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DA Vance, East Harlem community celebrates opening of Exodus Center for Trauma Innovation

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Exodus Center for Trauma Innovation had its official launch Tuesday in East Harlem, courtesy of the $8 million grant given from the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative to the Exodus Transitional Community Center.

The investment money was acquired through asset forfeiture funds from settlements with international banks that violated U.S. sanctions, and was redirected to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Here D.A. Cy Vance Jr created the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, CJII, and found a partnership with the Exodus Transitional Community— an established non-profit organization that “provides support services to men and women who are in transition from incarceration to full-integration into their communities,” according to their website.

In a recent press release, D.A. Vance expressed his satisfaction with the collaboration, commenting that he “couldn’t be more pleased to see its beautiful new facilities in action.” He continued to say that the “ground-breaking Center” has plans to aid “underserved communities” in treating those affected by trauma, and helping them to avoid any possible malefactors.

To manage the concerns of the individuals seeking assistance, according to The Trauma Center, they will utilize a three tiered approach, concentrating on populations that have historically endured higher rates of violence and failed access to resources, including: “adults with justice involvements, young adults, the LGBTQIA+ community, and immigrant populations.”

Hundreds of New Yorkers will potentially benefit from the Trauma Center’s free services, which include significant clinical and non-clinical counseling, as well as more unconventional means of recovery. The Trauma Center is also offering competency education and assistance to NYC organizations as a way to further strengthen their understanding of communicating and interacting with those who have experienced trauma. The Center is devoted to undertaking research in these specific communities, and are currently in the process of establishing a Trauma Innovation Learning Community to enhance this innovation.

Julio Medina, Exodus’s Founder, Executive Director, and CEO, can relate to the emotional pain that some of the individuals seeking help at The Center may be enduring — as someone who has gone through the judicial system himself— which aided him when designing the Exodus Center for Trauma Innovation.   

Additionally, Exodus has plans to designate three smaller organizations that are currently orchestrating commensurate healing work in Northern Manhattan, and award them with “micro-grants of $20,000 per year for three years, along with training and support to help them grow,” according to the CJII.

“We strive to be a staple in the East Harlem and justice-impacted community,” said Medina, “to advocate for services created by the community, for the community.”

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