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Peer Navigator

Center for Community Alternatives

Center for Community Alternatives

Rochester, NY, USA
Posted on Friday, July 5, 2024

About the Organization

Center for Community Alternatives (CCA) supports and builds power with people across New York State who have been affected by mass incarceration, criminalization and community disinvestment. Through a statewide network of direct services, advocacy and organizing, and by supporting the leadership of directly-impacted people, we advance civil and human rights for all New Yorkers.CCA works to build a world where everyone has what they need to thrive. This position will work in a nonprofit fund accounting environment, managing revenue and expense for all individual gifts. Institutional giving is managed by the Institutional Giving team.

Why Join the Team?

At CCA, we are committed to fair transparent pay, and we strive to provide competitive market-informed compensation. The successful candidate's salary is determined by the combination of knowledge, skills, competencies, experience, and geography. Our goal is to continue to make CCA one of the most desirable nonprofit places at which to work, and in part, recognize the importance of work-life balance.

Position Summary:

The Peer Navigator program, a pilot program started in 2022 by the Center for Community Alternatives, is intended to provide peer support and credible mentoring to youth ages 10-20 who have an open criminal or family court case, are incarcerated, or placed, or are transitioning back to the community after a period of incarceration or out of home placement. CCA is seeking individuals with lived experience of the criminal legal system, and who are or are willing to be trained as NYS certified peers [CRPA, CPS, etc]. The Peer Navigators will work under the direct supervision of the Project Director to provide intensive 1:1 peer support to at least 25 court involved youth each year. Peer Navigators will be responsible for frequent and continuing contact with their participants and families, as well as communicating as needed with school, legal, and court personnel. It is expected that at a minimum Peer Navigators will act as systems navigators, accompany youth to appointments [medical, mental health, educational, etc.], and to court dates, facilitate engagement with pro-social activities as proposed by the YAB, and engage with youth wherever they are, be that in community or visiting while detained or incarcerated. Each Peer Navigator will be responsible for creating and supporting their participants’ individualized goals, keeping accurate data, and other duties as assigned by the Project Director. Peer Navigator must be certified or willing to seek NYS Peer Certification [CRPA, CPS, etc] within 6 months of beginning employment, and complete additional training specific to the role of a “Peer Navigator” as such training becomes available. CCA will cover the costs of all required staff training during employment.

We seek talented, dedicated individuals who possess a strong commitment to CCA’s mission, including those with relevant personal experience in terms of court involvement.

Direct Supervisor: Project Director – Youth Services Rochester

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Working closely with the Project Director, provide peer support and systems navigation assistance to a small caseload of court-involved youth.
  • Help facilitate group activities and opportunities chosen by the YAB.
  • Obtain and manage all necessary consents from parents and guardians, maintain participant confidentiality.
  • Participate in ongoing professional development and training opportunities.
  • Maintain accurate record keeping via case files and designated computer database.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Project Director
  • Mentoring and Support: Providing one-on-one mentoring and emotional support to youth in various aspects of their lives.
  • Resource Navigation: Assisting youth in accessing and navigating available resources, including education, healthcare, housing, and social services.
  • Advocacy: Advocating on behalf of youth to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed by service providers, schools, and other institutions.
  • Life Skills Development: Offering guidance and coaching on developing essential life skills, such as budgeting, time management, communication, and conflict resolution.
  • Educational Support: Assisting with academic planning, setting educational goals, and helping youth stay on track with their studies.
  • Career Guidance: Providing information and advice on career options, job search strategies, resume building, and interview preparation.
  • Health and Wellness: Promoting physical and mental health by providing information on nutrition, exercise, stress management, and accessing mental health services.
  • Peer Support Groups: Facilitating or participating in peer support groups to create a sense of community and connection among youth.
  • Crisis Intervention: Being available to support youth during crises or emergencies and helping them access appropriate services when needed.
  • Goal Setting: Collaborating with youth to set achievable short-term and long-term goals and tracking progress toward these goals.
  • Youth Engagement: Encouraging youth participation in community activities, events, and social initiatives to promote personal growth and social integration.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Being aware of and respecting the diverse cultural backgrounds, identities, and values of the youth served.
  • Confidentiality: Ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of the youth's personal information and concerns.
  • Documentation: Maintaining accurate records of interactions and progress with each youth for program evaluation and reporting purposes.
  • Training and Development: Continuously improving one's own knowledge and skills through training and professional development opportunities.
  • Communication: Keeping open lines of communication with youth, their families, and relevant stakeholders to ensure a coordinated approach to supporting the youth.
  • Community Outreach: Collaborating with other organizations, schools, and community groups to expand access to resources and support for youth.
  • Empowerment: Encouraging youth to make informed decisions and take an active role in their own personal development.
  • Evaluation and Assessment: Periodically assessing the effectiveness of the peer navigation program and making recommendations for improvements.
  • Safety: Ensuring the safety and well-being of the youth, including reporting any concerns related to abuse, neglect, or unsafe living conditions to the appropriate authorities.


  • Prior experience working with and a commitment to at-risk youth including court-involved youth
  • Strong communication and advocacy skills
  • Demonstrated cultural competency
  • Ability and willingness to work flexible hours and work in school, home, and community settings
  • Valid NYS driver’s license and personal vehicle [frequent local travel required]
  • Bi-lingual skills a plus
  • Candidates with criminal records and/or lived experience with incarceration or foster care placement are highly encouraged to apply.
  • Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum educational requirement, although a college degree in a related field (e.g., social work, psychology, education) may be preferred.
  • Lived Experience: An important qualification for a peer navigator is having personal experience related to the challenges youth face, which may include having been involved with the criminal justice system or experiencing school suspension.
  • Clean NYS Driver's License: A requirement for this position is a valid New York State (NYS) driver's license. The license should be clean, indicating no major traffic violations or a history of accidents.
  • Dependable Transportation: The ability to provide dependable transportation is essential for meeting with youth and attending meetings and appointments. This may involve having a reliable vehicle and the means to maintain it.
  • Cultural Competency: Knowledge and sensitivity to the cultural backgrounds and identities of the youth served, with an understanding of the unique challenges they may face.
  • Excellent Communication Skills: Strong communication skills, including active listening, clear verbal and written communication, and the ability to establish rapport with youth.
  • Empathy and Compassion: A genuine desire to help and support youth, coupled with empathy and a non-judgmental attitude.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: The ability to assist youth in identifying and solving problems, setting goals, and making informed decisions
  • Advocacy Skills: The capacity to advocate on behalf of youth to ensure their needs are met and their rights are protected.
  • Crisis Intervention Skills: Proficiency in handling crises or emergencies, including the ability to remain calm under pressure and connect youth with appropriate services.
  • Confidentiality: A commitment to maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of the youth's personal information and issues.
  • Documentation and Record Keeping: The ability to maintain accurate records and documentation of interactions with youth, progress, and program-related information.
  • Teamwork: Collaboration with other professionals, organizations, and stakeholders involved in the care and support of youth.
  • Training and Certification: Completion of relevant training and certification programs, including any required certifications for working with youth.
  • Background Check: Most employers may require a criminal background check and child abuse clearance as a condition of employment.
  • Knowledge of Local Resources: Familiarity with available resources, services, and organizations within the community that can benefit youth.
  • Patience and Resilience: The ability to work with youth who may face significant challenges, and the patience to support them in their personal growth and development
  • Commitment to Professional Development: Willingness to continue learning and improving through ongoing professional development opportunities.


  • 12 paid holidays per year
  • 20 days of earned time off (ETO) for full-time staff, with ability to use after 90-days of employment.
  • Time off is earned starting on your first day.
  • 7 days of paid sick time
  • 100% paid family leave
  • 3% retirement contribution regardless of employee contribution, applicable to salary after the 1st 6 months of employment

CCA Website: HERE