HIRE UP: Jamal's Story

AFJ’s New HIRE UP Partnership for Businesses: How to Join

Jamal grew up in Harlem and was getting good grades in college when he was arrested for stealing a bag from a man.  The court wanted to incarcerate him for up to 15 years for the charge.

Avenues for Justice’s Senior Court Advocate, Nelson, advocated before the judge that with support, Jamal could change.  It was a battle that continued for three years, but with each promising progress report to the courts, AFJ convinced the judge to send Jamal to our services instead of prison. 

Jamal needed AFJ’s support. He was one of 7 children living in a small apartment. His mother wanted him to continue stealing and forced him to quit college. But  Jamal still came to AFJ’s Harlem Center everyday for mentoring, workshops and to learn how to use computers. 

Nelson quickly found an internship for Jamal at a leading media corporation. Jamal put his love of computers to use and the company created a full-time position for him as Facilities Associate. 

Understanding that Jamal’s chaotic home situation still posed a problem, Nelson encouraged him to temporarily go to a shelter until AFJ could help him secure permanent housing. Then in December 2019, the well-deserved miracle came through for Jamal.  The media company’s renowned Chairman awarded a major bonus to Jamal so he could get an apartment and buy furniture.

Star in AFJ's Digital Literacy Class: This summer, Jamal enrolled in AFJ’s new online Digital Literacy class and has already received certification in 2 of the 8 basic courses - his first test score was a stunning 98! He plans to continue with up to 70  computer classes AFJ offers.

Second Chances Work: This is a youth that the system wanted to incarcerate. Instead, AFJ made sure he had a second chance. Today he has a wonderful job, a stable home, and a future full of possibilities. No prison sentence could do that.   

Change a Life - How to Join AFJ’s New HIRE UP Partnership for Businesses:

Step 1 - Mentor our young adults:  Your staff can mentor via virtual conferencing platforms or by phone to describe their positions, their work life, answer questions, and help prepare our participants for a world of employment that’s been out of reach, via resume writing, mock interviews and skill development.

Step 2 - Internships:  AFJ will work with your company to create an internship agreement for the hours your organization needs, including work stipends

Step 3 - HIRE UP!  We hope that by getting to know our participants and assisting them in building awareness and skills that they could be hired for a full, or part-time job while receiving program support from Avenues for Justice and your company mentors.

SIGN UP FOR HIRE UP:  If you have a potential opportunity for one of our participants, or would like to learn more about our employment placement needs, please email our Manager of Court Advocacy, Gamal Willis at gwillis@avenuesforjustice.org.

We look forward to partnering with you!