Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Selects Andres Pacificar as Recipient of The Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders

Last updated: October 8, 2018, at 11:41 a.m. PT

Originally published: October 8, 2018, at 10:45 a.m. PT

Each fellow to be awarded $10,000 for their work to impact boys and young men of color

(SEATTLE, WA - October 5) - Forward Promise, a national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation committed to empowering boys and young men of color, has announced Andres Pacificar, Alive & Free Outreach Worker, as a 2018 recipient of its Forward Promise Fellowship For Leaders.

Alive & Free is an Accelerator YMCA program that builds meaningful relationships with youth involved in gangs, violence and the juvenile justice system. Using personal experience, strong ties to the local community, and extensive training, Alive & Free outreach workers help build a web of support to surround youth and support youth in identifying goals, such as engagement in education and employment, and overcoming the barriers to achieving these goals. Outreach workers go where youth are in the community and provide a bridge to relevant services, helping youth navigate challenges or conflict along the way.

Andres Pacificar is an exceptional outreach worker, providing culturally responsive support to youth and their families. "Although Andy is a community elder, he brings a growth mindset to his work with youth and their families each day. He demonstrates this by approaching each youth with an open mind and open heart, led by a passion to support them reaching their goals", said Jovi Catena, Alive & Free Program Director.

"Using my past traumatic experience, I lend tools of healing to the young men of color in my community", said Andres. "I provide meaningful support by meeting these youth where they're at both emotionally and in life, and sharing my experience of when I was in their place. For many of these young men, it is the first time they have had this kind of support from an adult who truly understands the complexity of their lives and who truly believes in their potential."

The Fellowship brings together an intergenerational cohort of both emerging and experienced leaders who have a vision for the healing of boys and young men of color and their communities. Each distinguished Fellow will be awarded  $10,000, and will participate in an 18-month leadership development learning experience that includes retreats, peer learning strategy sessions, and skillbuilding webinars.

“The health of a community depends on leaders bold enough to ask tough questions, build coalitions, and take action on behalf of marginalized people,” said Dr. Howard Stevenson, Director of Forward Promise. “I'm delighted that we have identified 20 visionaries across generations who are changing the way health services are provided to boys and young men of color in this country.”

The Forward Promise Fellowship aligns with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health as it recognizes the accomplished work of a cohort of 20 leaders across the country that helps boys and young men of color have the access and opportunity to live a healthier life.

The Fellowship provides opportunities for Fellows to build relationships and a community of support as they advance health strategies for boys and young men of color; to share and be exposed to emerging and best practices to support young men in their communities to heal, grow and thrive; and to elevate the lessons of transformational healing work from the work of all the Fellows.

“We are excited to uplift the culturally responsive healing work of each of this year's Fellows and build upon the Foundation’s philosophy of leadership," said Maisha Simmons, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "We hope The Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders will nurture and empower new, bold voices dedicated to the health and well-being of boys and young men of color.” A full list of Recipients of The Forward Promise Fellowship for Leaders recipients can be found at: Forward Promise

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