Meet the Moment: AFJ's Fall Fundraising Campaign

Thanks to our AFJ family we raised over $200,000 for our #MeetTheMoment fall fundraiser!




Photos by Marty Umans (@humansbyumans)

“AFJ has been a very good support system to my family and me. AFJ made sure we all had food and supplies especially when there was barely anything in the store. I really appreciate the help especially during this pandemic.”




For more than 40 years, Avenues for Justice (AFJ) has supported youth and young adults in New York City, keeping them out of prison and providing them with court advocacy, tutoring and mentorship, mental health support and job training. During the past four decades we’ve seen it all – economic highs and lows, the changing faces of many NYC neighborhoods from gentrification, and generations of New Yorkers impacted by an unjust criminal justice system.

In 2020, our city and our nation was faced with a fight against the coronavirus as well as against systemic racism in our criminal justice system. Once again, we were reminded that many communities encounter policing that does not result in their safety and protection, but instead focuses on the punitive.


AFJ has known for years that young adults need tools, support, opportunities and access to fair representation to have a second chance at life, and AFJ provides all of those things. Each year, we serve more than 600 youthful offenders, and 96% of AFJ’s graduates avoid reincarceration three years after their enrollment at AFJ, remaining on a pathway to their dreams.


Since March, when the city closed businesses and we were required to shelter-in-place, AFJ continues to Meet the Moment for the participants in our program. Many of our participants faced unimaginable challenges before the pandemic. With the added challenge of a deadly virus, an economic downturn, a racial reckoning and an inability to share physical space with our participants in person, AFJ took important action that works:


  • We served more than 300 youthful offenders since the pandemic began;
  • We launched NEW jobs programs, equipping our participants to have training and certifications that will put them on a path for employment;
  • We met essential needs, providing groceries and funds for utilities to youth and their families; and
  • We provided laptops and cell phones to program participants, helping them remain connected to AFJ and their caring staff.

To continue this work, we need your help. A gift to AFJ helps us show up for our participants even when we have to be apart. On example of the difference AFJ can make in the life of our youth and young adults is Elise. Elsie faced many challenges while growing up, including family incarceration, addiction, and more. She was left to fend for herself and started selling drugs at age 13. By 16, she was arrested for selling drugs to an undercover detective. Two weeks after this arrest, she found out she was pregnant. Fortunately, Avenues for Justice intervened and she was mandated to our services instead of jail. Her AFJ Court Advocate, Nelson Valentine, proved that people in this world cared about what she did with her life and gave her a long list of requirements, including curfew. Backed by this guidance and support, Elsie earned her high school diploma while juggling a job plus daily participation in AFJ programs. In 2020, she received her Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She joined Avenues for Justice as a Court Advocate in 2010. You can hear from her in her own words here.


Right now, New York needs programs like Avenues for Justice. AFJ has a proven track record of making a difference in the lives of youth and young adults in our City. It’s what we’ve done for the past 40 years, and we will continue to do so for the next 40 years to come.

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Here are some of the ways you can make a difference:



Pays for workshop supplies, such as yoga mats and easels



Covers a participant's transportation for two months


Bronze Sponsor

Funds one month of virtual workshops


Silver Sponsor

Covers one computer for participants to use in our lab


Gold Sponsor

Pays for a youth's year-round participation in our programs


Angel Sponsor

Helps AFJ conduct long-term follow up survey to track quality