Empowering young New Yorkers to transform the criminal justice system through their own creative voice.
Young New Yorkers is a transformative justice, arts program for 16- and 17-year-olds who have open criminal cases. The criminal court gives eligible defendants the option to participate in Young New Yorkers rather than do jail time, community service and have a lifelong criminal record. The curriculum is uniquely tailored to develop the emotional and behavioral skills of the young participants while facilitating responsible and creative self-expression. Central to the curriculum is the concept of taking responsibility for past actions as a necessary step before becoming valued members and even leaders of one’s community. Each workshop is framed by a relevant theme: community; choice; accountability; responsibility; contribution; leadership. These themes are explored, as they relate to each participant, in conversation with the group and through art exercises utilizing photography, video, illustration, and design.