Jamell Cotto

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Jamell Cotto was born and raised in New Haven and attended both public and private schools throughout the City of New Haven.  He graduated from Lyman Hall High School in 1995, an alumnus of the Vocational Agriculture Program, a program funded in part by New Haven Public Schools.  Jamel graduated from Goodwin College with an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Sciences with a minor in Psychology, graduating with Honors Cum Laude.  He has also attended Gateway Community College for Early Childhood Education and the University of New Haven for Criminal Justice.
Raised by foster parents, Jamell is devoted to the belief that smart, comprehensive Restorative Practices will sever the antiquated “high school-to-prison" pipeline.  With almost 20 years' experience working in the fields of Human Services and Community Advocacy, Jamell is committed to individual and family excellence in the applied helping process.  His vision and holistic approach in fostering positive child and youth development coincides with best practices.
Jamell began his professional career at Catholic Charities/Centro San Jose as Youth Program Coordinator in 2012.  Within one year of employment, Jamell was chosen to receive its Leadership Award for his leadership qualities, dedication, and commitment to children, youth and families served by the agency's mission.  Throughout his time with CC/CSJ, Jamell expanded the Youth Program and has provided a safe place with structured activities for over 100 youth in the New Haven community.  Under his management, the Youth Program was recognized with the Work Site Award in 2015 from the City of New Haven’s Youth Services Department.  As a Youth Coordinator, he specializes in an understanding of the human condition and the factors that present barriers and challenges, as well as those that promote successful human functioning within human societal systems.

His perseverance and commitment to the Neighborhood Youth Center programs are driven by his ability to partner with parents, paraprofessionals and teachers.  It was here that Jamell started the first-of-its-kind Lifeguard Training and Certification for at-risk youth with Job Placement Assistance.  In January 2015, Jamell was appointed Board Chair for Rainbow of Life.  In August 2015, Jamell was promoted to Family Center Director for Catholic Charities/Centro San Jose.  More recently, under his leadership at CC/CSJ, he expanded the Food Pantry Program to address the rise in food insecurity within New Haven.  In March 2016, Jamell was Keynote Speaker for the Great Escape’s Charity Breakfast.  Most recently, Jamell was recruited as Executive Director for Farnam Neighborhood House with a start date of November 6, 2017.
 In his own words...
“We have to change our systems because changing heart takes too long and we are at risk of losing another generation.   There is undiscovered capital within urban communities; the return on this investment is limitless."
Board Vice-President
Term Expires:  12/2018