CCFY- Press Profile

2011 Union Square Award Recipient

199 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 212
Bronx, NY 10454

Media Contacts: Rev. Ruben Austria, Founder and Executive Director
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Community Connections for Youth (CCFY) mobilizes faith and neighborhood organizations to develop effective community-driven alternatives to incarceration for youth. CCFY is in the forefront of developing grassroots and community-based alternatives to youth incarceration. Its model brings together youth and their parents, community and religious leaders, and business and government representatives. CCFY believes that increasing local capacity to work with youth in the justice system is key to reducing crime and delinquency and improving long-term life outcomes.

Reverend Ruben Austria formed CCFY in 2009 to mobilize grassroots participation to play a role in juvenile justice reform. “The key to successfully diverting young people from incarceration is connecting them to caring local community organizations,” he said.

In 2010, with a grant from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, CCFY began building a community-based alternative to youth incarceration in the Mott Haven area of the South Bronx that can be replicated. The goal is “to facilitate a community movement to reclaim our young people,” he said. Toward this objective, CCFY has partnered with four local organizations that will provide safe places as well as mentoring and skills, and oversee the creation of youth neighborhood improvement projects. The project is also training parents who have children currently or previously incarcerated to survey other parents of incarcerated children towards the development of a National Families Report. CCFY also works directly with youth in the juvenile justice system to reconnect to their dreams and to overcome barriers to personal, academic, and professional success.

CCFY believes that community residents must be informed about how the justice system works and that the juvenile system must be accountable to the local community. With this goal, the organization educates and mobilizes neighborhood residents, parents, youth, service providers and policy makers.

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