Emerging Leaders Committee

CJJ’s Emerging Leaders Committee (ELC)

The Emerging Leaders Committee is a partnership between CJJ and young people in the field of juvenile justice, many of whom bring lived expertise to their work. This group consists of young people ages 16 to 27 years old from across the country. ELC Members serve on their State Advisory Group, have previous or current juvenile justice involvement, and/or are interested in juvenile justice reform. Each member serves for one calendar year. CJJ supports the Emerging Leaders Committee to ensure that youth perspectives are represented in all aspects and functions of CJJ’s work, as well as CJJ’s communications with state and federal policymakers. Emerging Leaders Committee members help to shape the overall program and policy agenda for CJJ and perform several other important duties, including:

  • Organizing the Youth Summit, a virtual and in-person gathering that allows young people to come together to explore how they can collaborate and lead in juvenile justice reform;  
  • Coordinating, reviewing, and selecting the recipient of the annual CJJ Spirit of Youth Award;
  • Developing and implementing educational training programs for youth and adult SAG members;
  • Convening committee meetings and networking events for youth members at CJJ conferences; and
  • Orienting new youth members to the work of the SAGs and CJJ, through the publication of resources and ongoing information sharing.

Emerging Leaders Committee Members develop leadership and advocacy skills and learn about the juvenile justice system. Check out this blog post written by the 2018 Emerging Leaders Committee to learn more about the ELC! 

ELC Chair Position Application

CJJ is currently accepting applications for Chair of the Emerging Leaders Committee. Chairs for the Emerging Leaders Committee are voted in by the Council of State Advisory Groups during CJJ’s Annual Conference. This position is part of the Executive Board and provides leadership for the Emerging Leaders Committee. For a full list of roles and responsibilities click here. To apply for the Emerging Leaders Chair click here.

2023 ELC Members

Aaron Toleafoa (WA), Chair

Hannah Krawczyk (AL)

Gabrielle Henry (GA)

Jordyn Wilson (NJ)

Edgar Calixto (WA)

Kimberly Garcia (NJ)

Audriana Wakandra Espinoza (IA)

Yante Turner (WI)


Chris Ford (WA)

Erin Condon (MA)

Mike O'Day (CA)

Ron Ackerson (WA)

Myla Roundy (IL)

Noah McQueen (GA)

Emilio Carranza Davis (CA)


Highlights from 2022

Each year, CJJ's Youth Summit brings together young people from across the country who are interested in juvenile justice reform. The Summit aims to cultivate and empower the next generation of leaders by providing them with the tools they need to leverage their lived expertise. Participants learn the basics of youth justice and have the opportunity to delve into more detail about key topics in the field. The 2022 Youth Summit, "From the Past, Here in Our Present, Into the Future: Cultivating Youth and Legal System Change," was hosted in person and virtually by the ELC, and explored issues such as leadership and advocacy, self-care, sentencing reform, mentoring, and re-entry.

In 2022 the ELC members had several opportunities to influence youth justice policy at the federal level. The ELC and youth from the National Juvenile Justice Network met with OJJDP Administrator, Elizabeth Ryan, to share policy recommendations to change youth justice on a national level. To learn more about the ELC’s recommendations to the administration click here

ELC members also participated in a Virtual Diner with The Players Coalition, where ELC members had a chance to discuss youth justice issues with professional athletes, and other youth from Cafe Momentum and the National Juvenile Justice Network.