PRINCETON -– Mercer Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn will act as a tour guide for two groups of elementary school students who will visit the Southern Regional Jail in Beaver this month.
The first group of students are sixth graders at Montcalm Elementary School in Rock, Mercer County. The 60 or so students will tour the jail on Friday, May 22. He also is taking his daughter's fifth-grade class from Straley Elementary School in Princeton on the same tour on Wednesday, May 27.
Aboulhosn has been an active volunteer at Montcalm Elementary School for more than 10years. His former law firm -- Sanders, Austin, Flanigan & Aboulhosn -- was a partner in education with Montcalm. He has conducted end-of-the school year tours for Montcalm sixth graders for several years.
"The officers at the jail give us a good tour," Aboulhosn said. "We first start at the visitation area, then move to the kitchen and the booking area. Next we show them the video arraignment room and then we go up into the guard tower of one of the pods. We sometimes take them outside to the recreation area and then back inside to the medical ward and the gymnasium. Then we leave."
The tour takes about 90 minutes.
"We end the day by going out to eat lunch together and talk about the tour," Aboulhosn said. "The kids are generally excited about going on the tour. It is the last field trip of the year for them. After the tour, they generally are a little more subdued than when they went in.
"I spend all year long with the sixth grade kids at Montcalm. I read every Monday to them first thing in the morning. It is a great way to start the week. I don't know who enjoys it more, them or me. I can tell you I get a lot out of it personally. I enjoy knowing that maybe, just maybe, I am making a small difference in their lives.
"About a year ago, I got a letter from one of the kids that I had read to a few years earlier. ... She said she intended to go to law school and become a lawyer because of her interaction with me. It was great to get a letter like that. It just confirmed to me that what I am doing is right. If I can make a difference in just one child's life and keep just one child from going down a wrong path, it is worth the time I have invested with the kids and the school."