Crystal Navarro, California Justice Leaders
Opening Doors for Justice-Involved Young Adults
California Justice Leaders leverages the skills of formerly incarcerated and system-impacted people to provide reentry coaching and mentorship to justice-involved youth. In this program, Crystal Navarro drew from her own lived experience to guide and support young people through her local Division of Juvenile Justice, helping them secure employment, education and access to critical resources.
As an AmeriCorps California member with California Justice Leaders, Crystal Navarro supported incarcerated young adults in the Division of Juvenile Justice in Fresno. She drew on her own lived experiences as a justice-impacted individual to provide re-entry coaching and mentorship. Among her many mentees, one beneficiary stands out. She was connected with him just before he was to be discharged in her community. Right away, they met and outlined goals. Within weeks, Crystal helped the beneficiary obtain his license and apply for low-income housing, foster youth benefits, and CalFresh.
The beneficiary expressed a strong interest in education, so Crystal accompanied him on a tour of Fresno City College, where she introduced him to her connections at Rising Scholars, a program that supports formerly incarcerated students. She also connected him with staff with Project Rebound, another supportive organization. He soon enrolled in classes and Crystal continued her support, connecting him with an official mentor from the Rising Scholars program, renting him a tablet he can use for his classes and showing him the food pantry students can access.
Crystal provided a level of mentorship only someone who comes from a similar background can provide. Her beneficiary confided in her about his challenges navigating his reentry, and she has been able to provide guidance from her own personal experience. Through the numerous barriers he has faced since he came home, Crystal has been a consistent and supportive presence in his life.