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Spark: A space for social innovators to combine ideas with networks

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Spark Workshop on Drive Change
with Jordyn Lexton, Founder and Executive Director; Annie Bickerton, Director of Development and Operations; Roy Waterman, Culinary Arts Mentor

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Workshop will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Please plan on arriving 10-15 minutes early.
Reception to follow at 8:00 p.m.

Warren Hall, Room 209
1125 Amsterdam Avenue (between 115th and 116
th Street)

In New York State, the age of adult criminal responsibility is 16 years old. 
Each year, thousands of kids leave the criminal justice system with adult felony convictions that are made public to future employers and academic institutions. As a result, opportunity for change is limited and re-offense is common: the recidivism rate for adolescents treated as adults in the criminal justice system is nearly 70%. The adult system has a devastating impact on young people. 

Mission: To build and operate state-of-the-art food trucks to hire, train, and empower formerly incarcerated youth ages 16-25. We generate opportunities for youth coming home from adult jail/prison so that they can live crime-free, bright futures. 

Drive Change is a hybrid for-profit/non-profit organization. All of our food trucks are for profit LLCs that are wholly owned by the non-profit 501c3. That being said, all sales from the trucks recycle back into the organization so we can subsidize the cost of running our Drive Change re-entry program.

The re-entry program is eight months long and consists of three distinct phases: a 2-month pre-employment training phase, a 4-month employment phase, and a 2-month transition phase. As participants graduate through each phase, they will see an increase in pay scale, from $8/hr up to $12/hr. 

Drive Change will provide three concrete services that are proven to lower recidivism:

  1. ​Paid, transitional, quality employment.
  2. Concrete transferable skills and credentials. 
  3. Community building and outreach.

Throughout the entire program, young people will be provided with mentoring and counseling from licensed social workers.

Jordyn Lexton, Founder and Executive Director
After teaching English on Riker’s Island for three years and witnessing the traumatic effects of adult jail on youth, Jordyn came up with the concept of Drive Change in 2012 and has spent the past 18 months bringing her dream to life by working in the NYC food sector and NYC reentry/criminal justice field.  Jordyn holds a BA in English from Wesleyan University and a MA in Teaching from Pace University.

Annie Bickerton, Director of Development and Operations
Annie got involved with Drive Change in 2012. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Nonprofit Management at The New School. Previously, she worked as the Director of Annual Giving and Parent Relations for The Cambridge School of Weston. 

Roy Waterman, Culinary Arts Mentor 
Roy is a Chef and the proud owner of Caribbean Food Catering in NYC. Roy believes in the power of food to transcend difference and transform lives. Roy himself was incarcerated as a young person and he is dedicated to using entrepreneurialism and food as a way to help broaden opportunities for young people impacted by the criminal justice system.  

Spark provides Social Innovators with an opportunity to explore resources, connections and potential solutions to help their social ventures, by tapping the collective knowledge within Columbia University, and the larger entrepreneurial and social impact community in the New York area and beyond.

This workshop is open to all who are willing to bring their ideas, experience, and connections to help solve social and environmental challenges that these social innovators aim to address.



If you are unable to attend the above events but would like more information on Spark, please register for our mailing list.

For more information, or if you would like to suggest a future Spark workshop, please contact:
Diana Rambeau:

This event is supported by the Social Enterprise Program, the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center and the Social Enterprise Club at Columbia Business School.

April 1st, 2014 from  6:30 PM to  8:30 PM
Uris Hall, Room 141
New York, NY 10027
United States
Phone: (212) 854-1649