Celebrating the First Cohort: Transforming Youth Justice - Building Reformers

Open House

2016 Leadership Graduates (L to R) Lt. Joe Murgo, East Haven Police Department; Asst. Chief Tony Reyes, New Haven Police Department; Carlos Santana, Union House/Corporation for Justice Management; Stephanie Gallagher, Boys and Girls Village; Lyne Landry, Guilford Youth and Family Services; Jackie Diggs, Department of Children and Families; Rev. Tom Sievel, St. Vincent de Paul Church; Carlos Collazo, Boys and Girls Club; Patricia Nunez, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch; Michaelangelo Palmieri, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division; Mandy Miranda, Wallingford Police Department; Dawn Poindexter, Abundant Harvest Outreach Ministries; Malcolm Blue, Department of Children and Families; Kate Gunning, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Juvenile Probation; and Mike Pavano, New Haven Public Schools.

Fifteen leaders from the Greater New Haven region successfully completed the 2016 nine-month leadership development program with significant support from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Each monthly session provided opportunities for leaders to develop collaborative leadership skills, focus on juvenile justice reform and best practices, and explore core competencies such as empirical research, data-driven decision-making, and restorative justice practices. The program balances professional and personal experiences and perspectives on youth justice with a call to action as reformers. Cohort leaders developed unique capstone projects that can impact youth justice reform efforts within their organizations and communities.

The participating leaders were passionate about addressing chronic and significant challenges to better meet the needs of youth, their families and their communities including police-youth interactions, truancy, bullying, and mental health. Nearly half of the cohort chose to collaborate on a capstone project to improve police-youth interactions from a youth-led program model with support from several systems including police, probation, and schools.

The leaders presented their individual and group capstone project plans at the December graduation celebration before their agency leadership, colleagues, friends and family, and invited guests from the Community Foundation, the University of New Haven, and the Tow Youth Justice Institute team. The graduation event closed with fellowship awards and a call to action to take a “deep dive” into the work of youth justice by keynote speaker, Dr. Carla Oleska from Elms College in Chicopee, MA.

First Cohort funding was provided in part by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.Tow Community Foundation Logo

Graduates of the 2016 Cohort I TYJI Leadership Program

  • Malcolm Blue
    Systems Director for Region 2, Department of Children and Families (DCF), New Haven

     

    Leadership Role: Co-Chair for SCC Collaboration Network

    Capstone: South Central CT Collaboration “System of Care”

    Resides in Bethany

    Testimonial Quote:

    “We dived deep into group interventions which often focused on the impact of oppression which derives from institutional racism and gender inequality.  I happen to be well versed in regards to issues related to race, ethnicity and gender inequality however I found our dialogue related to the need for advocacy and the protection of equal rights for the JJ population and young people within the community to be extremely educational and reaffirming.  The JJ client population continues to emerge as an increasingly marginalized group facing institutional inequality and in need of significant advocacy.”

  • Carlos Collazo
    Director of Operations at the New Haven Boys and Girls Club, New Haven

     

    Leadership Role: Directs a mentoring program for city youth.

    Capstone: Reducing Truancy through Community Intervention

    Resides in New Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

    "The Transforming Youth Justice – Leadership Development Program helped me better understand Juvenile Justice best practices as it pertains to reform and how to leverage data and collaborations to become better agents of change." 

  • Jacquelyn Diggs
    Social Work Supervisor, Department of Children and Families (DCF), Milford.  

     

    Leadership Role: Collaborates with Yale Child Study Center on best practice interventions to address trauma.

    Capstone: Improving Police and Youth Interactions through a statewide training program that engages youth and police

    Resides in North Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

    “ I loved being a part of the leadership development program and always looked forward to our monthly meetings.  I learned invaluable information which I have incorporated into my work and in my leadership roles.  I was able to spend time with other professionals who share my interests and who motivated me to continue working towards our shared goals as they relate to youth justice reform. Hearing from others in the field opened my eyes to everyone’s unique challenges and perspectives and gave me a newfound appreciation for the work we do.”

  • Stephanie Gallagher
    Director of Evidenced Based Practices at the Boys and Girls Village, Bridgeport.

     

    Leadership Role:  Certified trainer for MDFT (spell out)

    Capstone: Multi-system Case Management in Fairfield County

    Resides in East Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

    “The TYJI opened my eyes to what defines a leader and that efforts big or small can make a difference.”

  • Kathleen Gunning
    Juvenile Probation Supervisor II, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut, New Haven

     

    Leadership Role: 

    Capstone:  Improving Police and Youth Interactions through a statewide training program that engages youth and police

    Resides in West Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

    “Being part of the initial TOW Leadership program was an amazing experience. It gave us all the opportunity to grow and develop among colleagues who shared a common purpose and passion. Our cohort provided a supportive yet challenging environment to be humble, vulnerable, open and identify our strengths and weaknesses as we all journey through our personal leadership growth. The relationships established as well as the leadership concepts learned will remain and continue to strengthen as we work together to better our community and create opportunities for our youth.”

  • Lyne Landry
    Director of Guilford Youth and Family Services, Guilford

     

    Leadership Role: One role I have in my community is that of municipal agent for children.  It is my responsibility to determine the capacity of the municipality to provide services beneficial to children and families, as well as disseminating information to families with children about available resources.

    Capstone: Reducing Truancy through Early Intervention

    Resides in Guilford

    Testimonial Quote:

    “The 2016 Leadership Program was a wonderful educational experience. It was simultaneously intellectually stimulating and motivational, and not only benefitted me professionally but personally as well.”

  • Amanda Miranda
    Community Youth Officer, Wallingford Police Department’s Youth Division, Wallingford

     

    Leadership Role: Certified POST Trainer in Juvenile Law.

    Capstone Improving Police and Youth Interactions through a statewide training program that engages youth and police

    Resides in Killingworth

    Testimonial Quote:

    “I enjoyed working with others from different state and local agencies. The time in our meetings allowed for us within the cohort to build relationships instead of just sitting through another training. I know that I will be able to call upon these people when I need assistance or to help answer questions.”

  • Lt. Joseph Murgo
    Community Relations Manager, East Haven Police Department, East Haven

     

    Leadership Role:  Certified POST Trainer in CT.

    Capstone: Improving Police and Youth Interactions through a statewide training program that engages youth and police

    Resides in East Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

    “The 2016 Leadership Cohort taught me that progress occurs when people with different opinions, life experiences, and values come together to accomplish one common goal.”

  • Patricia Nunez
    Program Manager, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut, Wethersfield

     

    Leadership Role: Adjunct Trainer, CSSD Training Academy.

    Capstone: Improving Police and Youth Interactions through a statewide training program that engages youth and police

    Resides in Hamden

    Testimonial Quote:

    “The 2016 Tow Youth Justice Institute Leadership Cohort provided an opportunity to self-reflect and develop connections with an array of leaders who care deeply about the juvenile justice system. The TYJI facilitators created a safe and open environment which allowed me to critically explore, develop and share my leadership abilities.”

  • Michaelangelo Palmieri
    Supervisor for Juvenile Matters, Court Support Services Division (CSSD), Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut, Middletown  

     

    Leadership Role: Facilitates two special projects in Middletown and Meriden

    Capstone: Improving Police and Youth Interactions through a statewide training program that engages youth and police

    Resides in North Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

    “The Leadership Program provided a solid foundation about Youth Justice reforms and best practices in Connecticut and throughout the country. It also gave me the space as a young leader to enhance my leadership skills with a group of like-minded individuals who have a passion for helping young people and improving the systems we all work in.”

  • Michael Pavano
    Art Teacher and Building Leadership Team, New Light High School Magnet, New Haven.

     

    Leadership Role: Multiple school roles, including YouthStat Coordinator, Crisis Plan Revision team, and Building Leader.

    Capstone: Improving Police and Youth Interactions through a statewide training program that engages youth and police

    Resides in North Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

    “The holistic approach to learning utilized by the Tow Institute inspired a deeper trust, and respect, among the leadership program participants. From revealing the psychology and development of the adolescent brain to exposing the history and disparity inherent in Connecticut’s juvenile justice system the “Transforming Youth Justice…” program identifies the need for, and your role to become, an agent of that change.”

  • Dawn Poindexter
    Outreach Coordinator, Abundant Harvest Outreach Ministries, New Haven

     

    Leadership Role: Leads community outreach initiatives.

    Capstone Project:  Reducing truancy through Early Intervention

    Resides in Hamden

    Testimonial Quote – to come

  • Lt. Otoniel Reyes
    Assistant Chief and Major Crimes Commander, New Haven Police Department, New Haven

     

    Leadership Role:  

    Capstone: Improving Police and Youth Interactions through a statewide training program that engages youth and police

    Resides in Hamden

    Testimonial Quote – to come

  • Carlos Santana
    Case Manager, Union House, the Corporation for Justice Management agency, Bridgeport

     

    Leadership Role:  Teaching and mentoring adult males.

    Capstone: Stop the Bullying, a community intervention model

    Resides in New Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

    “When it came to my experience in the 2016 Leadership Program, I would say that I have learned a lot. Everyone who attended this program had some great story and knowledge to share. It was great to collaborate with individuals who share the same passion as me. That passion is to mold young minds to be at a better place.”

  • Reverend Thomas Sievel
    Pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Church, East Haven

     

    Leadership Role: Oversight team for the U.S. Dept. of Justice within the East Haven Police Department and Town of East Haven

    Capstone Role: Reducing truancy through Early Intervention

    Resides in East Haven

    Testimonial Quote:

     “ I found the Tow Institute a deeply reflective avenue for my development in juvenile justice reform. The relationships established are very helpful for my continued work in this field.”