PUBLISHED: The Ecological Resilience Framework: The Justice Ambassadors Youth Council as a model for community-based resilience
August 31, 2023
CfJ's Geraldine Downey, Jarrell Daniels, UniQue C. Starks, and other collaborators publish article in Cambridge University Press about our Justice Ambassadors Youth Council program
We present an ‘Ecological Resilience Framework’ (ERF) to demonstrate how resilience is created through the Justice Ambassadors Youth Council (JAYC) program. JAYC is a platform in which New York government representatives collaboratively learn and develop policy solutions alongside emerging adults who are criminal legal system impacted and reside in predominantly Black and Hispanic communities characterized by chronically high levels of poverty, violence, and incarceration. We focus our work on the process of developing resilience in the context of structural social inequity and injustice. We argue that resilience can best be understood in the context of the adversity to which it is a response, not as an isolated individual quality. Therefore, resilience science is at its best when it incorporates a multi-disciplinary scientific perspective, one that addresses a continuum from individual- to community- to society-level physical, cognitive, relationship, and mental health variables. To demonstrate how our ERF incorporates this approach, we outline how JAYC not only supports young adult participants in understanding their individual life trajectories and narrative identity, but also actively connects them within a diverse social network of mentors and to various opportunities that support a healthy transition to adult resilience.