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Welcome to the Association of Retired Attorneys of Sarasota (ARAS). Founded in 1983, our association promotes the advancement of the administration of justice in Sarasota County. To
this end, many of our members participate in various pro bono projects in addition to our monthly membership meetings which host prominent speakers on current legal and other challenging topics.

ARAS currently supports numerous pro bono projects, each led by an ARAS member as follows:

1. GUARDIAN AD LITEM VOLUNTEER: Several of our members participate in the 12th Circuit Guardian Ad Litem program. Volunteers are trained and after a background check are assigned to a child or children by the court. Generally the children have been removed from their home due to adverse circumstances. State social workers develop a corrective plan for the parents. The GAL monitors the children to assure their safety and that their needs are being met and they have an opportunity for normalcy. Our participating members, such as Patrick Aseltyne,
have found this to be very rewarding.

2. LEGAL AID EMERITUS ATTORNEYS: Several of our members have worked extensively and very successfully as an emeritus attorney aiding low income people seeking legal Assistance. Legal Aid of Manasota welcomes volunteers and provides opportunities both virtual and in person.

3. MEDIATION: The Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Florida conducts a Citizen Dispute Settlement Program which attempts to resolve both disputes and filed court cases through mediation.
Volunteer mediators are trained and certified through the State Judicial District to provide a neutral and impartial mediator at no cost to work with both sides or parties to facilitate a mutually acceptable agreement. ARAS is working with the Mediation Service Coordinator of the District to provide interested participants to the program and assist in their training and coordination of cases.

4. COMMUNITY MEDIATION. In 2021, Judith Starr and other local mediators formed SUNCOAST COMMUNITY MEDIATION (SCM) to provide conflict resolution services to low-income
individuals, their communities, and the organizations that serve them. Staffed solely by volunteers, SCM’s current activities include mediating for Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness low-barrier housing collaborative and providing conflict management training to local nonprofit staff. Anyone interested in volunteering with SCM to mediate, train, or serve on its board should contact Judith at

5. TEEN COURT. Manatee County’s Teen Court/Teen Court Too is a diversionary program that allows first-time juvenile offenders to have their cases heard by a jury of their peers and sanctions are assigned for the offenders to complete. Sanctions may include community service, jury duties, letters of apology, essays, curfews and/or counseling sessions. Teen volunteers acts as prosecuting and defense attorneys, court clerks, bailiffs and jurors. Adult volunteers are needed to write contracts and monitor the courtroom and deliberation rooms. Court is held every Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. at the Manatee County Courthouse in Bradenton. Information is
available at

6. TEEN COURT OF SARASOTA, INC. The Teen Court program in Sarasota County is run by a nonprofit organization, although cases are heard in the County courts in Sarasota and
South County and the program is similar to that of Manatee described above. Adult volunteer opportunities are available for judges, jury monitors and jury duty-sign-in. Court is generally
held every other Wednesday in Sarasota, and one Monday per month each in Venice and North Port. Sessions are usually from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Information is available at; email inquiries may be directed to

If you are interested in working with any of these projects please contact the listed project leader or Judith Starr, ARAS President. As an ARAS volunteer you will benefit the community
with your experience and expertise. And in return you will know the reward and satisfaction that derives from community service.


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