CCJ LAUNCHES NEW PROGRAM!
THE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JUSTICE LAUNCHES LEGAL HAND CALL-IN CENTER JANUARY 3, 2022
THE LEGAL HAND CALL-IN CENTER SERVING SCHENECTADY AND ALBANY COUNTIES
THIS INNOVATIVE COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE CENTER FOR COMMUNITY JUSTICE AND LEGAL HAND, INC, OFFERS RESIDENTS OF ALBANY AND SCHENECCTADY COUNTIES FREE LEGAL INFORMATION, RESOURCES, AND REFERRALS FOR A WIDE RANGE OF ISSUES AFFECTING PEOPLE'S LIVES.
AS WITH ALL OUR VOLUNTEER DRIVEN PROGRAMS, THE LEGAL HAND CALL-IN CENTER SERVING SCHENECTADY AND ALBANY COUNTIES RELIES ON NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS. TRAINED VOLUNTEERS STAFF THIS VIRTUAL CALL-IN CENTER BY WORK OUTING OF THEIR HOMES. LEGAL HAND PROVIDES THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO BEGIN THE JOURNEY THAT WILL PREVENT PROBLEMS FROM TURNING INTO LEGAL ISSUES.
VOLUNTEERS WILL RECEIVE A FREE LAPTOP TO USE DURING THEIR VOLUNTEER HOURS AND MUST BE 18 AND LIVE OR WORK IN SCHENECTADY OR ALBANY COUNTIES
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A LEGAL HAND VOLUNTEER?
TO FIND OUT WHEN WE'RE HAVING OUR NEXT VOLUNTEER TRAINING
Second Chance Job Fair A Suceess
CCJ partnered with the Schenectady County Career Center to bring the Second chance Job Fair to town on January 30, 2020. Employers attending included Ellis Hospital, Golub Corporation, Brown Transportation, First Student, TSA, US Census, NYS Department of Taxation and Finance and the NYS Department of Transportation. Seventy job seekers came out to the fair, which was open to the public. Many of the people we work with who are reentering society after incarceration attended the event in the hopes of finding a job. We wish everyone who came out seeking employment the best with their job search.
There are many factors that go into a successful transition back into society, but a decent job is one of the most important factors in that transition.
Schenectady Basketball Star Willy Deane Honored
Annual Breakfast Honors Willy Deane Activism
At CCJ's annual 2019 breakfast at the Turf Tavern in Scotia honored Willy Deane for a lifetime of achievement on and off the court.
A former Schenectady High standout on the State Champion 1998 team, Mr. Deane became an international basketball star, winning several European championships, before retiring. Now Mr. Deane is heading into the next phase of life, having published the children's book called "Love." He's given readings at local area schools and discussed the importance of reading and education with the students.
Deane's been giving back to the community for years. Before he retired Deane would return to Schenectady during the basketball off-season to assist his father, , with a summer basketball program for youth at Jerry Burrell Park in Hamilton Hill. The program gives kids plenty of time to hone their basketball skills on the court, while promoting education and instilling in interest in math, English and other academic subjects.
"We teach through sports," Deane said.
Amazing Talent Showcased at 2019 Raise Your Voice! Vocal Competition
An amazing selection of youth vocalists appeared on Proctor's stage on April 25’th, competing to win the annual Raise Your Voice singing competition. All proceeds from this event benefited CCJ’s CASA of the Capital Region program. CASA has helped thousands of abused and neglected youth find safe, permanent homes.
The quality of our contestants blew away the audience. While our 2017 Raise Your Voice winner Madison VanDenburg gained fame in 2019 with her riveting performance on American Idol, this year's performers were amazing as well.
This year so many of talented young vocalists applied that twice as many performers made it to the audition stage than we’d planned for. At the event, our judges had a difficult time picking the winners because the talent was that good. While we salute all the talented young people who competed on the Proctor's stage, we congratulate Raise Your Voice Winner Caitlin Tizzone, Blake Zardezad who took second and third place finisher Christina Regar.
Every year local luminaries donate their time and energy as judges and emcees and their work underlies Raise Your Voice’s success. This year Dave Ahl and Renee Lussier-Ahl from award winning local country rock band Skeeter Creek emceed the show. Skeeter Creek’s helped other worthy causes and as Dave told us, "Renee and I are honored to emcee at Raise Your Voice. We love to give back to the community especially when it involves kids. We donate a lot of time to organizations like HUGS, Make A Wish and, Families in Need of Assistance. So helping CASA is right in line for us."
CCJ would also like to thank our sponsors: The Times Union, Neal and Jane Golub, Pioneer Bank, Berkshire Hathaway Realtors, Mohawk Honda, Christian Brothers Academy, YMCA, Colonial Car Wash, Mediation Matters, Stewarts, & Adirondack Screen Graphics. With their help we were able to raise thousands of dollars for CASA of the Capital Region that will be used to help abused and neglected kids find safe homes.
2019 Raise Your Voice
Two time Raise Your Voice Winner and American Idol Finalist Madison VanDenburg
2019 Raise your Voice Winner Caitlin Tizzone
2019 Second Place Blake Zardezad
2019 RYV Third Place Christina Regar
Thank you to the makeup artists for donating their time.
You treated our contestants like stars
2019 RYV Emcees Dahl Ahl and Renee Lussier-Ahl
REENTRY Program Works with Area Employers
With help from a United Way grant, CCJ added job placement and job skills training to our Reentry Program in an effort to help individuals with one of the most important and difficult of transitions after returning to society from incarceration, becoming a part of the workforce.
When CCJ began offering job skills training in 2015 for our reentry program with the Schenectady County Reentry Task Force, only a few county task forces had this kind of program. But within a year the State of New York, the funder of the county task force initiative, saw how effective this training was and began requiring job skills training.
Since 2015 CCJ has helped place reentering individuals at firms like Price Chopper, Home Depot, Clynk Recycling, Moonlight Horticulture and restaurants throughout Schenectady County. During 2018 over 25 people completed our job skills training and were hired by local firms.
Bethany Pignatello-Cornier, the Associate Support Department Supervisor for Home Depot in Schenectady has worked with the CCJ Reentry Program for several years. In that time she’s hired about 35 graduates of the CCJ Reentry Program. According to Ms. Pignatello-Cornier, more than two-thirds are still employed by Home Depot, several are now Department Supervisors and two are in the process of training to become Assistant Store Managers.
As the experience of Home Depot and these other Schenectady firms show, individuals reentering society after incarceration can succeed. If you or someone you know has a Reentry success story you’d like to share contact Tstaples@theccj.org by email or call us at 518-346-1281 and ask for the Reentry Program.
Reentry Employer Breakfast hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Society Church in Schenectady
The Center for Community Justice and it's Reentry Program held it's first annual Employer Breakfast in 2015. The breakfast was hosted by our friends at the First Unitarian Society Church in Schenectady. Volunteers from the church provided a delicious breakfast which was enjoyed by all. Several employers from different industries came to learn the benefits of hiring returning citizens. Guest speakers from the NYS Department of Labor, the One-Stop Center and the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision all came together to provide information and answer questions.
Tim Staples at Re-entry Breakfast