Founded in 2003, Community Advocates for Family & Youth (CAFY) was established to minimize the impact the judicial had on children. CAFY build on the founder’s passion to help children who through no fault of their own had to provide testimony in the adult court.
Later, in 2005, when a public safety officer asked a volunteer at the Sexual Assault Center at the Prince George’s County Hospital if something could be done for the crime victims who were not receiving treatment at the hospital, CAFY’s victim services began. That volunteer was Arleen B. Joell, Founder and Executive Director of CAFY. The non-profit she formed in 2003 as a result of her passion and that encounter has evolved to the point that the organization was recently described by a highly respected County activist as a victim’s “social emergency room”.
Since gaining its official nonprofit incorporation in 2005, CAFY has been the only dedicated community-based victim service provider supporting PGPD. The nonprofit she formed started servicing sexual assault victims referred by the Prince George’s Police Department (PGDP). More than ten years later, CAFY serves all victims of crime and has been lauded by State and Local officials for the work done for the citizens of Prince George’s County.
CAFY’s purpose is to serve individual and family crime victims in Prince George’s County. Our mission is to embrace, educate, and empower those affected, impacted or harmed by crime on their journey to healing and justice. CAFY’s vision is to help victims of crime and their families become confident and empowered survivors who help to hold offenders accountable and increase family restoration and community awareness through continuous education. The goal is to give voice to the most vulnerable and voiceless citizens who lack knowledge of or resources to seek restitution for their victimization and provide therapeutic service for trauma caused by crime.
Meet the Director
Arleen B. Joell, founder of Community Advocates for Family & Youth (CAFY). Ms. Joell spent many years working as a volunteer in roles such as a domestic violence Crisis Hotline Counselor, Mentor with Big Brothers & Sisters Program, Teen Leader at the Boys & Girls Club, and a Victim Advocate. Currently, she volunteers in the Domestic Violence Ministry at her church.
Prior to CAFY, Ms. Joell worked with victims at Prince George’s Hospital’s Sexual Assault Center as an Exam Volunteer, Victim Advocate, then developed The Victim Advocacy Program and became its program’s coordinator. Now, with CAFY, in 2005 and 2010, respectively, she collaborated with the Prince George’s County and City of Laurel Police Departments to act as their victim services unit providing support and services to anyone impacted, harmed, or affected by any crime. Ms. Joell also orchestrated a partnership with the County’s Court Administration and its State Attorney’s office to conduct a unique Court Education Program for children, developed by her in 2003.
Prior to Her Victim Services Work
Ms. Joell worked for more than 20 years as a business and finance manager with the IBM and GE Corporations. Beginning her second phase after private industry she became the Jury Commissioner in the D.C. Superior Court. She has used her business experience as an adjunct instructor at Prince George’s Community College teaching practical work ethic and skills to high school graduates. She is currently a certified Family Mediator, a skill she uses at CAFY to conduct “Family Dialogue Sessions”. She is a member of the Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the National Crime Prevention Council. Ms. Joell, an emergency placement foster parent also served on the board for Maryland Network against Domestic Violence and as the Southern Regional Representative and Board Member for the Maryland Association for Victim Service Providers. She is now active in the County’s Domestic Fatality Review Team, Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Statewide Homicide Survivor Network.
She has presented at several key conferences – “Safe Harbor” hosted by the Prince Georges County State’s Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Unit, and National Organization for Victim Assistance’s (NOVA) North American Victim Assistance Conference and Maryland Association of Resources for Family & Youth (MARFY) Conference. She has worked with the Mentoring Network, Inc. to train social workers to be “Effective Witnesses”. Ms. Joell presents annually at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden’s Red Flag Conference to raise awareness about domestic violence and resources in the community and at the National Aerospace Retiree Conference on Elder Abuse. Most recently she presented at the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health on a personal cause she believe is a national epidemic – “Adverse Childhood Trauma”. She continues to be involved as an Advocate in her current role as CEO and conduct numerous trainings with other faith-based and local organizations focused on reducing the impact of crime.
Awards and Recognition
She was awarded the Governor’s Victim Assistance Award for outstanding victim services. In 2006 she was selected by National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) as one of the nation’s 32 leaders to create a teen victimization campaign. Under her leadership, in 2006 CAFY became an approved site for the President’s National Volunteer Service Award and Volunteers in Policing Service Programs, in 2007 CAFY received a U.S. Senator’s Citation for raising public awareness about youth violence and in 2008 Ms. Joell received recognition from Prince George’s County’s Housing Department for her work in local neighborhoods to educate community residents on victim rights and services. 2014 she was awarded the Good Neighbor Award from the Prince George’s County State Attorney’s Office for her work on reducing trauma associated with crime. 2016, Ms. Joell was named “Woman of the Year” by the Southern Prince George’s County – Business Professional Women organization and received a national award from Foundation for Improvement of Justice for her development of “Kiddie Court”.
Ms. Joell is married with two adult daughters. She is a certified para-Legal, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, and her MBA from the University of Maryland.
Board of Directors
2014 – 2019
- Arleen B. Joell,
President & Executive Director
- Tallulah Anderson,
Marketing Manager – MedStar, DC; 2016 – 2018
- Stan Brown, Esq.,
- Elaine Moore,
Major Police Department; 2015 – 2017
- Darryl Fitch,
Manager, SunTrust Bank; 2017-2019
- Florena Carter,
Master Patrol Officer, Washington Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC; 2016 – 2018
- Marjorie Lawson,
Systems Analyst, Xerox Corporation, Washington, DC; 2016 – 2018
- Genia Reaves,
Director of Security, National Museum of Art; 2016 – 2018
- Kay Niles,
Project Manager, Bank of America, Upper Marlboro, MD; 2015 – 2017
- Anne Wiseman,
Mental Health Therapist, Lanham, MD; 2015 – 2017
- Pamela Holman,
Community Relations Liaison, PEPCO; 2015 – 2017
- Laura Joell,
Paralegal, Oliff PLC; 2016 – 2018
- Wanda Smith,
Accountant II, PGC Board of Education; 2016 – 2018 Ex-Officio Member & Advisor
- Gary E. Cunningham;
Prince George’s Environmental Services, Largo, MD & Retired PGPD Officer
“It’s about 6pm, Saturday, and I had to call and say today’s court education session was very instructive. I received a lot of good information on court room etiquette, and to have the support of my case manager leading up to this session has been wonderful. I feel very good about the service.”