2020 Client Biographies

We asked our Court Advocates to describe some of the complex needs they’re helping our participants with. We thank all of you for supporting this work - we know that with a Second Chance, these young people can succeed.

Keenan:  Through the hard work of AFJ Court Advocates, Keenan earned a youthful offender adjudication to seal the record of his first and only offense from future employers and landlords.  Keenan is now working on attaining his high school equivalency degree in 2021 and is in AFJ’s digital literacy class, while AFJ pays for internet service and utilities in his home. AFJ assigned two mentors from the corporate sector to help him gain familiarity with the job world.

Martina:  Martina is doing everything right - she completed high school, just entered college and has a part-time retail job. She’s taking AFJ’s digital literacy class to expand her skills and has already earned two certifications. The problem is - she’s facing extensive jail time. AFJ presented Martina’s stellar progress to the judge who is contacting the District Attorney so that she can continue with AFJ instead of being incarcerated.

Michael:  In December 2019, Michael’s mother passed away and as the COVID quarantine began, his father, who has health challenges, lost his job. The landlord cut the power to their rent stabilized apartment to try to make them move out so that he could raise the rent.  In addition, with no income, the family was in arrears.  Avenues for Justice paid all past due rent and utilities to catch them up. Michael is now studying digital literacy through Avenues for Justice’s HIRE UP program, and is mentored in job readiness by one of AFJ’s HIRE UP corporate partners, Maven Clinic.

Kaya:  Kaya was quarantined in a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx with 7 other extended family members - all the adults had lost their jobs during the pandemic.  AFJ paid an internet bill so Kaya could continue to connect with AFJ’s online programs and provided groceries. Kaya is now applying for college scholarships to continue her education.

Angelina:  Angelina was going to be a mother but lost the baby. AFJ’s Court Advocate, Elsie, was the lone friend by Angelina’s side in the hospital as she delivered her stillborn child. Recently Angelina became pregnant again and was kicked out of her home.  AFJ is working on stable housing for Angelina with decent prenatal care and is purchasing groceries for her during this upheaval.

Assad:  Assad, age 22, was raised in Harlem by his grandmother who passed away this month.  She instilled courage in Assad, having earned her college degree in the 1950s in Alabama as an African American woman.  At the same time, Assad has no income to keep his grandmother’s home. Avenues for Justice is paying the rent for November and December while Assad quickly develops skills in our HIRE UP digital literacy, OSHA construction safety and job readiness classes. 

Avril: Avril juggles school while caring for her young child, and has earned 2 certifications in AFJ’s HIRE UP digital literacy class. AFJ pays for her internet service at home, so that Avril can continue digital literacy and connect with AFJ resources and Court Advocates. Avril is now a high school senior, ready to earn her diploma in the spring.


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