One of the recipients of this grant money was Gisele Castro, executive director of Exalt. Castro, a south Bronx resident, spoke with the Bronx Times about the financial assistance and how it can help.
While she services all of the five boroughs, many of her clients come from low-income parts of the Bronx. Exalt helps youths who were arrested, have an open court case or are on probation. Additionally, it provides financial literacy services, assists with the college process and tries to bridge the digital divide by distributing laptops.
“I am proud to be one of the very few Latinas leading work of this kind in New York and privileged to lead a team that is 90% people of color, as we do our part to elevate our youth out of the oppressive school to prison pipeline so many of them are trapped in,” Castro said. “By moving our youth, who are presently in the justice system, away from incarceration and towards re-engagement with education, they now have a brighter future. The Power Fund will enable exalt to continue to address the racial, gender, and income-based disparities in the judicial system, and through our work, will refocus the system on redemption and rehabilitation.”
According to Castro, one question she often asks the troubled teens is where they see themselves in five years. Sadly, the common answer is dead or in jail.
Through her organization’s guidance, the goal is to put them on the right path. The financial boost from Robin Hood will greatly help Exalt going forward.
“One thing I’m really excited about is this particular grant, which will allow us to serve more young people in the Bronx,” she explained.