“To change the world,” that is the goal that drives Oscar Canales, a 2020 Impact Justice California Justice Leaders (CJL) alumnus. Oscar, who has been directly impacted by the justice system, currently serves as a Community Health Worker for the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. In addition to serving his community, Oscar also tirelessly champions much needed smart justice reform in California and the nation, particularly concerning policies impacting juveniles. 

Recently, as Impact Justice shared, “Oscar applied for the LeadOn 2021 cohort. LeadOn is an L.A. County-based pilot program led by Impact Justice, designed to provide resources and opportunities to young adults who have been justice-involved. Oscar was accepted and recently completed his LeadOn program year. Through LeadOn, Oscar was also provided training opportunities and was able to continue his passionate work as a credible messenger; lifting up those with similar experiences who are in need of support.”

Since 2019, the Michelson 20MM Foundation has been proud to support the California Justice Leaders program via a Spark Grant. Through CJL, Impact Justice recruits, places, and employs individuals who have had contact with the justice system. Members serve for one year in Los Angeles, Fresno, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Clara Costa, Alameda and Sacramento counties, during which they mentor young adults who are currently navigating reentry through the Department of Justice’s honorable discharge program, while also benefiting from leadership opportunities and professional development throughout their service. 

A first-of-its-kind AmeriCorps program designed for justice-impacted young adults, CJL is uniquely positioned to set members up for success by providing a source of income, training, and an extensive support system. To date, two cohorts have graduated from the three-year pilot program, which ultimately aims to support more than 40 members in California.

Oscar joins the CJL alumni network, which includes fellow classmates Donald Wilson and Joshua Thomas. To learn more about Oscar’s experience and Impact Justice’s work, read the 2022 CJL Alumni Newsletter

Oscar’s story is shared with permission from the California Justice Leaders program.

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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