NY is one of two states that automatically treats 16 year olds like adults in the criminal justice system. Drive Change was founded because when young people leave jail and prison with felonies, rather than juvenile adjudications, they face immense barriers to employment/educational options. Adult jail/prison is punitive not restorative; young people returning home look out into the world and see a road ahead paved with red lights, stop signs and dead-ends, the external barriers build internal walls that erode self-confidence. Inside the racist, classist, dehumanizing walls of adult jail and prison exist young people with talent, creativity, intelligence and ambition. The spirit of system-impacted-youth must not be snuffed by the system. Drive Change addresses the external barriers to re-entry and infuses a sense of self-worth back into the spirit of young people coming home so that they can take ownership over their future.
Drive Change utilizes the food truck workplace to run a 1 year Fellowship for young people coming home from jail and prison. Our mission is to use the food truck industry to broaden access to opportunity so young people can obtain preferred employment/educational options for their futures.
During the Fellowship, Drive Change enrolls 16 Fellows per year. Fellows are with us for 35+ per week and are paid 11$/hr. For 16 hrs per wk Fellows are work/learning in our kitchen-classroom prepping our award winning farm-fresh menu from scratch; for 16 hrs per wk Fellows are work/learning on our food truck during food service; for an additional 5-6 hrs per wk Fellows are paid to participate in Professional Development courses teaching industry related skills (social media, marketing, hospitality, culinary arts, POS money management/pricing) and essential skills (communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, etc.)
The Drive Change Fellowship builds skills, confidence, and community through:
1. Paid, transitional, quality employment experience.
2. Concrete and transferable skills and credentials.
3. Using food service as a tool for community building and advocacy.
Drive Change is registered as a nonprofit in the State of New York and is fiscally sponsored by the Vera Institute of Justice. Tax-deductible contributions may be made online by visiting: http://drivechangenyc.org/donatetodrivechange/