Founded in 2012, Young New Yorkers’ restorative art diversion programs allow young people to exit the criminal legal system, have their cases dismissed and sealed, and avoid a life-long criminal record. 

In addition, our graduate programs offer long-term opportunities for young people to transform the criminal justice system through advocacy forums, public art exhibitions, and other events. These events often take place in courtrooms where participants can engage criminal justice professionals and leaders and advocate for a more humane criminal legal system.


In ten years we have successfully diverted more than 1,400 young people away from jail and other sanctions. Today, we remain the only citywide provider of arts-based diversion programs. 




Our Mission

To transform the criminal legal system through the creative voices of young New Yorkers.

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YNY’s court-mandated programs are developmentally appropriate restorative sentencing options, allowing court-involved young people to avoid jail time and other sanctions.


Upon completing a YNY program, a young person’s criminal case is dismissed and sealed, so that they avoid a lifelong criminal record whose collateral consequences can be devastating.


Acknowledging that people of color are disproportionately arrested and more harshly sentenced, YNY applies a racial justice framework to our curricula and all levels of operations.





Rachel Barnard, architecture student at Columbia University, is awarded the Percival & Naomi Goodman Fellowship, a $20,000 annual prize given to a project of "social significance." Rachel's idea—to work at the intersection of art and the criminal legal system

—eventually becomes Young New Yorkers.


First programs launched in August, an 8-week diversion program implemented in Brooklyn with the help of the Actor’s Fund.  The first programs are funded by an art auction featuring the work of street artists, many of whom had themselves been arrested.


Brooklyn Defender Services becomes the fiscal sponsor for YNY.


 First art exhibition in a courtroom, at the Brownsville Department of Probation.  White roses spell out the word “Trust,” as YNY participants put together an exhibition on the theme of gun violence.  The same year, YNY produces an ongoing art exhibition in a Brooklyn courtroom, with the support of Judge George Grasso.


In September, Young New Yorkers incorporates as a non-profit organization, and YNY creates its board of trustees.


 In response to community needs and requests from legal partners, YNY launches its first all-women's restorative arts diversion program.


Raise The Age legislation in New York State raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18.  Young people who are arrested at age 16 and 17 are now seen in Family Court, and YNY takes its first referrals from that age group.


The Manhattan District Attorney launches Project Reset, which allows young people arrested for misdemeanors to be immediately referred to a diversion program instead of being booked and arraigned, thus reducing a young person’s exposure to the criminal legal system.  YNY is named one of the three providers of programming for the project.


In March, with the onset of the covid pandemic, YNY pivots to become an entirely virtual organization so it can continue to serve young people.  Program participants partner with MoMA PS1 and SHoP Architects to present a virtual art exhibition.


In July, the first class of YNY Fellows named; these 12 graduates of YNY diversion programs work on leadership, advocacy, art, and systems change.


 YNY exits fiscal sponsorship and becomes a financially independent organization.


In November, after a successful ten years, Rachel Barnard steps down as executive director to focus on advising the organization during its transition to a new executive director. YNY now serves 400 young people every year.


YNY appoints Executive Director Bobbie Brown.

Bobbie brings over 10 years of experience in community development, criminal justice, and education, including her recent role as the Associate Director of Community Partnerships for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. 



Young New Yorkers not only changes the lives of the young people who get involved in the criminal legal system by offering them a second chance, but they also give a fresh perspective to those prosecuting cases involving these young people. We need community programs like Young New Yorkers that can foster these relationships especially in a time where there is public mistrust in the justice system.

-Shakiva Pierre, Esq Director Of Adolescent Diversion Kings County District Attorney's Office



Young New Yorkers is immensely grateful for the generous support of our foundation, government, and corporate partners, and individuals like you! 

  • Cindy and Devin Wenig

  • Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice

  • The New York City Council

  • The Pinkerton Foundation

  • SparkYouth NYC

  • Brooklyn Community Foundation

  • NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

  • Affirmation Arts Fund of the William Talbott Hillman Foundation

  • Bloomberg Philanthropies

  • Camilla Velasquez

  • James Morrill

  • Lilah Hilliard Fisher Foundation

  • Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation

  • Malka Fund

  • May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc.

  • Ben and Susan Baxt

  • David Zwirner

  • Janel Anderberg Callon

  • Peter Lyons

  • Stephen Henderson and James LaForce

  • Paulo Ribeiro and Walter Cain

  • William Fitzgerald

  • Bellatrix Hubert

  • Cathleen Bacich and Edwin Schallert

  • Carri Twigg

  • Christine Pitte

  • Coren Sharples

  • Darren Reed

  • David Rivel and Laura Ensler

  • Deborah Berke

  • Grace Greenwald Foundation

  • JD Weinberg

  • Jean J Pfeifer

  • Jill Hanekamp

  • Joan Rosenbaum

  • Joe Lallouz

  • Mary McLoud

  • Zach Halberg

  • Melissa Marsh

  • Neena Sheth

  • Maryanne Paul

  • Mel Peralta

  • Michael Seckler

  • Pamela Sloan

  • Pam Weisz

  • Prerana Reddy

  • Rafael Docavo and Mansura Khanam

  • Rebecca Lorenz

  • Richard T. Wolf

  • Ronald Scheider

  • Samantha Anderson

  • Sara Gentzler

  • Suzanne Butler

  • Sunil Oommen



Board Members

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Camilla Velasquez, Chair
Senior Vice President, GM New York Times Cooking

Camilla Velasquez is the SVP, GM of New York Times Cooking, a digital cookbook and cooking guide that helps home cooks of every level discover, save and organize the world’s best recipes. Prior to The New York Times, Camilla served as SVP of Product at Justworks, the fastest growing HR technology company that supports entrepreneurs, small businesses, non-profits, and their employees with the tools and benefits they need to grow.  Camilla previously worked at Etsy, where she was the Director of Payment Products and MultiChannel Sales, and learned first hand the healing and economic power of the arts. Before Etsy, she was a Director of New Product Development at American Express, and ran a fashion business. Camilla has been an avid supporter of YNY through the years and became the chair of the board of trustees in 2021. She also serves on the Board of Camilla holds BAs in Economics and Spanish from Cornell University and lives in Brooklyn with her amazing husband and two sons.

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Maryanne Paul, Secretary
Senior Counsel, Tetragon Financial Group

Maryanne Paul has been a trustee of Young New Yorkers since 2019. Maryanne is senior counsel at Tetragon Financial Group Limited. Prior to joining Tetragon, she was a senior associate in the New York office of Sullivan & Cromwell and an associate at Minter Ellison in Sydney, Australia. Maryanne has a master of laws (LL.M.) degree from Columbia University, where she was a James Kent Scholar and recipient of the Walter Gellhorn Prize for highest GPA in the LL.M. class.  She also has a BA/LL.B. (Hons) degree from Macquarie University, Sydney. She is admitted to the New York bar, the Supreme Court of NSW, and the High Court of Australia. Maryanne also serves as a trustee for the Evander Conroy Foundation and was previously an associate board member of Bottom Line.

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Paulo Ribeiro, Treasurer
Credit Analyst, Natixis

Paulo Ribeiro moved from Brazil to the US to attend Cornell University. After completing his MBA, Paulo moved to NYC where he works in finance, most recently at BMO Capital Markets as an equity research analyst and at Natixis/BPCE as a Portfolio Manager. Paulo splits his time between NYC and Governador Celso Ramos, Santa Catarina. He also serves on the Board of the Brazilian Foundation which mobilizes resources for ideas and actions that transform Brazil.


James Morrill
Chief Financial Officer at David Zwirner

James Morrill is the global CFO of David Zwirner overseeing all financial operations for locations in New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong, and soon Los Angeles. He graduated from Wake Forest in 2005 with a B.A. in Art History and received his EMBA from Columbia University in 2019. In addition to working at David Zwirner, James co-owned a small contemporary art space called Rawson Projects from 2010 to 2016 and is also a member of the Wake Forest 60th Anniversary Student buying trip/collection Steering Committee. 

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Mel Peralta
Vice-President, Global Concepts, Foot Locker

Mel Peralta, VP of Concepts, for atmos is a born and raised New Yorker, originally hailing from the Bronx (BX, Stand Up!). Mel comes to atmos with over 15 years of experience in the retail and brand space. Prior to joining atmos, Mel proudly launched & led Foot Locker Inc’s energy team & incubator, Greenhouse.


Prior to that, he led collaborations for Timberland as their Global Lifestyle Manager while also being a founding partner at the boutique strategy collective, Stadium Status Group. With SSG, Mel worked with creators and companies ranging from Moschino to Nickelodeon, Kith, Starbucks, Viacom, and beyond. Prior to that, Mel was co-owner of FLuD Watches, a lifestyle accessories brand focused primarily on watches, jewelry, and other accessories. FLuD was one of the very few independently owned watch companies in the marketplace for most of its’ lifespan and went on to garner success within streetwear, with celebrities and creators in the worlds of Music, Fashion, Art, & Sports being great supporters of the brand. 

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Shane Rogers
Clerk to Judge George Daniels, Southern District

Shane Rogers is from Newburgh, NY, and currently clerks for the Honorable George B. Daniels on The United States Southern District Court of New York.  Previously he was an associate at the law firm, Covington & Burling in their Washington, DC office.  Aside from his cyber/data/privacy legal practice, while at the law firm Shane had a robust and committed pro bono practice where he represented incarcerated people, investigated a police department for misconduct, and assisted in challenging the confederate names of a high school and middle school in Virginia. While in law school, Shane externed at the Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Coons and spent time working for the NFL. Shane received his BA in government and philosophy from Colby College in 2015, where he played basketball and was a part of Student Government. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 2019 where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and served as an Articles Editor for the Columbia Journal of Race and Law. Shane also published his student note on the potential injustices in the current Sixth Amendment right to counsel jurisprudence. 

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Joan Rosenbaum
Former Executive Director, The Jewish Museum and arts management consultant

Joan Rosenbaum worked in and with museums for her entire career. Joan has held positions including Curatorial Assistant at MoMA, Director of Museum Funding for New York

State Council on the Arts, and served 30 years as Director of The Jewish Museum. Recently, Joan

has worked as a general arts management consultant including managing The Malka

Fund. Joan Serves on the Board of Artis and maintains memberships in The Century

Association and the Association of Art Museum Directors.

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Cindy Wenig
Former Partner, Chadbourne and Parke

Cindy is a former corporate attorney who pivoted her career to focus on criminal justice advocacy and philanthropy through the Wenig Family Charitable Fund. She served as General Counsel of Apollo Real Estate Advisors and previously was a partner at the law firm Chadbourne & Parke. Past volunteer endeavors have included serving as pro bono counsel in the rebuilding of The World Trade Center and the development of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. She is a recipient of the Lawyers Alliance of New York's Cornerstone Award for excellence in pro bono work. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of Young New Yorkers and the Prison Journalism Project, Cindy is an advisor to, a free prison communications platform. Cindy graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and received her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

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"YNY has a resilient approach to art-based diversion
work. After all, art is a form of cultural communication, a way for us to teach
young folks how to bend their voices to amplify their experiences and to be
seen within their full spectrum. YNY taps into the vulnerability of art making
and pressurizes it with the challenges of a criminal justice record, to help
young people learn through their mistakes.”

Bobbie Brown
Executive Director

Bobbie brings over ten years of experience in community development, criminal justice, and education, including her recent role as the Assistant Corporation Counsel for the New York Law Department.  Previously, Bobbie served as the Associate Director of Community Partnerships for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, where she successfully created and launched a web-based resource directory of community-based- alternatives and partners.  She was also responsible for developing various youth and community-oriented crime-prevention initiatives that incorporated technology, art, athletics, and entrepreneurship,  under the lens of social justice and criminal justice reform principles.

Ms. Brown was the Education Director for the Harlem Children’s Zone- Countee Cullen Community Center, where she launched a stipend-based pipeline peer tutoring program to help increase the participation of Black and Latino youth in after-school programming. She has also held directorial positions with Brooklyn College, the New York City Department of Education, and the charter school network, Success Academy. She holds a B.A. from Johnson C. Smith University, an M.A. in Government and Politics from St. John's University, and a J.D. from the CUNY School of Law.  Ms. Brown is also an artist.

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“Young New Yorkers treats every young person like the brilliant, creative, and complex human beings they are.”

Jarvis Idowu
Senior Program Advisor

Jarvis Idowu is a highly experienced criminal justice reform advocate with a focus on the development and implementation of prosecutorial reform throughout the United States. As a former prosecutor, having investigated and litigated criminal cases in New York City and product of the New York City group home and foster care system, Jarvis has a unique and powerful perspective on what it takes to bring innovation to the field of criminal prosecution. At the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Jarvis won a Big Idea Award for drafting a policy that ended Manhattan’s prosecution of fare evasion cases. Jarvis went on to serve as the Director of Programming and Deputy Executive Director at a national non-profit organization, Prosecutor Impact, where he helped develop and lead the country’s first prosecutor-focused reform initiative and helped the organization bring that work to more than a dozen jurisdictions around the country.


Jarvis is a New Leadership Council fellow, has served as a criminal justice policy advisor on both national and local political campaigns, and has contributed to several publications on the subject of prosecutorial reform. Jarvis is passionate about helping prosecutors redefine what it means to be successful by targeting the cultural, institutional, and systemic barriers to progress.

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"Young New Yorkers works on two levels. First, YNY diversion programs provide a space for people to begin to heal from the traumas associated with being surveilled, policed, and arrested so that they can have access to more choices in the future. Second, YNY public art projects provide an opportunity for members of the criminal legal system to heal the very system that perpetuates those traumas, to begin with."

Ash Martin
Operations and Finance Manager

Ash Martin, LMSW, is a psychotherapist at Blanton Peale Counseling Center and a trauma therapist at the NIP’s EMDR Trauma Treatment Center. Her clinical interests include intimacy and relationships, gender-expansive identities, vectors of oppression and power, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of experience, and trauma-informed professional spaces. 


Ash has over 10 years of experience running operations and facilitating programs in arts-based nonprofits. Since 2014 she has worked every beat at Young New Yorkers and is proud to have grown with the organization as it evolved from a grassroots startup to a robust, city-wide mainstay. 


Ash earned her Master of Social Work at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and her BA in writing at Eugene Lang College at The New School. Prior to joining YNY, she served as the assistant editor at Brooklyn-based literary magazine A Public Space. A multidisciplinary artist, Ash is excited about: exploring the limitless possibilities of the five-string banjo; designing stylish garments that solve functional problems; and composing comical psychoanalytic essays in her head as she walks endlessly through the five boroughs. 

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“I am inspired by YNY's commitment to meeting people where they are.”

Sarah Paller
Executive/Program Assistant

Sarah was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and is a passionate advocate of the power of art as a catalyst for social justice and healing. She graduated with a BA in Art History with a minor in Spanish from Carleton College in 2018. Sarah focused her studies on social practice art, community engagement in art spaces, and the intersection of art and social justice.

Sarah has professional experience working in various art contexts such as museums, galleries, and nonprofits, all of which have been opportunities to support individuals to have meaningful experiences with art.

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Azeya Webb
Teaching Artist

Azeya Webb (Izzy) is a Canadian-born Brooklyn resident with a Bachelor of Science in the field of psychology from St. John Fisher College. She is a former teacher and full-time painter who strongly believes in the restorative and therapeutic components of art.


Izzy combines all of her passions into one to help students identify their strengths and goals, express their identities and show their ideal society through their artwork.

Mansura Khanam
Graduate Program Lead

Mansura Khanam is Bangladeshi-born, Brooklyn- and Jersey City-raised documentary photographer and teacher. Her work focuses on women and incarceration, and the human condition. She studied History and Africana Studies at Rutgers University and International Affairs at the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School.


Mansura completed her human rights practicum for her Masters in Hong Kong, where she led cases involving women and children going through the UNHCR refugee status determination process. She then pursued a certificate in Documentary Photography from the International Center of Photography in New York.

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“YNY provides young people with the space to examine their unique experiences in a loving environment, real transformation and healing can occur.”

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“I believe in YNY. I believe art can heal us all. I believe in YNY's ability to continue to work with our youth and transform the criminal legal system and make a true impact on their lives. We all deserve a chance, we all deserve to be seen and heard and YNY's is just that!”

Ash Rucker
Teaching Artist

Ash is a trained yoga instructor, meditation teacher, movement educator, and the founder of TherapART - a 501c3 not-for-profit organization that amplifies unheard voices and creates safe spaces through art and creative expression. 


Ash’s own lived experiences with a sibling suffering from drug addiction prompted her journey to self-discovery. Through dance and movement, she found healing and freedom. Her work focuses on free-form movement and meditation as a way to heal the body, mind, and soul. Ash now brings these practices to both corporate and non-profit environments such as The Class, Soho House, Good Move, Young New Yorkers, and Neon Summer teaching meditation, movement, and art therapy.


"At Young New Yorkers the young people mandated to our programs step up and use art to advocate not only for themselves but for meaningful change of the system."

Rachel Barnard
Founder, Teaching Artist

Rachel G. Barnard is a Brooklyn resident and social practice artist. Barnard’s practice brings together large groups of diverse communities to create new spaces of justice. Since 2012 she has developed strong relationships with multiple criminal legal agencies, making YNY a go-to sentencing option for young people. Rachel is the NYC Public Artist in Residence with the Department of Probation, a fellow at A Blade of Grass, and a 2019 recipient of the League Prize. She holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Queensland.

“I believe in YNY's ability to impact the lives of young people by making them feel seen and heard.”




Phone:     718.841.9423

Location:  30 3rd Avenue, Suite                            103 Brooklyn, NY 11217

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