State attorney meets with Lee High School leadership group

EVAC learns how justice system works from the bench

By Joy Purdy - 5:30, 6:30 & 11 p.m. anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Youth leadership group EVAC met Tuesday with State Attorney Melissa Nelson, who praised the students for showing there are ways to keep from meeting her in a courtroom.

The state attorney's office was abuzz with eager students from Robert E. Lee High School who were anxious to see how the justice system works from the bench.

Their mission was to give their friends and other youth reasons to stay away from the wrong side of a courtroom.

On Tuesday, over pizza, the group met with Nelson and her team. It was the fulfillment of a promise she made in October to partner with EVAC in an effort to show kids their worth.

The group's progress has their teacher and group founder overjoyed.

"It's so clear they're important and that they have this amazing future, and it's our responsibility as adults in the city to give youth a platform to use their gifts," EVAC founder Amy Donofrio said.

Support for EVAC is growing. The group has the ears of those who patrol the streets, to one of the most powerful men on earth -- meeting former President Barack Obama in August when he visited the University of North Florida.

All of the encounters they have made have helped motivate high school junior Jabarie Irvin, who decided to join EVAC this year.

"Most of the leaders I have met have been through some of the things I have been through, and I said, 'If they can make it, then I can make it,'" Irvin said.

On the local level, EVAC members have met with Mayor Lenny Curry and Duval Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. Nationally, the group has participated in a Department of Justice roundtable in Washington, D.C.

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