NYC Justice Corps Expansion
The Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in partnership with the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity and the Mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative, is expanding the New York City Justice Corps reentry initiative to serve 300 young adults annually in the South Bronx, Jamaica, East New York and Harlem. Read the Press Release.
The goals of the NYC Justice Corps are to reduce poverty and recidivism among young men and women, ages 18-24, who reside in communities with high rates of poverty and criminal justice involvement.
The program brings young adults who have been involved in the justice system together with their communities to identify and address unmet community needs through meaningful and reparative service. Following three months of service, Justice Corps members are placed in internships and then in jobs. Corps members also participate in educational services and job training programs to develop their academic and employment skills.
Since 2008, NYC Justice Corps members have completed more than 70 projects. Beautiful murals, renovated early child centers, and weatherized low-income housing in target communities across the city provide remarkable evidence of the Corps members’ work in their communities.
As of October 2012, NYC Justice Corps serves four communities:
Bronx Justice Corps
Serving the South Bronx
Monique De La Oz, Director
1409 Fulton Avenue
Bronx, NY 10456
Phone: 347.329.4004 ext.*5050
Program partner: Youth Represent
Harlem Justice Corps
Serving Central and East Harlem
Tai Merey Alex, Project Manager
Harlem Community Justice Center
127 West 127th Street
New York, NY 10027
Phone: (347) 709-6127
Email: email@example.com (for partners); firstname.lastname@example.org (for participants/referrals)
Program partners: Center for Employment Opportunities, Literacy Partners, The College Initiative
Brooklyn New York Justice Corps
Serving East New York, Brownsville, Bushwick
Mario A. Bodden, Project Director
Center for Community Alternatives
100 Pennsylvania Avenue, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11207
Phone: 929-234-3636 ext. 305 (o); 917-499-9419 (c)
Program partners: Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Youth Represent
Queens Justice Corps
Rob DeLeon, Director of Family Court Programs
Center for Alternative Sentencing & Employment Services, Inc. (CASES)
89-31 161st Street
Jamaica, NY 11432
Program partners: Safe Space, Youth Represent
For more information, please contact Elena Sigman.
Graduation and New Publication
On Thursday, April 19, the NYC Justice Corps Harlem site celebrated the graduation of 12 Corps members. Of the twelve, three gave poignant remarks of the differences in who they were before the Justice Corps and who they are now as graduates. The Bronx Justice Corps site graduated 16 Corps members on Thursday, April 4. Of these graduates, Samantha Bonilla will be recognized as a contributor to the forthcoming New York University Literacy Review, an annual journal of writing from adult literacy programs throughout New York City. Samantha’s essay, “Something I Want You to Know About Me” will be featured in the publication.
Corps Hosts Singapore Delegation
From Left: Koh Shixin, Senior Executive Officer of the Central Youth Guidance Office; Adrian Ng, Assistant Manager of the Vocational and Reintegration Support Unit; and Audrie Siew, Senior Assistant Director of the Vocational and Reintegration Support Unit.
On April 14, the NYC Justice Corps hosted its first international site visit with representatives from Singapore’s Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCDYS). Previously known as the Ministry of Community Development and Sports, MCDYS’mission is to build a cohesive and resilient nation through programmatic and policy innovations. Adrian Ng and Audrie Siew of the Vocational and Reintegration Support Unit, and Koh Shixin of the Central Youth Guidance Office traveled to the States to visit programs in action that provide workforce development services to young adults involved in the criminal justice system. During their trip, the representatives visited Corps member as they completed service on community projects hosted by East Side House Settlement where Corps member refurbished two classroom spaces, and Morrissania Baptist Church where they repaired a main conference area. Visiting the Corps has inspired MCDYS to consider opportunities to incorporate the NYC Justice Corps’ emphasis on engaging young adults in meaningful service and leveraging community partnerships toward successfully reentering Singapore’s youth.
Brooklyn Site Graduation
Iris Blackman, Case Manager, and Shani Williams, NYC Justice Corps graduate at the Brooklyn site graduation ceremony.
On February 28, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s Skylight Gallery was host to the Brooklyn Justice Corps’ graduation ceremony marking the completion of its second program year. In Program Year 2, the Brooklyn site graduated 55 Corps members who left their mark throughout Bedford-Stuyvesant while working with local elected officials to increase registration for the U.S. 2010 Census, renovating local churches and non-profit organization spaces, and “taking back the pavement” by expanding tree beds throughout the community. The ceremony featured a book signing and reception with author and NY1 Newscaster, Cheryl Wills.
Corpsmember of the Year Awarded in DC
Corps member of Year, Andrew McKee poses with Dorick Scarpelli, Director, NYC Justice Corps Bronx site; Iris Gonzalez, Career Counselor; Amelia Thompson, Operations Manager; and Julia Lopez, Alumni Coordinator.
NYC Justice Corps Bronx site graduate Andrew McKee received the Corps member of the Year Award on February 16. Awarded by The Corps Network (TCN), the voice of the nation’s 148 Service and Conservation Corps, Andrew was one of six young adults among the more than 3,000 member Corps around the country to receive this prestigious award during a ceremony held on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Andrew along with five other young adults were honored for their achievements, character, growth and contributions to their communities. The award is a testament to the quality service-delivery Andrew received while a member of the NYC Justice Corps Bronx site. In his speech, Andrew expressed his gratitude toward NYC Justice Corps staff including his career counselor Iris Gonzalez and alumni coordinator Julia Lopez of the Phipps Community Development Corporation who were in attendance at the ceremony.
Building on Success in Year 3!
With Program Year 3 underway and 65 new Corps member enrolled, program sites look forward to replicating success expressed by graduates of the program. Andrew McKee, current National Corps member of the Year nominee, interned at the Office of the Commissioner for the NYC Department of Probation while in the Justice Corps and commented, “I attended meetings with the Commissioner and helped shape policies that affect young people on probation…without the NYC Justice Corps I wouldn’t have made it this far, and I’m grateful to the Justice Corps for the second chance and guidance.” Andrew is currently a field supervisor for the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development and has also been nominated for the 2010 Opportunity Awards. With close to 150 new Corps members expected this program year, sites expect countless more stories of success.
250 Corps members Served in Second Program Year!
In its second program year, the NYC Justice Corps has exceeded its goal of providing services to 250 Corps members! This program year has featured the largest graduating class to date from the Bronx site which graduated 26 Corps members in June. See the Bronx’s latest newsletter here to read more about this graduating class which featured Corps members who interned at the NYC Department of Probation. To read about the accomplishments Brooklyn Corps members have achieved including post-Corps placements at the College of New Rochelle, see their first newsletter here and watch the video here developed by Brooklyn Corps member about their experience completing community service projects and transitioning into internships. Corps members from both sites continue to successfully transition to work and educational opportunities throughout the City.
National and Citywide Spotlight
The NYC Justice Corps was recently featured in two workforce development conferences. The program model was featured at the New York City Employment and Training Coalition Workforce Development Summit & Expo by the New York City Center for Economic Opportunities (CEO), the Justice Corps’ funder and partner in strategic planning and on-going development. Carson Hicks, CEO’s Deputy Director of Evaluation moderated a panel on disconnected youth programs that included Dorick Scarpelli, Program Director, NYC Justice Corps Bronx site. Secondly, at the Grassroots & Groundwork conference held in Portland Oregon alongside David Berman, CEO’s Senior Advisor who provided an overview of CEO’s workforce development initiatives, Ali Knight, Director, NYC Justice Corps presented on the Justice Corps. Their presentations were part of the Innovations in Job Training and Workforce Development Break-out Session of the conference which convened over 400 participants from around the country to explore creative approaches to poverty reduction. Access the Break-out Session webinar from the conference here.
Politically Active Brooklyn Justice Corps Members
The Brooklyn Justice Corps continues to encourage political awareness and activism among Corps members. In April, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC) hosted an event in honor of Shirley Chisholm, the nation’s first African American Congresswoman. The event was attended by Congressman Edolphus Towns and PBS documentary filmmaker Shola Lynch, among others. Brooklyn Corps members volunteered at the event, and Corps member Brian Meyers introduced Na’eem Douglas, the event’s emcee from News 12 Brooklyn. Photographs from the event can be found here. Additionally, toward completing service on community benefit service projects, Brooklyn Corps members were featured in a YouTube video in which they highlighted the importance of filling out the Census in order to secure funding for their community. Watch the video clip.
Bronx Justice Corps Releases First Newsletter
The Bronx site has released its first edition of Just On Point, the NYC Justice Corps’ first newsletter. The newsletter includes information on the progress of current Corps members as they advance toward graduation and details about employment trends, among other information. Distinguished alumni who demonstrated superb leadership abilities while in the program are also highlighted. The newsletter also announces the opening of the Alumni Services Department which provides one on one job readiness coaching, workshops to improve hiring potential and continued support toward educational advancement. For alumni who have been placed in employment or back in school, the department provides retention to help them remain engaged in these pursuits. Additionally, the Alumni Services Department oversees the Peer Leadership Academy for alumni who were selected to participate based on their program performance. Members of the Peer Leadership Academy are responsible for developing this newsletter. Click here to access your copy.