Throughout his four-year high school career, Ethan DeMartinis worked as a volunteer in Hillside’s Youth Court program—and his commitment to the program’s mission has only continued now that he’s moved on to college.

Based in Livingston County, the Youth Court program uses peer influence to help youthful non-violent offenders find accountability for their offenses and learn about the effects of their actions on themselves, victims, and the community.

After graduating as valedictorian of the Livonia Central School class of 2021, DeMartinis went on to Dartmouth University to study English, creative writing and public policy. But he’s maintained a mentor role to Youth Court participants, connecting remotely with Zoom technology that was adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Youth Court has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking,” DeMartinis says, “and it’s motivated me to be a part of the justice system moving forward.”

His passion for advocacy takes other forms, as well. As a member of the New York State Youth Justice Institute Peer Advisory Council, he contributes to the work of supporting localities statewide to adopt evidence-informed youth justice practices. He’s also an Associate Editor for the Dartmouth Law Journal and The Stonefence Review, a literature magazine; and he writes novels, works with a local church and hikes in his free time.

Casey Pagano, Case Manager for the Youth Court program, calls DeMartinis “a wonderful role model for younger members. We cannot thank Ethan enough for his dedication and commitment to the program. And we congratulate him on his achievements!”

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