HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Friday was graduation day for a group of Hampton middle and high school students. The ceremony wraps a weeklong summer youth enrichment camp called the Junior Commonwealth’s Attorney Program.

It’s put on by Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell and his team.

“This program teaches our young people to dream and dream big,” Bell said.

During the free program, students meet and learn from professionals in the criminal justice field.

Last week, some of the highlights were meeting with Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot, a trip to Richmond to meet Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, and getting an inside look at the 911 call center.

However, most importantly the teens got inspiration for their futures along the way.

“I’ve always wanted to be a defense attorney, but the judge we met said he was an attorney before he became a judge. So just recently, I discovered I want to become a judge from this program,” said Grafton Middle School student Anthony Cabrera.

Bell says the goal of this program is to show the teens that with the right tools, they can achieve anything they set their mind to. This was a sentiment taken to heart by 14-year-old Mason McGee.

“Don’t turn back because if you go the right direction, the right direction will point you to success and that’s what I think my lesson would be from this entire week,” said rising Grassfield High School student, Mason McGee.

As the Hampton Roads community desperately searches for ways to reduce crime, the JCAP program proves inspiring our young citizens to reach for the stars is key.

“It’s absolutely a taking back the community. It’s a win-win whenever you can encourage a young person to be the best person, the best citizen they could potentially be and steer them away from potentially dangerous situations that can wind them up in the criminal justice system,” explained Bell.