UP Partnership’s K12 and Justice team works with community partners to move Bexar County’s K12 and Justice ecosystems from a punitive to restorative paradigm, as well as broadening the pathways to postsecondary success for justice-involved youth, opportunity youth and foster youth.
Specifically, the team works to establish a system with various partners to expand healing, restorative practices and the quality of programming for boys and young men of color through the My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio (MBKSA) network and the Restorative Practices Collaborative (RPC).
The mission of MBKSA is simple — to remove systematic barriers to safety, education and career success, ensuring that boys and young men of color have a path to postsecondary success. The work, however, is ongoing.
The purpose of the RPC is to change systems to scale restorative justices in classrooms and communities to increase a sense of belonging and connection for boys and young men of color.
RPC particularly strengthens relationships and provides alternative methods of discipline practices through a comprehensive, focused, community driven strategy. The team works with long-term partners, American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions and Empower House, to deliver Community Building Circles to school districts such as Judson ISD, Harlandale ISD, San Antonio ISD and East Central ISD.
The team spearheading the work of MBKSA and RPC consists of John “JJ” Jacobs, Director of K12 and Justice, Suzette Solorzano, Senior Manager of Coaching and Facilitation, and Tyler Radwin, Manager: Community Engagement.
John Jacobs “JJ” is originally from Tacoma, Washington where he grew up with four brothers including his fraternal twin. He is the son of a pastor. JJ played basketball, ran track, participated in the drama club and competed collegiately with his high school choir.
He graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications studies. He went on to obtain his Master’s of Science is Leadership from Northeastern University and is currently a doctoral candidate at Walden University.
Married eleven years, with a seven year old son and baby girl on the way, John enjoys eating (“too much”), traveling, singing and running.
John’s advice to all is “Good, better, best, never let it rest until the good is better and the better is best.”
In a previous life, Suzette Solorzano was an elementary school teacher for over 23 years. She is the mother of three children and has been married for 26 years. She is obsessed with thrifting, enjoys life to the fullest and she refuses to grow up.
Suzette’s advice to all is “Life is BEAUTIFUL! Live it on your own terms — you don’t get a do over.”
Tyler Radwin is the newest member of the team, having joined UP Partnership in Nov. 2022.
In his own words, “Somebody once told me I have a ‘natural love of life’ and I feel like that really embodies me. I will always be the one to find the silver lining and a reason to be grateful even when the situation is bleak. While I can’t play an instrument, music powers my life. I am listening to music every chance I get and utilize it to maintain the pace of my day.”
If Tyler could be any dinosaur he would, without any hesitation, be an Ankylosaurus because it has always resonated with him. According to Tyler, they may not be the “coolest” dinosaur but they will always be his favorite.
Learn more information about My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio and the Restorative Practices Collaborative here or donate to the work here.
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