December 20, 2021

Where We Landed in 2021, and Where We’re Going Next!

With the help of our funders and supporters, Avenues for Justice (AFJ) experienced exciting growth in 2021 and we are planning for more expansion in the next few years in order to help more of our City’s youth, ages 13–24, who are court-involved, incarcerated or at-risk. You’ve helped us especially with our The Story Beyond The Statistics campaign which raised enough funds to provide a full year of services to nearly 40 Participants.  

Here’s a recap of new programs and achievements in 2021 – and here’s where we’re headed in 2022:


  • In November, Manhattan’s District Attorney Elect, Alvin Bragg, selected Avenues for Justice’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Angel Rodriguez, to serve on the Juvenile Justice Sub-committee of his Transition Advisory team up until his inauguration this month.
  • AFJ launched a PSA campaign and was featured on the PBS NewsHouras a model alternative-to-incarceration (ATI) program. The process of creating each of these features provided us with the opportunity to share important stories about our work from the point of view of those closest to our mission – our participants, staff, and volunteers.
  • NY City Council, along with Council Member Carlina Rivera and Community Board 3, voted to name our block on the Lower East Side, Avenues for Justice Way.

New target groups: AFJ entered a new partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) and Center for Community Alternatives (CCA), to work with incarcerated and re-entry youth, and also started providing our services to youth in Court Diversion Programs.

Service Area Expansion: From July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, Participants lived in 41 out of 51 City Council Districts with 48% from Manhattan and 52% from other boroughs: Bronx 22%, Brooklyn 21%, Queens 5%, Staten Island 4%.

HIRE UP expansions and updates: Avenues for Justice is continuing to offer and expand our HIRE UP programs for job training, life skills, education, and mental health, including psychotherapist-led individual and group therapy, impacting our Participants’ employability and personal growth. This year, of those obtaining jobs from January – October 2021, 22% were Digital Literacy students, 15% were OSHA students obtaining entry-level construction jobs, 52% were in job readiness workshops led by corporations, and 15% were hired directly by our corporate partners.

  • NEW – Communications including new Videography training: Through support from the New York Community Trust (NYCT), AFJ is coordinating several workshops – videography, digital literacy, legal rights and civics – to create a “Communications” series.
  • NEW – Mental Health: In February, AFJ launched a new HIRE UP Mental Health program, including workshops on coping skills, in-depth group support, and rapid access to individual counseling.
  • Computer labs: Thanks to the Hyde & Watson Foundation, AFJ updated equipment in the computer labs at our two community centers.
  • Entrepreneurship: Slickdeals led an 8-week Entrepreneurship workshop where Participants launched an online store.
  • Education: Goldman Sachs led a one-week STEM boot camp for science, technology, engineering, and math.

Discussions with Key Stakeholders to Expand Services: AFJ is in discussions with key stakeholders across our City to ensure that youth and young adults across the criminal justice system are referred to our quality ATI services both online and onsite in place of cells.

Street Naming Block Party: Join our street renaming celebration this year (date TBA) when the City installs our new street sign, Avenues for Justice Way, on Avenue B between East Sixth and Seventh Streets.

PSA Network for AFJ: Avenues for Justice is excited to be featured on F.Y. EYE’s PSA Network campaign. The Services, Not Cells PSA promotes alternatives to incarceration (ATI) programs for young New Yorkers. Avenues for Justice is also in discussion for city-wide advertising in the City’s transportation hubs to promote our services to underserved communities. If your business would like to co-sponsor an ad with your company name and logo, please contact

Our Fall Gala is Back: After a two-year gap due to the pandemic, Avenues for Justice plans to hold our Annual Fall Gala where AFJ celebrates the importance of second chances with our supporters and participants.

Create & Lead a Workshop: We invite friends and corporations to lead online or onsite career and skill-building workshops for our Participants, either as a one-time event or a series. If you are interested in sharing your expertise, contact Gamal Wills at

Thank you for all you make possible for our Participants at Avenues for Justice!


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