Jacob’s Ladder, a nonprofit in Prince George’s County, Maryland, is on a mission to keep at-risk youth out of the juvenile justice system and give them a chance to build generational success.
Jarriel Jordan Sr. started the nonprofit, and as a former homicide investigator and teacher, he said he wanted to stop violence before it started. He focuses on meeting teens where they are in life — even if it’s already in the justice system.
“We have programs and sessions with our Junior Workforce Academy at the Cheltenham Youth Detention Center and also at the Juvenile Detention Center in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Jacob’s Ladder works to prevent teens from entering or returning to the juvenile justice system through various programs that serve roughly 1,000 youth and their families a year.
The nonprofit also offers a financial literacy program, which is expected to start up again in August. One of the kids in the program is Micah Johnson, a 12th grader with his own DJ business. Micah also hopes to study veterinary science in college.
He said the program’s support has changed his life.
“It’s helping me develop my business more,” he said, adding that it’s especially important to support young Black entrepreneurs.
As Jacob’s Ladder continues to bridge the gap for youth, Jordan said he is proud to be a resource for the community. “It just gives me a feeling of gratitude when we can do this.”