James Darnell, Fall 2019
First Year Cleveland (FYC) is a public-private partnership that unites parents and expectant parents, community leaders, philanthropic organizations, government and business entities, health care providers, educational institutions, nonprofits and the faith-based community to work to end infant mortality. This partnership works to ensure that every baby will celebrate their first birthday, and FYC pays special attention to our community’s unacceptably high level of racial disparity in birth outcomes. FYC works through twelve action teams that address different components of the infant mortality crisis.
Through his externship with FYC, James Darnell was able to gain invaluable experience in the health policy field. Under the guidance of FYC’s Executive Director, Bernadette Kerrigan, James was able to work with FYCs and the YWCA of Greater Cleveland’s partners to help organize a summit attended by over 500 people reflecting on the United States’ long and troubled history with slavery and racial discrimination. He was able to research the declaration of racism as a public health crisis and the policy implications of such a declaration in the Cleveland community, and FYC’s mentorship and guidance helped him present these findings to an audience that included a member of the city council. These experiences have encouraged him to consider further work related to policy analysis and advocacy.
Mary Ford, Fall 2019
The Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court (CCJC) has the mission to provide for the care, welfare, safety and security of all juveniles under the supervision of the Detention Services continuum with the support of community partnerships. In addition, they strive to provide programming that will help juveniles take responsibility for choices that make them law-abiding in the community.
Under the supervision of Judge Kristen Sweeney, Mary Kathryn Ford observed trials, reviewed case files, toured the detention center, and met with individuals from the Probation Office, Public Defender’s Office, and Prosecutor’s Office. In addition to attending committee meetings, judge’s meetings, and initiative meetings, Mary also conducted research on the population of juveniles who stayed in the detention center for five days or less. Through this research, she analyzed data on this population, discovered commonalities and trends, and identified some of the potential causes for the short stays.
Mary’s experience at the CCJC helped her to acquire a deeper understanding of the Juvenile Justice System, allowed her to retain an immense amount of knowledge, and solidified her desire to enter into the legal profession.