This month like every year, the Campaign for Youth Justice celebrates Father’s Day, a time to recognize the amazing dads, grandfathers, and other men who have served as role models to so many children.
Dads can play many roles in children’s lives—they can help provide for their well-being, coach them through difficult times, advocate for them when they need extra support, celebrate their accomplishments, and provide the structure and stability that is needed if children fall off track. They even play and roughhouse on demand! In short, dads make a big difference in the lives of children.
This month we’re asking you to make a contribution in honor of fathers everywhere.
A few years ago, CFYJ CEO Marcy Mistrett met two fathers who, back when they were still in high school, were arrested for carjacking. Dwayne Betts, and his friend, Marcus Bullock, just fifteen and sixteen at the time, were tried and sentenced as adults and spent a significant part of their young adulthood incarcerated in adult facilities. Now, years later, both are married and dedicated fathers to their children.
While incarcerated, Dwayne completed high school and began reading and writing poetry and is now a nationally renowned poet and author, a recent graduate of Yale Law School, an advocate for those facing parole and returning home, and member of the CFYJ Board of Directors. Marcus, also a married father of two, is a successful entrepreneur, having started several businesses since he has been home. He is the CEO of Perspectives Premier Contractors (PPC), where he regularly employs other returning citizens, and a technology entrepreneur – he created Flikshop, a mobile app that allows those in prison to connect with their families. Marcus also developed the Flikshop School of Business, classes that he brings to incarcerated youth to help them develop the life skills needed for reentry, he also was recently appointed by the DC Mayor to serve on the board of returning citizens. Both dads are featured at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer to generate support for their re-entry work.
Dwayne and Marcus are not only committed fathers, but serve as mentors to hundreds of others who are returning home and trying to get their lives back on track—a transition that is riddled with challenges. As CFYJ writes in our recently released report, Collateral Consequences, incarcerating youth as adults very often results in long-term mental health issues, lowered employment opportunities, restrictions to further education, and thousands of other barriers to re-socialization.
By supporting CFYJ, you’re supporting spokespeople like Dwayne and Marcus to help mitigate these consequences and keep youth out of the adult criminal justice system altogether.
We often get asked what type of financial support is the most helpful for a nonprofit organization. With so much uncertainty in nonprofit fundraising, a recurring monthly contribution of $50, $25 or even $10 a month (as little as $120 a year!) would help give CFYJ more stable funding from month to month as we seek to invest in people like Dwayne and Marcus who are working to turn the system around.
Your monthly contribution is a perfect way to help sustain our important work – just like so many dads have sustained us throughout our lives.
Please join us as we thank all the fathers and others that support our young people through good times and bad.