"I feel blessed to be a part of a community which has a compassionate spirit. As a native of Jacksonville, I have always been proud of how we come together as a community, especially in challenging times. As a community volunteer, I think it is important to not only identify issues but be a part of coming up with solutions. Consequently, I am particularly excited about being a part of the D.A.W.N. Program at the Duval County jail. Ultimately, I am privileged that my position as a Circuit Court judge allows me to serve my community on a daily basis."
Judge Virginia B. Norton
"Service to the community is so very important in my professional, as well as personal life. I feel duty-bound to help others, as I was helped when my family emigrated to this great country. We did not receive any governmental assistance, but we did seek and got help by way of clothing from the Catholic church in Miami. While I feel a personal responsibility to be of service to those in need, it is also something that should be expected of me in return for the privilege of being an attorney. Other than being active in the Conference of County Court Judges, being on the faculty at the Florida Judicial College, rendering ethical opinions as a member of the Supreme Court Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee and being an active member in The Florida Bar Criminal Rules’ Committee, I perform community service mainly through Arlington Rotary Club, of which I am this year’s president. Our Rotary Club is very involved with the Woodland Acres Boys and Girls Club. We just finished cutting trees and clearing the area for a garden. This club has been the main recipient of our club’s service projects. The next project in line is cooking and serving dinner at Arlington Heights Elementary School National Honor Society’s induction ceremony on Thursday. Also, I speak at schools through the Justice Teaching Program started by Florida Supreme Court Justice Lewis. Every year, Judge McCaulie and I speak at Fletcher High School’s legal studies class and I volunteer as needed when the opportunity presents itself. As Rotary’s motto goes: ‘Service above self, he profits most that serves best.’ By the way, my daughter has followed by example. After graduating from UF as an environmental engineer, she is now in Tanzania as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching calculus and physics at a secondary school in a small village."
Judge Roberto A. Arias
"Being of service to the community is not an elective. We are all part of a community and we are obligated to each other to make sure that we are able to share our talents and resources. Every time I go to a school to speak and see the ‘glow’ on a child’s face, it reminds me just how special the gift of giving my time is so important. The children often refer to me as ‘their Judge Drake.’ More importantly, they come to understand the uniqueness within them as individuals. One young man told me once that, ‘When you told me that I could achieve, I believed I could and I won first place and now I am on the honor roll.’ This was so special because his father was in jail and he had just witnessed domestic violence. Another young girl said, ‘I want to go to college too, just like you.’ When I was younger there were people in the community who believed in me and showed me that I could achieve. I want to continue to pass that gift along. When young people see a judge in the classroom teaching about citizenship and the Constitution, it inspires them to want to achieve and contribute to this country. This is how a community is built."
Judge Pauline M. Drake
"Judges interact with the community every day in our courtrooms and hearing rooms but the time we spend interacting and investing in our community while outside the courtroom is just as important. Previously, I have participated in several Duval County School Read-a-Thon events as a guest reader and I also was a mentor with Take Stock in Children. I currently serve on the advisory board of the Salvation Army and chair their Public Relations Committee. For the past several years, I have served on the UNF Pre-Law Board and participate as a panelist or guest speaker at several UNF Pre-Law functions or classes each year. As an alumnus of the University of North Florida, I enjoy meeting with prospective law students and encouraging them to follow their dreams of practicing law in our community."
Judge Dawn K. Hudson
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