JJC is a state-wide advocacy organization that works with Ohio youth who are at-risk of involvement or involved in the juvenile court system. JJC works mainly through policy advocacy and advocating with youth and families.
In Memoriam: Remembering Ed Sparks – JJC’s Board Vice President.
Ed Sparks, President of JJC’s Board from 2006 – 2014, passed away on September 14, 2017. Ed was the “heart” of JJC – he kept the organization focused on our vision of the best interest of the children. He joined the board in the mid-1990’s and remained on it until his death – most recently as Vice President.
As Executive Vice President of the National Youth Advocate Program, he offered JJC both his own expertise and the resources of his organization – meeting space, access to other professional knowledge, van trips to visit institutions, and more. Ed mentored many JJC board members and was a model to the board of kindness and service. We will miss him greatly but his memory will continue to guide our work.
In Memoriam: Remembering William Avery (“Avery”) – JJC’s First Board President.
William Avery, the first President of the Board of the Juvenile Justice Coalition when it formed in 1993 as the Ohio Coalition for Better Youth Services, passed away on June 28, 2017. “Avery” exemplified the vision of JJC – working to get children out of institutions and into community-based settings that were more effective, as well as fighting racial disparities throughout the juvenile justice system.
Avery started his work in juvenile justice in 1969 as the superintendent of Blossom Hill School for delinquent girls. In 1972, he was appointed by Governor of Ohio as the Regional Administrator of the Cleveland Regional Office of the Ohio Department of Youth Services (then called the Ohio Youth Commission). Avery was the first African-American person to serve in these leadership positions. He retired from state government in 1992, but returned to work in juvenile justice in 1998 as the Chief of Probation for the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court until his retirement in 2001. Avery was highly regarded throughout the state for his leadership and advocacy on behalf of marginalized people. He mentored many people who continue to serve his vision.
HB 410 Goes into Effect 2017-2018 School Year.
As the 2017-2018 school year starts, HB 410 – a bill that changes Ohio’s truancy and school discipline laws – goes into effect. HB 410’s purpose is to work with students who are missing school to re-engage them in school and keep them out of formal juvenile court processing. To learn more about HB 410, please visit JJC’s dedicated HB 410 page.
JJC and VOU Go to DC.
In July 2016, JJC staff and 4 Voices of the Unheard (VOU) youth attended the National Juvenile Justice Network’s (NJJN’s) annual national conference in Washington DC. The conference brings together juvenile justice advocates from across the country to brainstorm, share best practices, and learn from each other as we push for reforms.
At the conference, Amber Evans, JJC’s Policy and Community Engagement Director, was awarded NJJN’s 2017 Emerging Leader Award after being nominated and chosen by her peers. Amber was selected for her unique work blending organizing and policy efforts and was featured in an article. Amber shared her award with the VOU youth at the conference and it was amazing to see Amber’s dedication and passion for the work recognized.
From left: Ekudayo Igeleke, Dafonta, Bahirah, Amber Evans, Sarah Bryer (NJJN Executive Director), Nafisah, and Michael.
The VOU youth who attended the conference also flexed their leadership – leading icebreaker sessions, visiting OH legislators, speaking on several panels to lift youth voices, and sharing spoken word pieces at the reception. With support from Amber and VOU mentor Ekundayo Igeleke, they explored the city and each grew into their leadership and saw new possibilities for themselves, like flying on a plane for the first time or picturing themselves attending law school.
Thanks to NJJN for the opportunity and to all of you for your ongoing support of JJC!