Home Our Work Youth Justice Leadership Institute: Building a Movement 2018-19 Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellows

2018-19 Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellows

The Youth Justice Leadership Institute is now in its eigth year, and we’re thrilled to introduce our newest cohort of fellows. They come from all over the country and are working on an exciting array of issues in juvenile justice reform. We know they’re set to accomplish great things for youth in trouble with the law—please join us in welcoming them.

Bios and Advocacy Projects

Travis Andrews | Redmond, WA

Travis Andrews is a juvenile justice policy analyst in the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services (CLS). Travis started at CLS in 2016 working to address youth isolation in adult facilities in King County. He serves on the equity team and provides equity and diversity training and mentorship to legal aid organizations. Travis specializes in community engagement and investigations and is currently working to bring restorative practices to Washington’s penal system. He studied sociology, psychology and criminal justice at Voorhees College where he earned his bachelor's degree. He also received a master certification in paralegal studies from Emory University. Before his employment with CLS, he worked in youth justice policy advocacy, organizing and community engagement, and for the state of Georgia.

Advocacy Project Summary - Launch a countywide youth justice campaign that highlights the harms youth and communities face resulting from state and county policies, with the intent of changing policies and practices related to how youth charged with crimes are treated in King County.

Latashia Crenshaw | Pearland, TX

Latashia Crenshaw is the director of education support services for Harris County Juvenile Probation. In her role, Latashia supervises educational advocates who provide assistance to families of youth involved in the youth justice setting, educators, juvenile probation officers, and service providers on issues concerning federal and state education and civil rights laws, intervention & referral services, school health services, discipline, and best practices. Latashia has worked in the education field since 1998 and has served as a classroom teacher, assessment specialist, special education consultant, and educational advocate. Latashia frequently gives lectures to professional groups and parents on basic rights in education, IEP development, IDEA/Section 504/ADA, discipline, positive behavior supports, and culturally relevant practices. She is co-authored “Special Education Issues for Incarcerated Youth” published by the State Bar of Texas. Latashia obtained a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies and a Master of Education in special education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Latashia is a Certified Family Law Mediator and has completed hundreds of continuing education hours in the areas of disability rights and conflict resolution.

Advocacy Project Summary - Create a Texas Youth Reentry Education Task Force to study successful programs and policies and develop a strategy for effective educational transition planning, educational record transfer, credit calculation, and immediate enrollment.

LaTasha DeLoach | Iowa City, IA

LaTasha DeLoach holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Iowa School of Social Work. In her position of community projects specialist at Johnson County Social Services, she is the Johnson County Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) coordinator and the Community Partnerships for Protecting Children coordinator. LaTasha advocates for families and is a fierce advocate for women and young women of color in Iowa. She has been a member of many local and statewide boards and committees including the University of Iowa's School of Social Work Professional Advisory Committee, State DMC Subcommittee, Iowa Girls Justice Initiative Taskforce, SMART on Juvenile Justice Leadership Team, City of Iowa City Council’s Ad Hoc Diversity Committee, and City of Iowa City Roundtable Discussions. LaTasha is a certified facilitator for Girls’ Circle, the Council for Young Men and Boys, and Family Team Meetings. She is a trainer and facilitator for the Iowa Department of Human Services Race: Power of an Illusion program. She is the co-founder of several organizations and programs for women and girls of color, including G! World, Sisters in Power, and Sankofa Outreach Connection, an emerging local organization with over 300 women of color members. LaTasha was also vice president of the Iowa City Community School District Board of Directors.

Advocacy Project Summary - End statutory exclusion in Iowa, ban the placement of youth in adult facilities, and expand gender responsive and culturally relevant community-based programming for youth.

Kenya Lee | New York, NY

Kenya Lee is the acting director of education for the NYC Department of Probation where she is responsible for developing resources, relationships and opportunities to advance educational outcomes of individuals sentenced to probation supervision within the agency. Her primary focus is advancing policies and programs targeted at 16-24 year olds. Prior to this role, Kenya served at the NYC Department of Probation as assistant director of external affairs focusing on legislation and intergovernmental affairs. In this capacity, she co-authored and successfully advocated for the passage of legislation that empowered local judges with the discretion to sentence individuals to lesser terms of probation than the previous mandatory minimum of five years for a felony and three years for a misdemeanor. Kenya is a committed public servant who has served her community at the city, state, and federal levels of government. She began her public service in government as an intern on Capitol Hill for long time Harlem Congressman Charles B. Rangel in 2009. During this time she worked on criminal justice issues including legislative proposals to reform crack cocaine sentencing laws and voter disenfranchisement policies. Following this internship Kenya became a Drum Major Institute Scholar and a New Leader at the Center for Progressive Leadership in Washington, D.C. where she developed her socio-political organizing skills. In 2011, Kenya returned to her home in East Harlem to serve the community as the legislative aide in the office of New York State Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez. Kenya is a graduate of Hamilton College with a bachelor of arts in government.

Advocacy Project Summary - Increase educational outcomes of youth under probation supervision by equipping probation officers and staff with the tools needed to identify educational challenges, increase access to educational services, and develop training resources.

Maria León | Bryan, TX

Maria León is a doctoral student in Youth Development in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University. She attended Baylor University for her bachelor's degree and recently completed her master's degree at Texas A&M University. Maria is originally from Los Angeles, California, where she grew up on a summer camp that served system-involved youth and their families throughout the LA area. After leaving California for school, Maria has worked directly with youth in faith-based programs, youth justice, athletics, and camp settings in Texas and Colorado. Maria’s research involves youth in the youth justice system and their involvement in leisure and recreation activities. Her thesis work examined the minimum standards for recreation in youth justice facilities in each state. Maria has also worked with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department facilities to create recreation programs and events for youth in placement that promote positive youth development and healthy transitions back home. She is passionate about developing creative and collaborative approaches to provide youth equitable opportunities.

Advocacy Project Summary - Create Brazos County Juvenile Probation Youth Task Force to leverage youth voice to identify and develop strategies to reduce youth crime in Brazos County.

Arturo Quiros | Los Angeles, CA

Arturo Quiros is a teaching artist and musical director at Street Poets Inc. Arturo was born and grew up in under-served communities of color in Los Angeles, California and experienced violence and trauma as a young person. At the age of 18, he was incarcerated and served time in a correctional facility. During his incarceration, he reflected upon the choices he had made out of necessity which lead him into incarceration and began educating himself on restorative justice, writing, history and worlwide indigenous healing practices. Arturo has served on staff as a producer, teacher and mentor for the peace-building nonprofit Street Poets Inc for over 10 years. He has helped produce 10 music and poetry compilations that document songs and stories from young people in his community. Arturo now mentors young people in youth justice facilities and schools across Los Angeles. He creates safe spaces for people to process pain and trauma and supports them in connecting with their authentic selves. Arturo has traveled to Belize, Mexico, Japan and Sweden sharing his story, performing and conducting music and writing workshops.

Advocacy Project Summary - Create a leadership development program for young people that will inform, empower, and support them as youth justice advocates and leaders.

Courtney Warren | Fort Washington, MD

Courtney Warren is a policy analyst for the Council of State Governments Justice Center where she provides technical assistance to states and localities receiving funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to improve outcomes in their juvenile justice systems. Before joining the CSG Justice Center, she worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts, Public Safety Performance Project, where she supported states interested in transforming their juvenile justice systems by reducing incarceration. Courtney has also worked in the Office of the Governor of Virginia as a fellow in the Secretariat of Public Safety and Homeland Security and as a policy analyst at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). While at DJJ, Courtney helped manage the Classrooms Not Courtrooms initiative, which was developed to address the school-to-prison pipeline and eliminate racial disparities in school discipline. She received a BA in economics from Spelman College and an MPP from the University of Virginia, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy. 

Advocacy Project Summary - To increase treatment and reentry services for youth in confinement with co-occurring substance abuse problems and mental health disorders who are returning to the community from incarceration.

Sheba Williams | Richmond, VA

Sheba Williams was born and raised in Richmond, VA, where she currently resides with her 3 children and long time partner, Antoine Joseph. Sheba has obtained her bachelor's degree in business management, her professional licenses in cosmetology and barbering, and her master barber instructor's license. She returned to her hometown of Richmond, VA in 2012 and began working exclusively as a mobile barber stylist, traveling to clients anywhere from Maryland to North Carolina. Meeting and knowing so many people from different walks of life and being actively involved in so many community service projects, Sheba found that more people than she realized had at least one thing in common with her... a felony conviction. Her passion for helping others move beyond a felony conviction led to her starting the nonprofit organization, Nolef Turns Inc. in 2016. The organization is a support system for those with previous justice involvement and assists with helping people find jobs, become entrepreneurs, and start businesses -- creating strong, economically stable communities. Sheba believes it's a daily fight to prove to others that a felony conviction does not eliminate all positive potential in a person. Through her nonprofit, Sheba began speaking in youth detention centers and began to work closely with at-risk youth and children with incarcerated parents. Sheba has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and began working at United Methodist Family Services, partnering with the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide diversion services for youth with court involvement. Sheba says a collaborative effort with community members and organizations is instrumental to reforming youth justice systems.

Advocacy Project Summary - To reduce the number of youth entering and/or returning to the youth justice system by connecting them to adults with prior justice involment.  Sheba will oversee mentoring services and cosmetology and barbering training for youth as a part of her project.

Lenore Wyant | Chambersburg, PA

Lenore Wyant is the Disproportionate Minority Contact Coordinator for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania native, Lenore, has dedicated much of her professional career advocating for children and families in communities across the Commonwealth. Lenore holds a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in criminal justice and is Level III Program Analyst in the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s, Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Department. Lenore’s work history includes nursing home social work, community based foster care supervision, domestic relations officer and as a treatment supervisor and lead counselor for individuals with sex offenses or who have set fires in secure residential treatment. Additionally, Lenore worked as the health initiatives director for the South Central Division of the American Cancer Society supporting mission implementation and working hands-on with individuals and families who have experienced a cancer diagnosis. She has served as the director of training and technical assistance for two federally-funded, state implemented grant programs; Title IV-E Independent Living for youth aging out of the foster care system and for Communities That Care, an evidence-based program that uses the Social Development Strategy, which focuses on strengthening protective factors that can buffer young people from problem behaviors and promote positive youth development, as their principle strategy. Lenore is committed to informing and educating Pennsylvania’s justice system, policymakers, law enforcement officials, courts and communities about the disparities experience by youth of color across the state, as well as the traumatic impacts racial and ethnic disparities have on youth of color.

Advocacy Project Summary - Provide Pennsylvania's youth justice leadership with relevant data on the state's relative rate index, to include arrest data by sex statewide and in several key jurisdictions in the state