On August 2, 2012, CASES staff gathered with representatives of the NYC Department of Probation and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to celebrate the first graduates of the Young Adult Justice Scholars (YAJS) program. As part of the six-month program, court-involved youth attend education and GED classes, receive case management and counseling, and complete work-readiness workshops and paid internships. Five of the thirteen graduates earned their GED during the program, and one was accepted for admission at La Guardia Community College. The graduates completed internships at sites including the Blaq Group, City College, Cuddly Bundles Childcare, Hope Vet Clinic, and Kips Bay Library.
In addition to celebrating our graduates, CASES honored John Gonzalez of Probation and Tracey Vilain of OCFS with the Justice Scholars Youth Encouragement Award. Both Gonzalez and Vilain enthusiastically referred court-involved youth to the program and actively supported participants’ progress. Lisa Faro, director of YAJS, praised Gonzalez’s work on behalf of the program and his clients.
“John often called and came by to check on the welfare, attendance, and compliance of the young men he had referred to the program,” Faro said. “John is exactly what a probation officer should be. He is strict and holds his clients accountable for their actions while engaging them in a chance to change their lives and make a difference.”
CASES launched Young Adult Justice Scholars (YAJS) in January 2011 through Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Young Men’s Initiative, with funding from the NYC Department of Probation and the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity. The program serves young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who have court-involvement within the past year. Youth citywide are eligible to enroll, with the program targeting residents of Central Brooklyn, Coney Island, Harlem, South Bronx, and Southeast Queens, and those discharged from NYS juvenile detention facilities and Riker’s Island.
For more information on Young Adult Justice Scholars or to make a referral, please contact Lisa Faro at 212-553-6637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.