Close up portrait of a handsome young african american man smiling

A lifelong commitment advocating for communities transcends a successful career in non-profit

3 mins read

Advocacy work comes natural for the Philadelphia native who fervently worked in re-entry and fatherhood programs before he took on the crises in education. Before BAEO, Young was the executive director of Fatherhood NOW. Afterward, he took the helm as president and CEO of Newark Now, organizations that thrived under the Cory Booker Administration.

From Re-entry to Education

Fatherhood NOW focused on men returning home from incarceration. It aided in their re-entry and often helped them find jobs, procure proper career training and complete educational and vocational programs.

Helping to grow stronger dads is a personal topic for Young, a teenage father himself who struggled in the first decade of co-parenting. Reared by his mom, his barely present father still works through issues around addiction.

“In some communities, we treat fatherhood like it’s a jail sentence or death sentence,” imparts Young. “[Fathers] are often treated as piggybanks in the system, but being a father is more than that . . . I wanted to be the father that I never had, but it was difficult as a 19-year-old parent struggling through college and taking care of child.”

Merging his experiences as a parent with his advocacy work proved to be pivotal in leading Fatherhood NOW. The achievements catapulted Young into overseeing then Mayor Booker’s flagship non-profit, Newark NOW, an organization assisting Newark residents to learn how to use local and state resources to improve their neighborhoods. In 2015, two years after Booker won a Congressional seat as the first African-American Senator of New Jersey, Newark NOW closed its doors.

Young saw the closure as the beginning of what he calls “the chicken and egg” connection. After working with men in fatherhood and re-entry programs, he realized education was a critical juncture in bettering communities.

It was the missing link between men who struggled to improve their lives and their relationships with their families which fed into the health of communities and the overall productivity of cities. Hence, he is serious about BAEO’s mission on empowering parents and communities via education.

Moving Forward

Fatherhood NOW provided a template that other cities started duplicating. In turn, Young travels the country to carry out a vision he aimed to manifest years before: building fatherhood centers similar to the one in Newark. His latest project is with Atlanta and Mayor Kasim Reed.

Along with his work at BAEO, Young speaks to various groups about his career in running effective organizations focused on social causes. In Newark, a city known to be saturated with non-profits, surviving is impressive.

Whether he is on the right side or wrong side of political discourse, as he says, LaVar Young is satisfied that he moved to Newark many years ago.

Kaia Niambi Shivers covers diaspora, news and features.

Donate to Ark Republic

Donating is a revolutionary act of love.
Please, spread the word.
Welcome to the Ark Republic Nation | Black Farmers Index
Membership is gangster

Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Donation Total: $20

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Mother fights to hold police officers accountable

Next Story

Dallas chief of police starts tenure with major reorganization

Latest from Education & Healthcare