I’m a Brooklyn native, born and raised. I was once a volatile youth, carrying guns and getting into serious issues with the law, as many youth do today. My last run in with the authorities ended with a lengthy sentence in federal prison. While incarcerated, my mother became terminally ill and one of her wishes in her last days was for me to straighten up my life and do something positive. I have always had the drive to teach the youth that there are alternatives to violence. S.O.S. has given me a platform to give back to the community that I took so much away from, and to teach young people the advantages of a different mind set. My own son is now 20 years old and attends college.
David Gaskin is the Program Manager for Save Our Streets Crown Heights. David arrived at S.O.S after working with diverse groups including people in the criminal justice system, alternatives to incarceration and re-entry programs, and people impacted by H.I.V/AIDS, substance abuse and domestic violence. David is also a former gang member who now promotes healthy masculinity among young black men.
D. Stanley is a former original member of the notorious New York City Blood gang from the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. He spent his teens and early adult years deeply involved in gang banging, drug dealing and violence, activities that eventually led to his imprisonment. During his time in prison he educated himself and acquired a new outlook on life. His present lifestyle and work are driven by his determination to never be involved in anything that might cause him to leave his children behind and return to prison. He has vowed to use his wit and street knowledge to pacify the streets of his neighborhood and make them safer by reducing and, hopefully, one day stopping the shooting and killing in his community.
Heather Day is the associate director of youth and community programs at the Mediation Center. Heather oversees Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (YO S.O.S.) and supports additional programs and outreach initiatives at the Center. Previously, Heather worked for Citizen Schools New York both as a teaching fellow in the classroom and in volunteer recruitment and curriculum development at the regional office. Heather earned a BA in American Studies from Connecticut College and a Master’s of Social Work with a Human Service Leadership concentration from Fordham University. Heather believes that young people have powerful voices and unique insight to share with the world, and loves seeing youth in the spotlight.
Jacqueline Johnson is the Office Manager for the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center and oversees and supports a variety of areas and tasks. She has a broad experience in both international and domestic nonprofits such as Academy for Educational Development and Equality Now. Her administrative areas of expertise include: operations, office management, diversity and administration. She has worked with a number of socially conscious non-profits that are creating solutions to the challenges of contemporary life especially in education and health infrastructure building. She is a graduate of NYU, with a degree in Social Work.