In Memoriam: Remembering Amber Evans, JJC Executive Director

Amber bio picAmbeEvans, former JJC Executive Director previously held the position of JJC Director of Organizing and Policy. Amber was passionate about the work of JJC and inspired a new generation of young leaders to organize and make their voices heard.

She organized youth, families, and communities to transform the criminal justice system and reallocate funding from incarceration to trauma healing and resiliency services. She helped steer the organization’s youth and family pilot, Voices of the Unheard, and lead JJCs plan for systemic and communal implementation of restorative justice practices locally and statewide.


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.