Youth Blog Series: What Does Raise the Age Mean to You?

Westchester Children’s Association received a grant through the Westchester Community Foundation to teach two Teen Advocacy Leadership courses. We focused the advocacy lessons around one of our priority issues, Raise the Age (click here to learn more about RTA). We will feature guest posts from our young advocates. This series will continue through the month of March. We hope you enjoy their stories as much as we do.

Guest Blog #4

V. B., Youth Shelter Program

My name is V and I went to jail at eighteen years old for a felony robbery in the first degree. I received a $50,000 bail and my father and family could not afford to pay that. If they had, I would not have committed the robbery in the first place. The detectives took me from my house on Thanksgiving Day at eleven in the morning. That was my first arrest and the first Thanksgiving that I spent in jail and not at my house.  That was the worst day of my life. After I talked with the detectives, I called my father to tell him what happened. The only thing that he told me was “everything is going to be okay, my son.” The next day, I went in front of the judge in the court house after spending the night at the police station. When I came into the courtroom, I saw my mother, father, and my girlfriend with her family. They looked at me in handcuffs and cried even harder. At that time, the judge told me everything about my case and about the $50,000 bail.

After that, they sent me to the prison with all different kinds of criminals. After I got to my cell, I started adjusting my life. My father put money in the prison phone and I called him to ask if he could help me and to say sorry about everything bad I had done in my life. He told me that everything was going to be okay and that he was never going to abandon me.

The next day when I called him, he told me that he had talked with a lawyer who would come to the prison to talk with me. That cost my father a lot of money. My mistake of stealing $300 lasted two minutes with a pistol in my hand and just two minutes can make you lose 2 to 20 years of your life in jail, even as a teenager.

That is my life now.

WCA would like to thank the Westchester Community Foundation for their generous support of the Teen Advocacy Leadership program.