Recently, Isles Youth Institute launched Trenton’s first Youth Council in partnership with the New Jersey Social Justice Institute (NJSJI). The Youth Council works on issues of social justice that affect young adults, with a goal to bring healing, resilience, and restorative justice practices to Trenton and the state. Students meet bi-monthly with NJSJI and community leaders to learn how to become advocates and in turn, educate community leaders and others on issues that affect them. 

Currently, the Youth Council is working with NJSJI to promote alternative solutions to youth detention centers, including mental health services, housing programs, mentoring, and other resources to help youth turn their lives around. As IYI student Naptali Adams says, “I like the work NJSJI is doing for the communities and how they are taking youth prisons out of communities and using that same money to help us get the resources we need.”

Students supported the NJSJI Rally for Youth Justice Reform earlier this month, and are connecting with youth councils in Newark and Camden to grow with impact. They continue to look for opportunities to attend community meetings, participate on panels, and advocate for the Trenton they wish to see.