Skip to main content

Positive Youth Justice: A Legacy


This image of Red Hook is one of the many that permanently adorn the halls of the Justice Center -- all of which are the work of three prodigious young people from the neighborhood. Back in July of 2011, we commissioned Lonnell Myers (then-age 15), Edgar Rivera (then-age 15), and Jocleyn Rivera (then-age 16) to capture the depth and vibrance of their community. They spent that summer rendering an evocative series of photographs; their teacher, guide, and mentor was a member of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps, the great Leah Cohen. Leah has since gone on to join the Clinical Department and play a variety of roles at the Justice Center, including parts in the Adolescent Diversion Program, Young New Yorkers, and 14 Shades of Justice, a current collaboration with Brooklyn Arts Council. Indeed, Leah has made innumerable contributions to this place since her arrival in 2010.

But as we prepare to say goodbye (Leah is leaving to pursue a professional opportunity in the arts), I keep coming back to the photographs on the walls.

At the time, Leah was working closely with Elise White, now the Deputy Director at the Midtown Community Court, who was the Justice Center's Director of Youth and Family Justice. Elise, one of the leading lights and boldest minds in juvenile justice reform, was pushing to embed principles of Positive Youth Justice (PYJ) throughout the Justice Center's work with young people, particularly those who were court involved.  Immersed in the resulting wave of fresh ideas, the prospect of transforming the interior of the building stood out as a profound and extraordinary opportunity. Although there was/is an undeniable tension between PYJ's call for paradigm-shifting and the dynamics of court reform on the ground, here was a powerful opportunity to bridge the gap and instantiate the Justice Center's strengths-based conceptualization of young people. The results speak for themselves, I believe.

Many, many of the Justice Center's alums have left their marks -- Leah is one of the few who literally left her mark on the wall. 


With appreciation,
Julian

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Another Successful Bridging the Gap Event!

This week the Youth and Community Programs department here at the Red Hook Community Justice Center were fortunate enough to put together and host their 3rd installment in their Bridging the Gap Series: Youth, Community and Police titled GAME NIGHT! We had over 100 participants in attendance in just two hours, including more than 25 officers present from various local precincts (PSA 1, 76th, 72nd and PSA 9). With crowd favorite games such as a Birthday Line Up, Family Feud and Pictionary games just to name a few and ending the night with a “Juju on that Beat” dance off we were able to host a successful and fun-filled event! We understand that teambuilding is crucial in strengthening relationships, and our main goal is to also allow local youth and community members to partner up with officers.Many of our young people have expressed wanting to connect with officers but just did not know where to start.  The purpose of our series is to come together, break down most stereotypes and promo…

Summer College Trip 2016

Every summer the office of Youth and Community programs takes our youth program participants on an annual college trip. We like to explore different colleges  and university's including in places like New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

Last week students from our Just Works Summer Internship Program, which aims to connect teens and young adults to professional development opportunities teamed up with our Youth Court and a few of our Red Hook Community Resilience Corps members. Together they headed out with staff to Connecticut to visit and tour the University of Connecticut and the College of New Rochelle.
     It was a great day, especially to get out of the city and expose our youth to different campuses, dorm life and educational opportunities out there!  
We look forward to next year! #GOREDHOOK










Red Hook Youth Court Spring Recognition and Induction Ceremony

On June 16th, 2015 the Red Hook Youth Court opened its doors to family, friends, guest and staff for our Spring Recognition and Induction Ceremony where we acknowledged our members for their hard work and dedication. Honorable Judge, Alex Calabrese was the Key Note speaker of the ceremony. He is a huge supporter of the Red Hook Youth Court and truly believes in the mission of the program. We had a full house, with laughs, smiles and hugs!

10 members are moving on to other endeavors, in which 4 of those 10 are graduating seniors from High School who will be starting college this Fall. 10 Members will be staying on to serve as mentors and 10 newly inducted youth court members who were sworn in by Sergeant William Bauman, of the Unified Court System will all be sitting on the Youth Court and beginning their journey this Summer. Additionally, Jamilah Daniels and Ann Doc, graduating members from Youth Court and High School wrote speeches on their experiences within the program, the gratitu…