Rev. Rubén Austria is the founding Executive Director of Community Connections for Youth, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower grassroots faith and neighborhood organizations to develop effective community driven alternatives to incarceration for youth. As a 2007 Soros Justice Fellow with the W. Haywood Burns Institute, Rev. Austria advocated for the re-direction of funds from incarceration to community-based alternatives for youth. Seeing the need to equip more grassroots faith and community-based organizations to develop effective alternative-to-incarceration programs, he launched Community Connections for Youth in the fall of 2008.
4As Program Manager
Johnathan Bascombe is CCFY’s 4As Program Manager. Johnathan was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At a young age he made some decisions that landed him in places he fights to keep youth out of today. After the tragic loss of his best friend and many others, a desire to do better for himself, and a lengthy jail sentence hanging over his head, Johnathan decided to leave the streets alone and never looked back.
Director of Family Engagement
Jeannette Bocanegra is CCFY’s Director of Family Engagement. She is a dedicated mother of six and a long time resident of the South Bronx. She joined CCFY in 2010 as the lead researcher for a participatory action research project that mobilized the family members of incarcerated youth to collect data on parent experience with the juvenile justice system.
Lamell Carrington is a CCFY 4As Mentor. He is a certified change agent with personal perspectives on how to change the youth today. While adapting a restorative justice model, Lamell looks to use the skills and knowledge he possesses to make a beneficial change in the community.
Demetria J. Frampton
Parent Peer Coach
Demetria Frampton is a newly hired Peer Parent Coach for Community Connections For Youth. Demetria officially joined the organization on March 1,2014. She has been an active parent on a volunteer basis and gained some of her knowledge by going through her own personal experience with her grandchild who introduced her to the program.
Director of Youth Development
Amelia Frank is CCFY’s Director of Youth Development, working with participants in the South Bronx Community Connections initiative. Amelia coordinates mentorship-related development training for Community Coaches and works with site coordinators and Community Coaches to engage youth in strengths based programming.
Parent Peer Coach
Arthur Markland is Parent Peer Coach at CCFY. Arthur is a native of the Bronx and experienced first hand what it is like to have to advocate for fair treatment and special services for families. From 1991 – 2006, Arthur was blessed with a daughter with Down Syndrome. She needed special services from medical and educational systems and both systems were not willing to authorize the needed care.
SBCC Coordinator/Intervention Specialist
Khalid McKenzie is CCFY’s SBCC Coordinator/Intervention Specialist. Born and raised in the South Bronx, Khalid has established himself as a prominent figure in the community. As a credible messenger, his experiences and learnings have allowed him to establish relationships with young people across the borough that is immeasurable.
Deputy Director of Programs
Lisette Nieves started with CCFY as Project Manager for the Community Connections Detention Diversion (CCDD) Program. Through CCDD, Lisette worked with Horizon Juvenile Detention Center staff, as well as a CCFY Parent Peer Coach and Peer Mentor to facilitate creative strategies that divert youth from detention and connects them to CCFY and community resources. She now serves as CCFY’s Deputy Director of Programs.
Jasmine Perez is CCFY’s Training Administrator. Jasmine is a highly motivated, strong, and independent Latina single mother from New York City. She supports CCFY’s Training and Technical Assistance Department by keeping the team on track, scheduling trainings, and managing contracts and billing. Jasmine graduated from City College magna cum laude with a degree in Liberal Studies and a concentration in Human Services.
Mentor/PAR Lead Researcher
Crystalie Romero is a graduate of Community Connections for Youth’s South Bronx Community Connections (SBCC) program. While enrolled in SBCC, she played a leading role in the Youth Leadership Academy at the Betances Community Center, educating other young people about the juvenile justice system.
Parent Peer Coach
Mercedes Reyes is a Parent Peer Coach for CCFY’s Parent Peer Support Program located in Bronx Family Court. She comes with twelve years of experience as a Teacher’s Assistant for the NYC Department of Education’s Special Education Division.
Deputy Director of Training & Technical Assistance
Belinda Ramos is the CCFY Director of Training & Technical Assistance. She joined CCFY’s Training Department in September 2014 and was promoted to Director in May 2016. She comes with a long history of experience in training and curriculum development in the academic research and public policy sector. With a Masters degree in Psychology, she has put her education to use in Children’s Mental Health Research aimed at affecting public policy at statewide and national levels.
Parent Peer Coach
Ms. Beatrice Richardson is one of CCFY’s Parent Peer coaches. Born and raised in the South Bronx, she comes from a family of 9 and is a proud mother of four loving children. Her parents always said, “She was born loving and helpful”. She loves her community, and if she can help she will. Beatrice has been volunteering in her community since she was a youth.
Training Project Manager
Inspired by people who have fought for liberation for themselves and others – Bianca is committed to juvenile justice reform as a means of healing communities, and giving power back to the youth, families and communities that have been impacted by unjust systems.
Parent Support Data Specialist
Born in Long Island City and growing up in the South Bronx, Jennifer saw many of her friends affected by the juvenile justice system. She witnessed the effect the system had on families, friends, and society, and realized that the only way to make a difference was to be a part of the change that needed to happen.
Mentor/PAR Project Manager
Shaniqua West is a frontline staff member/ mentor for United Playaz of New York. She has a passion for working with young people and inspiring them to reach their full potential. Her positive energy and charismatic approach to mentoring is effective and exemplarily.