CASES is pleased to announce that thanks to the generous support of Ponce Bank, Policy Research Associates Inc. and others, up to $10,000 in matching funds are available to donors who give by midnight tonight.
By donating on Giving Tuesday, you can double your impact and help young people like Jose, a former participant in our Assertive Community Engagement & Success Program (ACES).
ACES mentors serve young men who are out of school, out of work, and involved in the criminal legal system. When we meet them, many have lost faith in their futures. Unlike court-mandated programs, ACES participants choose when, where, and how they work with us, and the CASES team commits to them for as long as they need us—often for years.
When our ACES team first began working with Jose, he dodged his assigned youth worker for months. He was skeptical of anyone who seemed to represent the many systems that had failed him and his community. ACES uses a trauma-informed approach rooted in relentless outreach—so the team never gave up on trying to win his trust. After 4 months of reaching out three times a week, Jose finally agreed to a full conversation.
Eventually, Jose began engaging with ACES programming on a regular basis. He was preparing to become a first-time father and needed to get a job but lacked the proper identification for employment. Jose’s youth worker worked with him to make appointments to secure his birth certificate, a new social security card, and a NYS ID. He enrolled in the ACES Work Crew – our transitional employment opportunity through which participants earn a wage while working and attending employment-readiness workshops to hone interpersonal, financial literacy, and life skills.
Through his participation in Work Crew, Jose gained invaluable work experience, and, this year, was able to secure a full-time job with a major shipping company with CASES’ continuous support and encouragement. Today, he delivers packages as part of a team—sometimes even to CASES offices.
After three years in ACES, Jose still stops by the office during his lunch breaks, grabs a snack, and talks with his former mentors. He brings his son by on his days off and often finds a current participant to chat with to share his own story. Speaking on the relationships he has built at CASES, Jose says, “instead of counting on yourself or the block, you can count on them.”
ACES’ unique multi-year model allowed Jose to be the driver of his own future, on his terms and his timeline. We never wavered in our commitment to helping Jose reach his goals—our staff have a deep understanding of how critical a circle of support is to youth development. ACES is designed to provide that support for a population of young men who are all too often disregarded and marginalized. Jose is why we keep going.
This Giving Tuesday, we hope you will join us in making a difference and supporting young people like Jose to realize their full potential.