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Leonard Jahad, Executive Director

​Robin E. Higgins served 20 years with the New Haven Police Department. During her 20-year career, Robin served as a Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer, and in the Street Crimes Unit. She mentored six high-risk female students from 6th through 12th grade. Robin was promoted to detective and assigned to the Family Services Unit, responsible for investigating domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and hate crimes. She became a Certified Police Instructor and taught for the New Haven Police Academy, the New Haven Citizen's Academy, and other local police departments. Special instruction topics included Domestic Violence, Sex Crimes, Hate and Bias Crimes, Human Trafficking, and Ethics. Robin was promoted to Sergeant, working in Patrol and then the Internal Affairs Unit before retirement. After retirement, Robin was an instructor for WSM Consultants, teaching municipal and campus law enforcement. Robin took a hiatus to care for her mom and sister.  Robin is currently the Executive Assistant to Executive Director Leonard Jahad of CTVIP. Robin resides in North Haven, Connecticut, with her husband, two college children, and her dog Mello. Robin loves helping the less fortunate. She started a non-profit organization, "Dreams Come True For You". The organization's mission is to fulfill dreams for individuals affected by life-altering circumstances. The organization has given hope to the hopeless of many individuals and their families. She is also an event planner, which is a passion of hers, and a member of St. Matthews UFWB Church. 

Robin Higgins, Executive Assistant

​Robin E. Higgins served 20 years with the New Haven Police Department. During her 20-year career, Robin served as a Patrol Officer, School Resource Officer, and in the Street Crimes Unit. She mentored six high-risk female students from 6th through 12th grade. Robin was promoted to detective and assigned to the Family Services Unit, responsible for investigating domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and hate crimes. She became a Certified Police Instructor and taught for the New Haven Police Academy, the New Haven Citizen's Academy, and other local police departments. Special instruction topics included Domestic Violence, Sex Crimes, Hate and Bias Crimes, Human Trafficking, and Ethics. Robin was promoted to Sergeant, working in Patrol and then the Internal Affairs Unit before retirement. After retirement, Robin was an instructor for WSM Consultants, teaching municipal and campus law enforcement. Robin took a hiatus to care for her mom and sister.  Robin is currently the Executive Assistant to Executive Director Leonard Jahad of CTVIP. Robin resides in North Haven, Connecticut, with her husband, two college children, and her dog Mello. Robin loves helping the less fortunate. She started a non-profit organization, "Dreams Come True For You". The organization's mission is to fulfill dreams for individuals affected by life-altering circumstances. The organization has given hope to the hopeless of many individuals and their families. She is also an event planner, which is a passion of hers, and a member of St. Matthews UFWB Church. 

Teryn Jasmin, Operations Manager

​My name is Teryn Jasmin and I am the Operations Manager for Connecticut Violence Intervention and Prevention. My role is to handle all of the financial aspects for the organization some of which includes managing grants and funds for the program.  I am born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. I attended Southern Connecticut State University where I received both my Bachelors and Masters degree focused  in accounting.  I come from a family of two generations of Law Enforcement, which gave me an understanding of violence and how it affects peoples lives, families, and society.  Growing up in New Haven, this also helped me to learn various systems of prevention strategies   concerning violence.  My hope is that one day people learn better ways to keep themselves safe and to not resort to violence as a solution; in order to break this traumatic cycle and make our city a safer place.  When I am not working, I love to watch movies and enjoy spending time with my family.   Some of my hobbies include painting on canvases and home improvement projects. I love figuring out ways of taking something old and turning it into a brand new work of art.

Alivia Langley, Program Manager

​Alivia Langley is the Program Manager of CT Violence Intervention and Prevention (CT VIP). A non-profit organization that works with the highest risk youth in the community and works to intervene in circumstances that could possibly lead to gun violence and retaliation. Alivia supervises a team of creditable messengers that provides therapeutic mentorship to the highest risk youth in the New Haven and Hamden communities. At the start of her role at CT VIP, Alivia developed organizational structure, stronger relationships with community organization, local and federal municipalities and a better-quality training system for employees to implement the highest level of care for communities in which we serve. Alivia has developed a system to track and manage grants and funding sources to provide services efficiently and with fidelity. Alivia has worked with state, federal, and local governments to best support the assignment of decreasing community violence. Alivia has worked internally and externally to build out a training process for new and current employees as well as a robust internships program to continue to provide the best level of trauma informed therapeutic services.   ​ Alivia holds a master's degree in justice administration and public service from Saint Elizabeth University. She has held a host of jobs as an advocate, counselor, and mentor while attending school for criminal justice. As a lifetime resident of greater New Haven, she has spent over 7 years working with organizations collaborating with the court support services division as well mental health division to keep youth out of detention centers and hospitals and on a successful pathway to adulthood. Alivia worked in collaboration with clinicians, mental health providers, and the court systems with assessments, treatment, and stabilization of youth. Her experiences include the juvenile justice involved youth as well as children and adolescents who because of the complexity and severity of the psychiatric needs are at risk for hospitalization. Alivia has also held a position as a victim advocate in which she designed a specialized program that served the youth and children of the victims in which we service. This program implementation enabled the program to reach an underserved population and create a child advocacy position in which Alivia did oversee and supervises. In addition to this role, she has developed and managed the relationship between the New Haven Police Department and the office of victim services to best serve victims of all types of crime. Alivia served as a liaison to the New Haven Police Department to best connect victims to services. Where the New Haven may have been unable to contact victims of crime serving as a Liaison created an opportunity to reach hard to reach youth and adults who may have been victims and involved in some level of violence.  In addition to the previous roles as a community advocate, Alivia also serves on the Board of Baby and Me CT which provides parenting education to young mothers in the greater New Haven Area.  Her current role while being involved in this Board is to provide culturally competent support and advocacy on areas in which young mothers can succeed and feel connected. Alivia also sits on the Board of “Interruptions: Disrupting the Silence”. Well known for the “Lets Talk Program” this program is designed to lead discussions to acknowledge, recognize those unexplained feelings, behaviors, and how to break through. In this role, Alivia works closely with Executive Director Odell Copper to reach communities who may be struggling with untreated trauma in conclusion of losing someone to gun violence.  

Mary Hall, Program Coordinator

​Passionate about social justice, community, and helping young people, Mary Hall is the Program Coordinator of CT VIP’s Hamden Programs.  A New Haven native, Mary attended High School in the Community. She then went on to Gateway Community College and graduated from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, where she received a bachelor's degree in legal studies and criminal justice. Upon graduating, Mary came to the realization that working with youth and young adults was where she could make the most positive and long-lasting contributions. Once back in New Haven, she began volunteering at local youth organizations and then at New Haven Family Alliance in the Street Outreach Worker Program. In 2012, Mary was offered a position as a Hamden JRB Case Manager. In 2019, Mary became Senior Lead JRB Case Manager of the New Haven and Hamden JRB.  In November 2021, Mary joined the CT VIP team bringing strong ties to the Hamden community and a special ability to connect with vulnerable youth. When Mary is not working, she enjoys spending time with her two sons, Dylen and Ryan. 

Erika Blake, Program Coordinator

​Erika Blake serves as the Program Coordinator for Connecticut Violence Intervention Program. In this role, she is responsible for financial administration and human resource administration. Prior to her time at Connecticut Violence Intervention Program, she worked at Greywall Software where her primary focus was collecting and measuring data on children of marginalized communities. She has earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Southern Connecticut State University, while later earning two Master’s degrees from the University of New Haven in Criminal Justice and Community Psychology with a focus in Program Development.

Michaela Riley, Marketing Research Technology

​Michaela Reilly does the Marketing, Technology, and Research for Connecticut Violence Intervention Program. She is currently getting her doctorate in clinical psychology with a focus on multiculturalism. Her dissertation focuses on amplifying the voices of credible messengers and increase funding to maintain their important work in the community. Michaela is currently doing research on understanding Black women’s experience in clinical psychology doctorate programs. Michaela is specialized in working with youth and their families involved in community violence and the juvenile justice system through community organizations, nonprofits, and government entities. She often works within the community developing programs and providing supervised therapy with youth. Michaela is inspired by the youth she works with in the community. She hopes to continue to grow as a scholar, community leader, and change agent. Michaela strives to “to empower someone means that you have the power to provide someone, instead remember that we are here to remind them of the power within them.”  

Jaleisa Brannic, Case Manager

​I am Jaleisa Brannic. I have loved and lived in New Haven my whole life - with the exception of leaving for school, employment, and adventure. I am a graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston, MA. Over the past decade, I have worked throughout New England in community outreach, behavioral health, and education. Throughout this time, I have worked with a diverse range of youth of varying ethnic, cultural, and special education backgrounds.  I am privileged to be the Case Manager for the Juvenile Review Board of Hamden. As a case manager, my goal is to guide clients through their restorative steps towards themselves and the town of Hamden. Some steps include service work in the school or community, prosocial activities, workshops, and reflection. I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that creates an alternative to deter involvement with the criminal justice system. Our youth deserve opportunities for growth, regardless of their zip codes.

Alexandria Lawrence, Case Manager

​I am Alexandria Lawrence, a Masters Level graduate from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. With a specialization in Community Based Practice and Leadership. My current area of interest and expertise is working with youth and adolescents. I have varies experiences working with the youth and adolescent population in the residential and community settings. This is by far my favorite population. I have the pleasure of supporting our youth through their most difficult times. While supporting their families and giving them the strategies they need to succeed. This population is smart, strong, resilient! As a CTVIP staff, I support the youth in getting into behavioral health services, goal setting, vocational training, social skill instructions, and life skills coaching with a primary focus on educational achievement and job attainment. I am a proud member of my community and I look toward to working the potential youth and their families. With great pleasure , Alexandria Lawrence, LMSW

William "JB" Outlaw, Lead VPP

​William Outlaw was born at Yale New Haven Hospital on January 21, 1968. Growing up William Outlaw also went by June boy which still holds true in the New Haven community. William has been a native of New Haven and has dedicated his life to giving back to the community after spending 20 years behind bars. In that time, William dedicated his life to giving back and becoming more educated. William became a mentor and advocate for other young adults who he also ran with in the community. When William was released, he immediately started working at GoodWill re-entry program where he served as a Lead Community advocate and was responsible for reintegrating ex-offenders back into the community by mentorship, job training, and connection to services. William built trusting relationships which laid the foundation for a successful transition into the workforce. One of Williams' roles was to prepare inmates for the transition back into the community. William then transitioned to working at CT Violence Intervention Program as the Lead Violence Prevention Professional where he worked with the highest at-risk youth in the community. When Covid-19 headed the New Haven community and shut everything down, June boy became the co-author of Citizen Outlaw where he shared his story. June boy describes publishing the book at this proudest moment. William Outlaw is currently working on transforming his book into a movie.  

Tyrone "Tiger" Whitaker, VPP

​Tyrone B. Whitaker is a native of New Haven, CT, who in 1988 at the youthful age of 17 was told his life was over. He stood before a state Judge and was sentenced to 50 years for murder. For the next 30 years Tyrone would live behind the bars of the Connecticut Department of Corrections. His journey through the prison system was filled with anger, hurt, reflection, remorse, and finally, rededication. Through his re-dedication process, Tyrone and six other inmates, all convicted of violent crimes, birthed the prison’s first peer to peer program known as the Skills of Socialization program (SOS).The program was extremely successful and benefited hundreds of inmates, as it prepared them for re-entry back to their communities. At the age of 47, Tyrone received an early release from incarceration and returned to a very different New Haven. This new community, coupled with Tyrone's troubled past, inspired his commitment to rebuilding the very place that he helped tear down. Today Tyrone is employed as a violence prevention professional at Connecticut Violence Intervention Program mentoring the youth and speaking at high schools. Tyrone also works part time at Yale New Haven Hospital in the patient transport department.es.

Omar Ryan, VPP

​Hi my name is Omar Ryan, I was born in New York City, I came to New Haven when I was sixteen to live with my grandmother.  I got into the streets and the life of selling drugs when I was twenty years old.  Nineteen years ago, after countless times in prison, I woke up, and left that life alone.  I’ve been a leader of my community for the past eighteen years because I want my community, and my young people to be better. I hope that I’ve been a good role model for the youth and my community.

Anita "Tweet" Morales, VPP

​My name is Anita Morales, I am 47 years old, female born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut.  I’ve worked in numerous different fields, from Medical, Human Services, Food Services, Case Management and Out Reach work.  I am now a Violence Prevention Professional for Connecticut Violence Intervention and Prevention.  I am very passionate about being a great service provider and an asset to the community I serve.  I love my city and I am always willing to go above and beyond to assist those in need.   I am a parent and a grandma.  My goal is to continue to be the example of positive change so others may lead and follow.

Kwamaine McCarter, VPP

​I’m Kwamaine Mccarter 34 yrs. old born and raised In New Haven, CT Former college athlete and student who experience some trouble late in life, being in trouble helped me find my true passion helping others in my community, it also helps shape me into the violent prevention professional I am today. 

Dirmy Mack, VPP

​Dirmy Mack was born and raised in Hamden. He attended Hamden High School but graduated from Sun Valley High school in North Carolina in 2013. In 2015, Dirmy began coaching for New Haven Heat basketball. Helping youth improve their basketball skills led Dirmy to realize that helping and working with youth was his passion. Soon after, Dirmy was soon hired as a paraprofessional by New Haven Public Schools where he still works. In 2021, Dirmy was hired as a Violence Prevention Professional serving the town of Hamden. Dirmy is very happy to be serving the community that he grew up in. In Dirmy’s off time he enjoys traveling.

Frank Redente, Jr., VIP

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Kebra  Smith-Bolden, VIP

​Kebra Smith-Bolden is a minority women-owned cannabis business trailblazer.  After forming CannaHealth, LLC (The First and Only Legal Cannabis Business owned by a person of Color) in 2017, she has certified thousands of people throughout the state of Connecticut to obtain medical cannabis cards. Smith-Bolden has also advocated for equitable, recreational cannabis legislation, organizing with WomenGrow CT, serving as president of CT United for Reform and Advocacy, and served on Governor Ned Lamont’s Cannabis Social Equity Working Group. Her work led directly to the passage of the act to legalize cannabis and create equitable communities, “An Act Concerning the Equitable and Responsible Regulation of Cannabis.” Kebra currently serves on the board for SuperNova Women, a National Organization to Support Women in the Cannabis Industry.  ​ A registered nurse for over 20 years, Kebra is a tireless community servant, is a trusted leader and advocate. Kebra currently serves on New Haven’s Juvenile Review Board, The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and The Crime in New Haven Steering Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors for Next Level Re-Entry Program, and the Elm City Freddy Fixer Parade. Kebra is also a member of the Southern CT Black Nurses Association and Sigma Theta Tau, a Nursing Honor Society, where she was awarded for Leadership in Nursing.

Jordan Cunningham, VIP

​I’m currently a VPP at CTVIP i’m also the Ambassador at The Shack ( a community center ) in West Hills New Haven CT. I’ve been a leader in my community since my senior year of high school creating community gardens, events like easter, thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. At 19 years old i was awarded The Presidents Lifetime Achievement Award for some of my outstanding community work. I love  being able to help the youth progress in their journey of life and help my community.

Kendrick Bracey, VIP

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Jordan Cunningham, VIP

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Jordan Cunningham, VIP

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Jordan Cunningham, VIP

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Jordan Cunningham, VIP

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Jordan Cunningham, VIP

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Jordan Cunningham, VIP

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