AFJ's End of Year Campaign: The Story Beyond the Statistics

Help AFJ raise $300,000 this month so that every youth can achieve their full potential and #SeeBeyond


Meet Anastacia. A nurse. A mom. A New Yorker. Before all of this, Anastacia dealt with some trying circumstances. She was arrested three times and became pregnant at the age of 15. For many, the only future they could imagine for Anastacia was incarceration. But the necessary support and guidance from the Avenues for Justice (AFJ) team helped Anastacia achieve a different outcome. An outcome that included college, career, and the ability to make a life for herself after being given a second chance.

Far too often young people are given a label before their stories truly begin. While some youth are afforded the grace to navigate adolescence, making mistakes big or small, young people from marginalized communities know that one error can lead to extreme consequences. For teens and young adults who encounter the criminal justice system or law enforcement, the labels they earn can have lifelong consequences, impacting job prospects and even the opportunity to vote. The task of navigating the court system without resources or support can lead to prolonged hearings, unjust sentences, and a lack of connection to the support and resources needed to keep young people on the path to success after they end up engaged in the justice system.  As a result, 59% of parolees are likely to be reconvicted in New York State within three years of their release.

Avenues for Justice has a different vision for our participants. Instead of seeing young people as the sum of their mistakes, the team at AFJ works to see beyond their current circumstances. We see individuals who, with the right support, can achieve their dreams. We see future community leaders. Teachers. Artists. Doctors. Filmmakers.  We see their value and limitless potential. That's why, on average, just 5% of AFJ's participants are reconvicted within three years of enrollment in our program. As Anastacia said, at AFJ we work to really see our participants, and to partner with them to pursue their goals.

Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to some members of the AFJ Family through our campaign, AFJ: The Story Beyond the Statistics. You will hear from our program alum, our staff, and our volunteers, our participants, including Hakim, a current participant in AFJ’s prevention services programming who has learned filmmaking and received support from staff. Along with Dennis, who leads the Teen Empowerment workshop as part of AFJ's Communications Leadership Academy supported by New York Community Trust to give our youth a voice via podcasting and other media.

Join us in making a difference in the lives of our participants, creating even more Avenues for justice and pathways to accomplishing their goals.