meet our team
Jay Paris, Director
Jay Paris’s career in Human Services has been marked by innovation, including playing a key role in helping North American Family Institute develop cutting-edge programming in prevention and early intervention services. Eight years ago he helped evolve the unique Youth & Police Initiative (YPI) into a community-based training that has changed the paradigm between thousands of police officers and inner city youth. Under his leadership, YPI became a corner stone of Youth Link, which continues to emerge as an exceptional and highly successful approach to reducing youth violence and gang involvement.
Dr. Jim Isenberg, Development and Marketing
Jim Isenberg, PhD, is the author of Police Leadership in a Democracy… A Conversation with America’s Police Chiefs and a thought-leader in the field of law enforcement. His work with North American Family Institute and Police Corps hatched the original youth and police training from which Youth Link’s current programs have emerged. As an innovator and conflict resolution expert, he has played an invaluable role in expanding Youth Link into cities across the United States. He is an adjunct professor at the University of New Haven and Executive Director of NAFI’s New York Region.
Paul Lewis, Director of Training
Paul Lewis has an extensive background in community development, teaching and training that has strongly shaped Youth Link’s evolving work. As a master trainer and co-developer of YPI, he oversees the daily operations of Youth Link, as well as the certification process for all of Youth Link’s trainers. Mr. Lewis has also been a catalyst and innovator of Youth Link’s Leadership Academy while playing a critical role in bringing Youth Link to new cities.
David Peters, Master Trainer
David Peters, LMSW, is a social worker who worked for 20 years as a child welfare advocate, trainer and administrator for the Center for Development of Human Services, Research Foundation of SUNY at Buffalo. Upon retirement from SUNY, he began consulting and training, focusing on improving the transfer of learning around safety and risk assessment for child welfare staff throughout New York City. In 2010 he became a trainer for Youth Link, implementing YPI programming across the Northeast. He has emerged as a master trainer, also leading the train-the-trainer program.
Matthew Swartz, Vocational Training and Development
Matthew Swartz has been a chef and restaurant owner in Boston whose passion to help teenagers has been instrumental in shaping Youth Link’s vocational programs, particularly in the culinary arts. Among Matthew’s innovations is Youth Link Catering, a profit-sharing business operated by graduates of Youth Link.
YPI Trainer Team
Youth Link has an expanding body of trainers who are certified to lead Youth & Police Initiative trainings. These part-time staff must pass complete rigorous coaching and internship phases, and then demonstrate an ability to facilitate moving and powerful communication between police officers and youth at-risk.