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About Us[return to top]
The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system.
The Campaign works in partnership with state-based campaigns in a number of states. We serve as a clearinghouse of information on youth prosecuted as adults and make our tools and resources available to those interested in learning and taking action on an issue that personally affects them.
We strongly believe that any movement must involve those who are most impacted by the laws and policies. Thus, we seek to empower those affected by encouraging them to use their voices and experiences to effect meaningful change.
CFYJ is a member organization of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition (NJJDPC), a collaborative array of youth- and family- serving, social justice, law enforcement, corrections, and faith-based organizations, working to ensure healthy families, build strong communities and improve public safety by promoting fair and effective policies, practices and programs for youth involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. CFYJ staff serve on the Steering Committee of the coalition. The coalition meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 1:30 pm in Washington, DC and the meeting is open to the public.
CFYJ staff co-chair the Act 4 Juvenile Justice campaign of the NJJDP Coalition. The Act 4 Juvenile Justice campaign is working to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA). For more than three decades, the JJDPA has provided direction and support for juvenile justice system improvements and has significantly contributed to the reduction of juvenile crime and delinquency. The JJDPA sets out federal standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system. For additional information, visit www.act4jj.org.
As a DC-based organization, CFYJ is a member organization of and CFYJ staff serve on the Steering Committee of the Youth Justice Project, a DC Lawyers for Youth initiative to organize youth-serving organizations in Washington D.C. to speak with one voice on juvenile justice issues. The Youth Justice project provides advocacy and policy support for juvenile justice reform. For additional information, visit: www.dcly.org.
In addition, CFYJ is a member organization of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO), whose mission is to contribute an international and inter-disciplinary vision of juvenile justice in order to create a future for minors and young people all over the world who are in situations of exclusion as a result of infringements of the law. The IJJO promotes international development strategies for appropriate policies, legislations and intervention methods within the context of a global juvenile justice without borders. For additional information, visit: www.ijjo.org.
CFYJ is a member of the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and participates in HandsOn Greater DC Cares.
Contact Us[return to top]
CAMPAIGN FOR YOUTH JUSTICE
1012 14th Street, NW, Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
Staff[return to top]
President and Chief Executive Officer, Ext. 11
Liz brings more than two decades of experience to the Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ), an organization she founded that is dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating children in the adult criminal justice system. In her capacity at CFYJ, Liz is responsible for overall strategy, management and fundraising. Liz currently serves on the steering committee of the National Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Coalition. Prior to starting The Campaign for Youth Justice, Ms. Ryan served for five years as the Advocacy Director for the Youth Law Center’s Building Blocks for Youth Initiative, a project to reduce the over-incarceration and disparate treatment of children of color in the juvenile justice system. Ms. Ryan previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper during his terms as Delaware’s Governor and member of the US House of Representatives. She also served as a lobbyist for the Children’s Defense Fund. Ms. Ryan is a former VISTA volunteer. Ms. Ryan holds a BA from Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) and an MA from The George Washington University (Washington, DC).
Chief Financial Officer, Ext. 12
Roger has over 15 years of experience as a program coordinator and organizer. Before coming to the Campaign for Youth Justice, he worked as the program coordinator to the Senior Vice President for Product Development and the Senior Vice President for Human Resources at Blackboard Inc., the largest supplier of technology solutions for online education. Previously, Roger served as the Marketing & Outreach Coordinator for the National Catholic Education Association; a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit organization, where he coordinated a public education campaign on the benefits of Catholic school education. Since joining the Campaign for Youth Justice in 2005 Mr. Ghatt has directed the organization’s outreach efforts to national organizations, stakeholders and policy-makers. He is also in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Campaign. Roger holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from American University (Washington, DC), and a MA from St. Thomas Aquinas University (Rome, Italy).
Jessica A. Sandoval
Vice President & Deputy Director, Ext. 14
Jessica A. Sandoval, MPA is the Director of National Field Operations at the Campaign for Youth Justice, a national organization that is dedicated to ending the practice of prosecuting children under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. As a founding staff member of the organization, she was responsible for creating the communications infrastructure and established several initiatives to involve those who oppose prosecuting youth as adults, including affected families and incarcerated youth. She leads the organizations overall state campaign strategy and provides technical assistance to states engaged in reform efforts and campaigns. Ms. Sandoval uses her advocacy, political campaign and policy strategy expertise to build, implement and promote campaign successes and to increase field capacity and networks.
Ms. Sandoval has 20 years of juvenile justice experience. Her experience includes direct service, program management, local, state and federal policy and advocacy. She also served as an appointed Juvenile Justice Commissioner for the State of Colorado for 10 years.
Ms. Sandoval volunteers as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Free Minds Book Club and Writing workshop, an organization that serves youth who have been prosecuted as adults and who are housed at the DC Jail. In addition, she also serves on the Board of Directors for the Lagniappe Education Foundation, a foundation that provides scholarships to graduating seniors at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Ms. Sandoval graduated with a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Colorado and a undergraduate degree in Human Services, from Metropolitan State College.
Policy Director, ext.13
As the Campaign’s Policy Director, Carmen assists both state based organizations and national partners in developing policy goals related to criminal justice reform. Before coming to the Campaign, Carmen served as Deputy Director and staff attorney for Advocates for Justice and Education, A DC based non-profit, formed to educate parents, youth, and the community about the laws governing public education, specifically for children with special needs. In those roles, Carmen provided direct representation to families in special education and school discipline matters and also provided training to families on various disability topics. In 2008, Carmen was appointed to the D.C. Mayor's Juvenile Justice Advisory Group where she works with city stakeholders to provide recommendations on district compliance with the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act. She also co-chairs the American Bar Association, Individual Rights and Responsibilities, Public Education Committee which seeks to protect and advance the right of equal access and opportunity to public education for all people. Carmen received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College and her Juris Doctor from Tulane University School of Law.
Aprill O. Turner
Director of Communications & Media Relations, ext.20
Aprill is a public relations professional with more than twelve years of experience working with non-profit and corporate clients, as well as elected officials, in the areas of political and communication strategy, message development, media training, crisis communications, branding, and public affairs.
Prior to coming to the Campaign for Youth Justice, Aprill taught public relations and journalism at Morgan State University and Loyola University in Baltimore, MD. She has also been Communications Consultant for the National Association of Black Journalists, Senior Account Executive at CooperKatz Public Relations in New York City, as well as planned and conducted media outreach initiatives for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and the National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights. In addition, Aprill has worked on Capitol Hill in several media capacities, including Press Advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, Deputy Press Secretary to Congressman Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts and Communications Director to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York. Aprill has lead media strategy for several local, Congressional and Senatorial campaigns.
Aprill holds a bachelor's degree in legal communications from Howard University and a master's degree in political communication and fundraising from The George Washington University. Aprill is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, the National Black Public Relations Society,and a former board member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Program Coordinator, Ext. 31
Shantá is currently employed as Program Coordinator for the Alliance for Youth Justice. Ms. Gray began her career at the Federal Bureau of Prisons as a stay-in-school student, where she was responsible for the Freedom of Information database and website. She then was promoted to be the Administrative Assistant for the Director of Libraries, where she was responsible for coordinating and setting up high level conference calls, board and management meetings, and special events and travel arrangements for top executives. Ms. Gray was then employed by The Interfaith Alliance, which she was responsible for their Field Activism, Project Management, and Event Planning. Ms. Gray graduated from the Prince George’s Community College in 2002 with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology at Bowie State University in 2004.
External Relations Associate, Ext. 15
Leah Robertson is the External Relations Associate at the Campaign for Youth Justice.. Leah assists in the implementation of the Campaign’s federal agenda and fundraising campaigns. She graduated in the winter of 2009 from Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in History and Latin American Studies. Prior to coming to the Campaign, she mentored students in the juvenile justice system in Baltimore City through the STAND! Mentorship Project and served as a Production Assistant and Researcher for a documentary on tolerance education.
Administrative Assistant, Ext. 19
Pauline Cao is an Administrative Assistant at the Campaign for Youth Justice. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine in spring of 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Law and Society. Following graduation, Pauline was a fellow at the Campaign during the summer internship program where she assisted in administrative duties and event planning. Currently at the Campaign, Pauline handles administrative tasks to ensure that the office runs smoothly and efficiently. She also manages the prisoner correspondence and aides in the Join the Movement campaign. Pauline is also the head of the Campaign’s volunteer programs and services.
State Field Organizer
Angella Bellota work’s as the Campaign for Youth Justice’s State Field Organizer. Angella provides technical assistance to targeted state campaigns aiming to end the prosecution of children as adults. She is currently providing technical assistance to North Carolina’s Raise the Age Campaign, with a focus on grassroots mobilization, coalition building and public education.
Prior to joining the Campaign, Angella worked at Action for Children North Carolina, a state level children’s policy and research organization. In her capacity at Action for Children, Angella led the Research and Data team with developing child well-being publications in order to educate and engage policy makers and the general public. Her expertise and experience lead the organization to prioritize issues affecting children of color, resulting in Action for Children’s first publication about children of immigrant families. She also lead community outreach efforts and assisted in developing and implementing state and local strategies to build public will for campaigns around juvenile justice, education and health in under-served communities. She graduated from California State University, San Bernardino, receiving a BA in Sociology with a minor in Ethnic Studies. She completed her master’s degree in Sociology from North Carolina State University, with a concentration in social inequality.
Parent and Community Organizer
Tracy McClard, a mother from Missouri, joined the Campaign for Youth Justice in the summer of 2010. She became a parent activist for juvenile justice reform when her 17 year old son committed suicide while incarcerated in an adult facility. Tracy recently resigned from her teaching job to focus on creating a powerful family-based juvenile justice organization in Missouri. She is currently organizing a national 5K run/walk to bring awareness to the public about the issue of prosecuting children as adults.
Alliance for Youth Justice Co-Director
202.200.0604 (Cell phone)
Grace is the Co-Director and a Family Organizer for the National Parent Caucus (NPC). In her leadership role with the NPC she provides timely advocacy and peer-to-peer support among its members. Grace's son was 17 years old when he was sent to the adult criminal justice system. She has been an advocate in Illinois since 2004.
CFYJ Board of Directors [return to top]
Carrie Ann Blewitt
Qorvis Communications LLC
Senior Management Advisor
Founder and President
Eduardo Ferrer, JD
Chief Operating Officer
DC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY)
The World Bank
Chief Legislative Counsel
Office of the Public Defender of the District of Columbia
Alliance of Concerned Men
Dr. Francisco Villarruel, PhD
Professor Family & Child Ecology
Michigan State University
Fellowship Opportunities [return to top]
The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) is accepting applications for its fellowship program. We accept part-time and full-time interns during the fall and spring semesters (preferring students who can commit to an entire academic year), and full-time interns during the summer (at least an 8 week commitment).
The Summer 2013 Fellowship Application deadline is March 31, 2013. The following fellowship opportunities are currently available for Summer 2013:
Summer 2013 Fellow in Field and Outreach
Summer 2013 Fellow in National Outreach
The Campaign is a Greater Hands on DC partner.