
Our By-Laws have been our guiding document for the 28 years the agency has been incorporated and are regularly reviewed. The Board performed an extensive revision in 2010.
Multi-Media Comments by Organization visit sarasotateencourt.org
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Emma J. Joels
Company Affiliation Attorney-at-Law
Board Term Oct 2015 to Sept 2016
Board Chair Email ejoels@emmajoels.com
Board Members
Board Members
Jesse R. Balaity Balaity Property Enhancement, Owner
Mike Bennett Manatee County Supervisor of Elections
Lee Byron Michael Saunders & Company-Agent/Broker
Evan Duke Classic Creations in Diamonds & Gold, Owner/CEO
Kent Hayes Tandem Construction
Emma J. Joels Attorney At Law
Katy McBrayer Atchley International Realty
Thomas A. Menchinger Thomas A. Menchinger, CPA, P.A.
Nora Patterson Sarasota County Commissioner
Mary D. Slapp Gulf Coast Builders Exchange
Janey Swift School Teacher-Retired
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 5
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 99
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 9
Board Meeting Attendance % 72
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization With the increasing need for funding, fundraising and "friend-raising" have become a more important role and the board is actively working on a fundraising plan to address this.  A strategic plan is in place and is reviewed on a regular basis but needs updating.  That is the next undertaking. By-Laws were last extensively revised in 2010 and are currently being reviewed and revised as appropriate. 
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2015
Fiscal Year Ends 2016
Projected Revenue $310,732.00
Projected Expenses $322,465.00
Organization has Endowment No
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? No
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$184,653$419,511$102,298
Investment Income, Net of Losses$49$32$101
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$26,690$68,131$24,780
Revenue In-Kind$38,800$38,400$73,400
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$355,198$352,267$302,378
Administration Expense$37,381$26,882$23,663
Fundraising Expense$31,246$36,620$23,553
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.001.711.14
Program Expense/Total Expenses84%85%86%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue15%8%19%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$451,435$455,393$157,888
Current Assets$258,057$234,748$155,119
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$10,483$12,668$8,748
Total Net Assets$440,952$442,725$149,140
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $184,653Contributions, gifts, grants $419,511County Ordinance Assessment $137,405
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountCounty Ordinance Assessment $122,364County Ordinance Assessment $136,242Contributions, gifts, grants $102,298
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountIn-Kind Contributions $38,800Fundraising $68,131In-Kind Contributions $73,400
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities24.6218.5317.73
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
Our Board is encountering serious concerns that stem from the fact that our primary sustaining revenues generated through the local ordinance fee collection continue to decease. These revenues, prior to the economic downturn, were covering the primary monthly operating expenses and administrative overhead with miscellaneous grants and donations covering other services like our scholarship awards for exemplary student volunteers, refreshments for families and students at the evening session which take place over the dinner hour with some children and parents not being able to eat until 7:30 pm. Tightening our belts has eliminated many of the fringe things that are needed to retain good volunteers. One full time case manager position was eliminated in May, 2012 due to budget constraints. This leaves our office staff of 3 full time employees responsible for managing 450 at-risk youth referrals, organizing fund raising events, writing grants, coordinating substance abuse reduction (Camp X-RAYD) and anti-bullying classes (CO-OP), recruiting and training of 200 student volunteers.
Financial Comments by Foundation Foundations and corporations are included with individual contributions as they are not separated in the 990 or audit.  Financial figures taken from annual audits. Federal tax returns reconcile with audited financial statements.
Nonprofit Teen Court Of Sarasota Inc
Address PO Box 48927
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone 941 861-8460