The 4As (ARCHES Alumni Academy for Advancement) program is a youth leadership initiative for youth, who by virtue of their prior experience with the justice system and their desire to give back to their communities are “credible messengers” for their peers and for younger youth. The 4As initiative features an intensive leadership development curriculum where participants who have completed programs like ARCHES can further develop their leadership and mentoring skills. Participants meet twice a week for intensive training on topics ranging from public speaking and group facilitation skills, to system analysis and social justice. Participants earn a stipend for attending the program, and complete a final project demonstrating their leadership ability. Graduates of the 4As program serve on a Leadership Council through which they plan program activities, advise on juvenile/criminal justice policy, and speak to other youth at schools, detention centers, and community-based programs.
The 4As program also includes a General Council, an open pro-social space for all 4A’s participants and the broader community of court-involved and disconnected youth. The General Council meets weekly and is led by Leadership Council members. The General Council provides an opportunity for youth to socialize, fellowship, and grow. A hot meal and metrocards are provided to all attendees. The General Council meets Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Fontana Center – 27 Christopher Street, New York, NY 10014, Conference Room B.