exalt elevates expectations of personal success for youth ages 15-19 who’ve been involved in the criminal justice system. We inspire youth at a critical crossroads to believe in their worth, from the first steps in contemplation through the journey to create lasting behavioral change. Our powerful combination of structured classes for tangible skill development, individualized support to navigate the education and justice systems, placement in paid internships and an alumni network of resources equips youth with the tools and experience to avoid further criminal justice system involvement. At exalt, we empower youth to see a future filled with hope – and we provide the road map to get there.
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• exalt is founded on the belief that improving a youth's sense of self-worth can be a powerful catalyst in her/his future pursuit of education and employment goals.
• We believe that humanizing, inspiring, validating and motivating our program participants is crucial to their journey to create lasting behavioral change and establish themselves as self-sufficient members of society.
• We believe that hope is essential to their vision of the future. We believe young people should be prepared to thrive, rather than simply told how to survive.
• We believe substantive behavior change is a lengthy process with many stages, each of which deserves encouragement and recognition.
Founded in 2006, exalt is modeled on an award-winning, best-practice designated program developed by Founder and former Executive Director, Sonja Okun, at CASES, New York’s oldest alternative-to-incarceration agency, in 1997. exalt was established to serve youth at all junctures along the spectrum of criminal justice involvement. The comprehensive program was designed to inspire significant and positive behavioral change, allowing youth to better recognize the importance of their own self-development, including completing their education.