FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Project REAL Launches Youth Law-Awareness Campaign as Students Return to Classrooms
The Nevadan legal-education nonprofit asks all adults to help young Nevadans avoid ‘accidental crime’
Las Vegas, Wednesday, April 7, 2020 – Earlier this month, Nevada nonprofit Project REAL launched a public education campaign to help every young Nevadan avoid trouble with the law as we begin the transition back to in-person schooling. #NVRETURNREADY asks every adult in Nevada to hold brief conversations with the young people in their lives to help them avoid making innocent mistakes that cross the line of the law, and momentum supporting the initiative is growing quickly.
The campaign provides a free discussion guide to help foster short yet crucial conversations that teach young people to make decisions only after considering if there might be legal consequences for their choices. These lessons are taught with examples provided by judges and law enforcement officials that illustrate common situations in which teens and adolescents get into trouble with the law without realizing their actions were criminal.
“Project REAL continues today to reflect the purpose and passions of its founders, Irwin Molasky and Sam Lionel. Created in 2004 to help local youth stem their negative involvements with the law, the Project fosters learning about the legal and judicial systems in an effort for participants to gain knowledge for positive self-assessment, building productive personal life experiences and becoming meaningful forces in the southern Nevada community,” said Las Vegas’ Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman in praising Project REAL.
Nevada students have begun returning to school after spending a year close to home and away from larger groups of friends, and there is real concern about the unintended consequences of these renewed social interactions. As students begin seeing more of their friends and spending time out in public, even the most responsible young people may be tempted to make up for roughly thirteen months of lost memories in ways that can place them in legal peril.
Project REAL’s Senior Director Mike Kamer points to the urgency for this initiative as “something that should be a concern for all adults. Even the most well-behaved kids and teens can make decisions that—unknown to them—cross the lines of the law. The courts won’t accept ignorance of a law as a defense for breaking it. Even the most strait-laced, straight-A student can make a mistake like exploring an abandoned property; that could be construed as innocent by the youth, but that activity constitutes trespassing in the eyes of the law. We need to help these students make smart and informed decisions, and we need to do it now.”
Many prominent organizations, government offices, and leaders from across Nevada have signed on to bring #NVRETURNREADY to residents across the state, and the list of supporters continues to grow. The developing list of partners in the initiative currently includes:
American Assoc. of Jewish Lawyers & Jurists – Las Vegas
Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, District A
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones, District F
Clark County Juvenile Justice Services
Clark County, Office of the District Attorney
Communities in Schools – Southern Nevada
Downtown Vegas Alliance
Economic Opportunity Board of Clark County
Eighth Judicial District Court
Elko County Bar Association
Henderson Equality Center
Henderson Police Department
Jewish Nevada, Nevada’s Jewish Federation
Justice Lidia Stiglich, Supreme Court of the State of Nevada
Kamer, Zucker, & Abbott
Las Vegas Councilwoman Michele Fiore
Las Vegas Councilwoman Victoria Seaman
Las Vegas Justice Court
Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada
LVMPD Community Oriented Police Services (C.O.P.S.) – Northern Area Command
Mayor Daniel J Corona, West Wendover
Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Las Vegas
Mayor John J Lee, North Las Vegas
Mayor Debra March, Henderson
Mayor Hillary Schieve, Reno
NAACP Branch #1111, Las Vegas
National Bar Association, Las Vegas Chapter
Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice
Nevada State Assemblyman Steve Yeager, 9th District
Partnership Carson City
Public Education Foundation
South Asian Bar Association of Las Vegas
Sheriff Allen & Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Elgan & Esmeralda County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Furlong & Carson City Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Hunewill & Lyon County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Wehrly & Nye County Sheriff’s Office
UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
Washoe County Bar Association
Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick remarked that the value of Project REAL’s initiative comes from its simplicity when she said “As a member of the Clark County Board of Commissioners, I’m enthusiastically in support of Project REAL’s #NVRETURNREADY initiative. All adults in Southern Nevada should take a moment to speak with the young people in their lives. A simple reminder to think before making any rash decisions, as we all make the safe and gradual return to being out and about in the community, can be impactful for all young Nevadans.”
The conversation takes place with just four steps outlined in the guide, and is designed with all adults in mind – not just parents and guardians. This was an essential part of the planning for Project REAL. The organization insists that there is a need to have the highest volume of impact in the least amount of time, given the rapidly changing landscape of young people returning to pre-pandemic activities like walking between school and home and being further away from their homes than they have been in a year.
“This is every adult’s problem. Teachers, parents, coaches, mentors—any adult with young people in their lives is at risk of getting a call from a police station because a young person they know made a mistake,” explained Project REAL’s Executive Director Tom Kovach. Noting the need for community support, Kovach emphasizes, “We can’t do this on our own, so we’re asking every employer, government office, and community organization in Nevada to tell the adults they know about the #NVRETURNREADY guide. If we work together statewide, we can ensure every student in Nevada is prepared to reenter community activity when COVID restrictions are relaxed with a decreased risk of getting into legal trouble.”
The guide is available for download in English and Spanish on the Project REAL website. Project REAL asks that any businesses, nonprofits, and government offices of any size that wish to become involved in the #NVRETURNREADY campaign contact Project REAL’s Senior Director Mike Kamer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 703-6529.
About Project REAL
Project REAL, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was founded in 2005 by Sam Lionel and Irwin Molasky to meet the challenge of teaching Nevada’s K-12th grade students the importance of the law. They have taught over 185,000 Nevada students with the goal of preparing them to be informed, law-abiding, and participating citizens through courthouse field trips, mock trials, and unique in-class experiences. For more information or to make a financial contribution so more students could benefit, please visit http://projectrealnv.org.