Photo of Leadership Graduation ceremony

There are currently 61 graduate leaders in reform taking their new knowledge and expertise back to their professional positions in the fields of juvenile justice and youth development.  As agents of change, fellows now comprise the Alumni Network and have opportunities to participate in statewide reform efforts by joining Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee workgroups, nominate and recommend colleagues for new cohorts, review candidate applications, provide peer review of presentations, encourage colleagues to apply, suggest new resources and be presenters at other cohort sessions.  Here are a few of their stories.

Michael Pavano 2016 Alumni Fellow

Michael A. Pavano is a high school Art teacher and a member of the New Haven New Light High School Administrative Team. Mike worked more than 18 years in the field of law enforcement. As a police officer, he identified the need for education to effect positive change within a community. His Capstone proposal in collaboration with six other cohort leaders focused on improving relations between young people and the police, not only for New Haven, but also for teens and cops across the state. Mike is currently enhancing his high school’s climate and relationships with students through use of Restorative Practices and Listening Circles. Mike is also active in supporting the Youth Stat program led by the New Haven Youth Services, the New Haven Police Department, and the Board of Education.

Michaelangelo Palmieri, 2016 Fellow

Michaelangelo was a presenter during the Cohort #2, 2017 sessions.

Jacqueline Diggs, 2016 Fellow

Jacqueline was a presenter during the Cohort #2, 2017 sessions.

Nicole Herrington, 2017 Alumni Fellow

Nicole’s Capstone, “Juvenile Residential Services LGBTQI Policy Reform,” addressed existing policies within Connecticut’s two detention facilities for handling young people, including LGBTQI and any self-identified transgender youth. The modified policy written up in her Cap-stone Proposal was presented and finally approved by the judicial department, thereby changing the routine search procedures by deten-tion staff, especially for teens identifying as LGBTQI. A revised policy now permits youth to have some input and “choice”, thereby allowing for sensitivity to the initial search by male or female staff, permissible apparel while placed in detention, and clarity about any “disclosure about identity” on the official forms and/or publically. Critically important was her recommendation for structured staff training, for detention staff, and also strongly recommended for probation and other case management staff. Nicole shared with the group her careful outreach and discussion with her superiors and the heads of Detention, and her thorough research on best practices for working supportively with LGBTQI youth and their families. Nicole perfectly exemplifies Goals 2 and 3 of the TYJI Leadership Program, “To support future change agents for youth justice reform, and to be a resource to the organizations, communities, and systems serving youth.”

Angelina Wilson, 2017 Alumni Fellow

Angelina is the founder and director of Keepsakes, Inc., a mentoring program serving New Haven young peo-ple to assure their access to information, program services and future growth opportunities. She is active with the African American Women’s Summit, specifically in their work to Unite Our Community through Activism and Social Justice Conference. During the October field visit to the CT Department of Correction, Cheshire Correctional Institute, T.R.U.E. Unit a young man spoke to her during the tour and said “Thank you for seeing our humanity.” So moved by the experience, Angelina initiated a group effort for a collective “gift of literacy”. The process engaged the young men in creating a “wish” list of authors and books not currently available to them. The list of more than 40 approved books was distributed widely and interested individuals purchased and shipped them directly to the prison library at the T.R.U.E. (Truth, Respect, Understanding, Elevate into Success) unit.

Reuel Parks, 2017 Alumni Fellow

Reuel, Founder/Director, CHAMP, Inc. and Program Officer, Dept. of Corrections gave a “Call to Action” at the 2018 Cohort Graduation and then cohort members received their Certificates of Graduation. Fellows received “Collaborative Leadership, How Citizens and Civic Leaders can Make a Difference,” by David D. Chrislip and Carl E. Larson (1994) as a graduation gift.

Alexis Bivens, 2017 Alumni Fellow

A Program Director, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Alexis discussed family engagement with the 2018 Cohort.

Justin Carbonella, 2017 Alumni Fellow

Justin was a presenter on community-based services.