For at least one partner organization, this type of information was also helpful because it taught participants how to effectively disassociate themselves from the challenges they have encountered in the past. A partner staff member, when asked why he or she found the workshops to be so valuable, emphasized how the workshop:

…teaches them to ask questions and not to divulge their personal information. It’s a good lesson in confidentiality in general. [Our organization] teaches the idea of moving on from us and not having to associate yourself with us. We will be there for you but once your record is clean, you can move on with a clean slate.

As one partner staff member described:

In the beginning no one trusts [the attorney from Youth Represent] because he is a white guy, blond hair, blue eyes and they all think that the cops sent him here. By the end of the workshop, they are all really into it and they do learn things. It gives them opportunities to ask questions and he gives them a chance to answer questions of their peers and the misinformation that these kids are fed everywhere, it’s ridiculous. It’s really an eye-opener. I even make new staff sit through it because I think it’s really helpful.

A staff member at a different partner organization expressed the same sentiment, describing how:

…the way [the Youth Represent attorney] works in these workshops, the kids eat him up! He is really honest. When he doesn’t know something he will tell them and get back to them.

This young adult recalled how:

We told him about things that we see and different things that are going on in our environment and he told us why they [the police] do this, why this happens, what you should expect and what the outcome is and how to go about it … he gave us a basic run-down of what is happening in our community and what we see every day.

This young adult further explained that the Youth Represent workshops gave him the tools necessary to successfully respond to these situations:

Before I was in [the program sponsored by the partner organization], I was, I guess you can say the snazzy type. If I felt like [the police officer] be trying to disrespect me in any type of form, I would probably put my guard up and maybe it would seem like I was being disrespectful back. [The Youth Represent attorney] kinda gave me some techniques like just to keep calm, stay quiet, and you don’t have to answer certain things that they say. You have the right to be silent for pretty much a lot of stuff.

A different partner staff member went as far to say that Youth Represent provides much superior service in terms of communication in comparison to other legal service organizations his agency has worked with: 

I have never had a concern with a follow-up where other community organizations, other partners, other legal services that I have tried to work with, it’s been in and out. They’ve had to reach out to people’s supervisors to follow up. When I reach out to [the staff at Youth Represent], it is like our [personal] service.

These favorable findings are confirmed by the unanimous positive feedback of young adults and partner staff, who shared that Youth Represent attorneys have provided effective legal services in response to a breadth of situations, from immediate crises (e.g., the arrest or ticketing of a young adult) to complicated scenarios requiring extended involvement (e.g., identity theft, employer discrimination). One young adult, for example, described how during Youth Represent’s RAP sheet review, “they dug up something from 2011 or 2009 that I hadn’t remembered at all.” According to this young adult:

[The Youth Represent attorney] told me the case was open but he called them and checked it. He went in deep [to resolve the case]. Stuff like that can be a problem for a job when you have a background check and something from 2009 is stopping you from getting the job.

And, according to one partner staff member:

It’s been unbelievable in what they have been able to do in terms of cleaning up messy records, especially for those youth whose cases have errors from the system or poor representation ... The cleanup they have been able to do for those cases is life-changing.

One partner organization staff member explained this predicament best, stating:

We are representing them in a lot of proceedings where they are not getting representation. For example, I do child support proceedings, licensing hearings and clients do not usually get representation for these proceedings. They have someone who can communicate with an employer who might be discriminating against them.

Partners praised Youth Represent staff for the information and support provided to both the organizations and the youth they serve. In surveys and interviews, partners were consistent in saying that Youth Represent services were extremely helpful. Surveyed partners described how their organizations benefitted from these services:

Youth Represent has been extremely helpful with making all our youth knowledgeable of their legal rights, assisting them with navigating the court system if they are court-involved, representing them in court if necessary, and counseling them around steps to move forward successfully before, during and after their legal processes.”

Partners who took part in interviews also agreed about the value of the services of Youth Represent.
One partner summed up his opinion as follows:

It’s a really, really, great asset to have a close partner for young people who do have criminal backgrounds, just helping them to understand what their charges are, helping them to understand how to talk about their charges, if there is anything that is unclear in their RAP sheet. There could be mistakes in their RAP sheets. That goes for anybody as a graduate, if something pops up and they get rejected for a job, they know by working with Youth Represent, they know that they have a right [in certain situations] to see a reason for them being rejected and often times there will be a mistake so that is something that is really important. If there isn’t a mistake and there is something that they do have on their record that is not going away anytime soon, Youth Represent helps them to understand what they can actually apply for and also understanding that a record does not eliminate them from the job market and that there are certain rules and laws that are put into place to protect them even with this charge.