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New York StateUnified Court System

Office of Workforce Diversity


18th Annual Take Our Children to Work Day

On April 26, 2012, the Office of Court Administration (OCA) held its 18th annual Take Our Children to Work Day. Unbeknownst to organizers, statewide standardized tests were given that day; however, several children were able to take part in the program, along with Office of Workforce Diversity staff and chaperones.

The day started with breakfast and a program introduction from Tony Walters, Director of the Office of Workforce Diversity. The judicial branch’s interplay among the three branches of government and the value of diversity in state government, on any team, and in society, at large, was discussed. The students shared that they played sports and understood how different players with different strengths make for the most successful teams.

sitting around table
Thom Cannava, Deputy Director of Human Resources, speaks
to children about the role of the courts and the role of the OCA

Next, Thom Cannava, Deputy Director of Human Resources, sat with the students and explained the role of the courts and the role of the OCA. The presentation focused on the difference between the private and the public sector, as well as the OCA’s oversight of the administrative responsibilities of the courts.

presentation in front of students with computers
Children enjoy Access to Justice presentation with
Tracy McNeil, Court Attorney

The group then participated in an interactive computer lab presentation with Tracy McNeil, a court attorney with the OCA’s Access to Justice Program. As a test presentation, the students learned how easy it is to legally change your name with the Access to Justice Program’s Do-It-Yourself (DIY) website. The group also visited the Department of Public Safety, where Georgina Walker made photo ID cards for each student.

Judge in front of bench, talking to children
Hon. Juan Manuel Merchan, Supreme Court, New York County, Criminal Term, discusses court procedure with children at the New York Supreme Court, Criminal Term

Then, the students left for a courtroom tour at New York Supreme Court, Criminal Term. During the ride, they summarized what they learned thus far and discussed what they want to be when they grow up. At the courthouse, Deputy Chief Clerk Michael DiMaggio led the group to a courtroom, where the children learned about the day-to-day experiences of judges, court clerks, uniformed personnel, court reporters and court interpreters. The students were given a dynamic presentation by Hon. Juan Manuel Merchan, Supreme Court, New York County, Criminal Term, and had a chance to meet Barry Clarke, Chief Clerk of New York Supreme Court, Criminal Term.

girl in obstacle course
Uniformed personnel leads
group through challenging obstacle course at the NYS Court Officers Academy, NYC

The children then left for the Court Officers Academy at 123 William Street for an afternoon of learning and activity. The group enjoyed a pizza lunch and, after that, it was time for some fun! Uniformed personnel led the students through drills that included an obstacle course, CPR training and self-defense techniques. The students recounted that their favorite part of the program was the court officer obstacle course.

Finally, the students were given a brief overview of weapon safety. They were told to alert an adult if they ever encounter weapons. Kudos to uniformed staff who generously gave their time and expertise to the children at this exciting portion of the program!

Judge in front of bench, talking to children
Uniformed personnel, Office of Workforce Diversity staff and
chaperones with group at the NYS Court Officers Academy, NYC

The day concluded at 25 Beaver Street, where Ron Younkins, Chief of Operations, met with the students and presented them with certificates of achievement. Each child shared their favorite part of the day and enjoyed goodie bags, which were provided by New York Supreme Court, Criminal Term and the Court Officers Academy. Finally, after an informative and fun-filled day, the students were picked up by their parents.