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Justice Ambassadors is a platform for 16 to 24 year olds who’ve been previously justice-involved and Youth residing in New York City, to participate in an eight week, structured classroom setting with city officials to hold conversations about challenging community issues, including poverty, trauma, racial inequality, and to co-develop policy proposals. The program’s components are: 1) personal change – participants complete a 3-5 page statement that identifies an aspect of themselves they wish to improve and change, 2) community change – students conduct group presentations at NYC youth centers to advocate for community change and individual accountability, and 3) social change – students and city officials develop co-authored policy proposals to improve adverse social conditions. In sum, the Justice Ambassadors will build on the leadership skills of youth and provide them with the opportunity to become drivers of democratic change within their community.
Justice Ambassadors—Youth Council is a collaboration between the Center for Justice at Columbia University, Friends of the Island Academy, Brooklyn Outreach Network, New York City high schools, and city officials from agencies such as the Bronx Borough President Office, Department of Probation, Department of Education, New York City Council, New York City Police Department Community Affairs, Borough District Attorney Offices,Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, and NYC Administration of Child Services. Our expectation is that this model program will be replicated by the end of 2019.
The class will meet twice a week for eight weeks at Columbia University. The first cohort will consist of 10 youth and 10 representatives from city agencies. In the first weekly session, youth and city officials will engage in policy discussions. In the second weekly sessions, youth will visit community-based organizations and city bureaus/agencies to develop a sense of how social systems operate. Following the conclusion of the course, participants will be placed in paid internships with youth service providers to work on refining and implementing their policy proposals. The proposals will be presented at the City Youth Summit, June 2019.
This initiative is set to begin Tuesday April 9th, 2019.
For more information, please contact:
Center for Justice at Columbia University