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

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…

A Day of Service!

Today, July 10th our JustWorks: Summer Internship Participants teamed up with the Justice Center's Neighborhood Restitution Crew and the Community Service Supervisors to help with a project at St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church. The church's gate spans about  three blocks and is extremely rusted and has chipped paint. Our project today was the scrape away the loose paint in order to prep it for a new coat of paint in a few weeks. It is a large job but we were out and ready to work!


It was a beautiful day and our interns wore their Justice Center shirts proudly and cheered each other along. The Father of the church was extremely  grateful and even people passing and driving by were cheering us on and thanking us as well. Projects like this are a good way to give back to the community through teamwork. It is the first of many projects we are working on with the church to help repair and beautify it. It was a great first service day for the internship program!  Thank you to Derek a…