Pennsylvania Lawyers for Youth (PALY)
We aim to give voice to otherwise silenced experiences of youth by advocating for reforms that promote positive youth development, effective legal representation, and supportive relationships between the community and youth. We believe in the resiliency and potential of young people. In working towards a more just juvenile system, we aim to empower system-involved youth to identify their own goals, acknowledge their potential, and realize their dreams. We believe that working with individuals can inform a wider advocacy approach. We will assist reintegrating youth by providing advocates for youth before they are released from detention facilities; advocates will continue to work with youth post incarceration to navigate complicated educational and legal systems through consistent and informed mentorship and case management, intervention into the school-to-prison pipeline trajectory, and advocacy-driven, client-centered direct service.
Elana takes to heart the idea that with privilege comes responsibility. After majoring in African-American Studies at Wesleyan University, Elana adopted a set of radical politics including a desire to dismantle hierarchical structures that form the foundation of modern society. She focused on prison abolition work, and spent a year working at the New York Legal Assistance Group through AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps in New York City upon graduation. Shortly thereafter, Elana began law school at Georgetown, working on projects relating to solitary confinement of youth, prison expansion, and the school to prison pipeline, and interned at the Capitol Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition, the Washington Lawyers Committee in the Prisoner's Project, Human Rights Watch, and participated in the juvenile defense clinic at Georgetown. Now, as a lawyer, Elana is looking for ways to continue this work outside of her primary job.