JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Currently, Friends of Island Academy is hiring for the following positions:

Director of Research and Evaluation

Housing and Benefits Specialist

Mitigation Specialist (Full-time Position) *Multiple positions available*

Teacher, Pre-HSE Class (Full-time Position)

Youth Advocate (Full-time Position) *Multiple positions available*

 

Positions will be posted until filled.


 

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Title: Mitigation Specialist (Full-time Position)

To start late February/early March. Bilingual (English/Spanish) strongly preferred.

Organization Description

Friends of Island Academy (Friends) was founded in 1990 to anchor, support and develop capacity among young people newly released from jail in New York City.  A pioneer in adolescent reentry services, Friends builds on connections developed with young people while in custody, and leverages those relationships to provide post-release, neighborhood-based supportive services.  Young people become members of Friends and develop personal milestones and goals in the arenas of health and well-being, education, employment, youth leadership and community participation.

Position Background and Description

Friends of Island Academy’s Youth Reentry Network (The Network) is a newly created Demonstration Project developed in collaboration with the New York City Department of Correction and other public and private partners to launch, pilot, implement and evaluate the impact of an innovative system of case expediting, pre-release planning and neighborhood-based aftercare and support for the youngest people admitted to and released from DOC custody in New York City.

The Miller Center for Special Mitigation is a component of the Youth Reentry Network that provides case expediting, reintegration planning, and defender-based advocacy and mitigation supports on behalf of adolescents and young adults (16-21) generally held on bail on Rikers Island. The Miller Center is named after Dr. Jerome Miller (1931-2015) who inspired a revolution in America’s juvenile justice system by transforming Massachusetts’ system of reformatories for youth in the early 1970’s to regionally-based smaller centers throughout the state, to bring young people closer to their homes. Dr. Miller coined the term Client Specific Planning: the development of individually tailored plans which emphasize creative and flexible dispositions to meet the needs of public safety and reduce the reliance on imprisonment, particularly for youth in the juvenile justice system.

The core of the Miller Center is the work of mitigation specialists who will develop individualized plans for each youth focused on minimizing length of stay, reducing likelihood of readmission or further penetration into state custody. The Center will facilitate the interface between court/case processing and the promoting of long-term positive youth development. The Center’s Mitigation Specialists will help support youth at a most vulnerable moment – upon initial admission to Rikers – by leveraging the benefits of a myriad of court-based and community-based organizations and services City-wide to help minimize young peoples’ length of stay and promote the likelihood that they do not return to custody.

Essential Responsibilities

Interface and integrate effectively with courts, court personnel, defense bar and with New York City’s array of community-based alternatives to incarceration services working on behalf of youth throughout the five boroughs

  • Upon youth admission to Rikers, conduct triage and collaborate with Youth Advocates to identify key factors with potential to expedite case process/reduce lengths of stay;
  • Work with Youth Advocates to identify key information, reach out to attorneys;

Develop individualized mitigation supports for youth at different points along the criminal justice continuum

  • Collaborate with defense counsel, develop and oversee the preparation of supporting documentation and individualized plans for release on recognizance, pre-pleading and pre-sentence supports/planning;
  • Collaborate with existing array of alternative to detention/incarceration programs and organizations City-wide to support their needs as it relates to young people served;
  • Collaborate with Network partners and subcontracted legal services related to the collateral consequences to youth of arrest and conviction;
  • Reentry Plan Development and Monitoring
    • Participate in initial case planning meetings and assist in the development of comprehensive community based plans;
    • Regularly meet with Miller Center Director to evaluate youth progress towards objectives, reassess strategies, and respond to any difficulties arising in the youth’s case or life;
  • Advocacy
    • Building and maintaining strong relationships of trust with youth, providing ongoing support and mentorship, and being available to respond to evolving needs of youth while in custody and upon release;
    • Gathering educational, medical, and other records;
    • Going to court on behalf of youth, presenting reentry plans, and testifying as needed;
    • Helping youth comply with conditions supervised release/bail;
  • Project Management
    • Maintaining careful records on project efforts and outcomes, thoroughly documenting all work performed and all information gathered.

Mitigation specialists will be provided with intensive training in areas including communicating with clients; developmental psychology; navigating community partnerships; and applicable professional, ethical, and legal rules.

Qualifications

Required:

  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills;
  • Deep commitment to youth;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to develop rapport with a wide range of people;
  • Meaningful, professional experience working in the juvenile justice system or in similar settings with at-risk youth;
  • Strong work ethic;
  • Creativity and flexibility in solving problems and meeting challenges;
  • Strong organizational skills.

Preferred:

  • Demonstrated cultural competence and an understanding of and belief in strengths-based youth development philosophy;
  • Familiarity with educational options for youth in New York, including traditional schools and available alternatives to traditional schools;
  • Understanding of relevant law and of the justice system in New York.

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to Gina Lee at glee@friendsny.org.


 

Title: Teacher, Pre-HSE Class (Full-time Position)

Organization Description

Friends of Island Academy (Friends) was founded in 1990 to anchor, support and develop capacity among young people newly released from jail in New York City.  A pioneer in adolescent reentry services, Friends builds on connections developed with young people while in custody, and leverages those relationships to provide post-release, neighborhood-based supportive services.  Young people become members of Friends and develop personal milestones and goals in the arenas of health and well-being, education, employment, youth leadership and community participation.

Position Background and Description

Friends’ Jail to School Pipeline provides education and education-related services to young people coming home from Rikers along with other criminal justice involved youth. These include three separate initiatives:  a ReStart Academy for youth seeking to gain a regular high school diploma; the Hampshire School, an offsite HSE/paid internship program; and a new on-site pre-HSE class. The HSE Teacher will teach the on-site pre-HSE class, lead assessment activities for the Jail-to-School Pipeline, provide educational expertise for the Pipeline staff, and support the larger goals of the Youth Reentry Network.

Essential Responsibilities:

Teach HSE class for 17-24 year olds who have had criminal justice involvement

  • Provide instruction in Social Studies, Science, English Language Arts, Math, and Writing;
  • Support students’ development as readers and writers; teach reading strategies and provide regular, meaningful writing activities;
  • Develop learner-centered, participatory lessons, using relevant materials and a project-based approach;
  • Create engaging instructional strategies and lesson plans in both math and/or literacy, including group instruction and one-on-one tutoring;
  • Evaluate student progress using standardized assessment tools and in-class assessment;
  • Maintain attendance and assessment data in Friends’ agency-wide database; enter regular notes on student progress.

Lead assessment activities for Friends Jail-to-School Pipeline program

  • Conduct assessments for prospective students – including TABE tests, and informal reading inventories when appropriate;
  • Help Pipeline staff interpret TABE scores and other standardized assessments;
  • Using TABE scores, informal assessments, school transcripts, and educational history, help prospective students consider their educational options (i.e., regular diploma track, HSE track, etc.).

Support other Pipeline initiatives

  • Help plan and participate in student orientations;
  • Make referrals to other programs as appropriate;
  • Meet with parents, Probation Officers, and other referring agencies;
  • Participate with the rest of the Pipeline team in program planning and evaluation.

Qualifications

  • 3-5 years’ experience teaching in adult literacy/HSE education;
  • Experience working with at-risk youth or justice involved youth;
  • Strong interpersonal skills, cultural competence, and an understanding and belief in strengths-based youth development philosophy are needed to succeed in this position;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills;
  • A sense of humor, integrity, flexibility and a profound commitment to the youth we serve;
  • Individuals with prior criminal justice involvement are encouraged to apply.

Reports to: Project Coordinator, Jail to School Pipeline

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to Gina Lee at glee@friendsny.org.


 

 

Title: Youth Advocate (Full-time position)

To start in March

Organization Description

Friends of Island Academy (Friends) was founded in 1990 to anchor, support and develop capacity among young people newly released from jail in New York City. A pioneer in adolescent reentry services, Friends builds on connections developed with young people while in custody, and leverages those relationships to provide post-release, neighborhood-based supportive services. Young people become members of Friends and develop personal milestones and goals in the arenas of health and well-being, education, employment, youth leadership and community participation.

Position Background and Description

The Youth Reentry Network (The Network) is a newly-created Demonstration project developed in collaboration with the New York City Department of Correction and other public and private partners to launch, implement and evaluate the feasibility and impact of an innovative system of case expediting, pre-release planning and neighborhood-based aftercare and support for the youngest people admitted to and released from DOC custody in New York City.   The Network is designed to work with all adolescents (16-17) and approximately half of young adults (18-21) who are admitted post-arraignment to Rikers Island, at three primary points of intervention: upon admission, transitionally and post-release in their neighborhoods.

Youth Advocates serve as mentor, case manager, navigator, facilitator and coach to individual youth with whom they first connect upon admission to Rikers.

Essential Responsibilities:

Develop relationships with young people in jail and custodial settings prior to their release, with the goal of creating and following individualized plans during and after custody

  • Connect with youth at one of several facilities which house adolescents and young adults on Rikers Island upon admission;
  • Spend time in new admissions houses on a rotating schedule, providing early contact and concrete, limited supports, including family and attorney outreach;
  • Reach out to youth significant other/family and other potential support systems available to youth;
  • Conduct consistent weekly visits leading up to the release date, allowing time to cement relationships and meet with families prior to the youth’s release;
  • Follow youth and maintain on-going contact as they move through general population;
  • Reach out to and develop relationship with families of youth;

Leverage relationships and release plans established with young people during custody and provide neighborhood-based supports

  • Prepare and support families for a youth’s transition home from justice system involvement prior to release from custody;
  • Facilitate and support youth enrollment, engagement and academic advancement;
  • Prepare young people for the world of work through job readiness, placement and retention services;
  • Leverage relationships with formal and informal community members/leaders, local vendors, faith-based supports;
  • Address and navigate system-related barriers on behalf of youth and families;
  • Implement post-release neighborhood-based services to support individual progress in overall youth development and to leverage natural supports and services in the neighborhood on behalf of youth members;

Take responsibility for a set number of youth and their individualized continually changing goals plans dashboards on individual youth

  • Maintain on-going contact with youth as well as with individuals supporting youth;
  • Track and maintain data for all youth worked with.

Qualifications

Required

  • Experience/training in youth development is required. Proven experience in facilitation and staff supervision. Strong interpersonal skills, cultural competence, and an understanding and belief in strengths-based youth development philosophy are needed to succeed in this position.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and other business software; experience with databases and report development.
  • Experience with the NYC criminal justice population;
  • Integrity, flexibility and a profound commitment to the youth we serve

Preferred

  • Experience in education, conflict resolution, counseling and/or working in a secure setting;
  • Experience with or understanding of trauma-informed practices;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and other business software;
  • Experience with databases and report development;
  • Strong oral and written communication skills;
  • Experience in program start-up and/or working in a secure/custodial setting strongly preferred;
  • Individuals with prior criminal justice involvement are encouraged to apply, but must be able to gain clearance on Rikers Island (no contact with criminal justice system for two years, including parole or probation).

To apply, please send resume and cover letter to Gina Lee at glee@friendsny.org.