Help to protect New York City's court-involved and at-risk youth from incarceration. image

Help to protect New York City's court-involved and at-risk youth from incarceration.

Your donation redirects our Participants to supportive services which help them build successful lives. Thank you for supporting the Power of Second Chances.

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“AFJ has been a very good support system to my family and me. AFJ made sure we all had food and supplies especially when there was barely anything in the store. . I really appreciate the help especially during this pandemic.” – Maya, Avenues for Justice participant

For 40+ years, Avenues for Justice (AFJ) has supported young people in New York City, keeping them out of prison through our ongoing court advocacy and our wraparound HIRE UP programs for job readiness, education, and mental health wellness. At a time when the effectiveness of alternative to incarceration programs are being debated, Avenues for Justice's model has achieved some of the lowest recidivism rates in the country for decades.

94% of AFJ Participants are not reconvicted of a new crime within three years of enrolling in our program because we equip our Participants with the tools to succeed academically and attain employment. And while New York State pays approximately $500,000 to house a young person in the state’s juvenile facilities, it only costs $6,300 to provide a Participant with a full year of services at Avenues for Justice.

What we do: We currently serve over 400 Court-involved and At-Risk Participants annually across New York City, ages 13 - 24. Services for our Participants are provided online and onsite at AFJ’s two community centers in Harlem and the Lower East Side, and at AFJ’s headquarters inside the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse. Court-Involved Participants receive free court advocacy services with intensive case management. All Participants receive HIRE UP services for job readiness and certification, teen empowerment and legal rights, life skills training, mental and physical health wellness, academic/educational support and tutoring. AFJ also provides referrals to third party specialists for all Participants when needed.

To continue this work, we need your help.
For organizations like Avenues for Justice (AFJ), we recognize that heroes come from our very own communities. AFJ’s own hero Elsie Flores grew up in the Lower East Side with her mother who struggled with her mental health and addiction. By the age of 16, Elsie had been arrested multiple times and was facing one to three years for each arrest related to drug sales. Elsie was looking at a total of nine years of incarceration during a time when young people could be tried and sentenced as adults. On top of the possibility of state time, Elsie learned she was pregnant.

Thankfully, Elsie was referred to Avenues for Justice’s court advocacy program. While at AFJ, Elsie received legal support, supportive services, mentorship, and guidance. Through her own hard work and with the support of her Court Advocate, Nelson, Elsie was able to navigate the court system without having to serve time. Additionally, Elsie was able to successfully provide for her child, intern at AFJ after successfully graduating from the program and earn a Bachelor’s Degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2020.

Today, Elsie has worked as a Court Advocate at AFJ for over a decade, providing guidance to young people seeking second chances. In the fall of 2023, Elsie enrolled in the graduate school program at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. Elsie exemplifies the power of second chances and the need for our work is as important now as ever before.