June 2015

islesWorks in June



Board of Trustees


Michele Minter
Linda Revelle
Ronald Stark 
Nora Brennan
Barbara Coe
Rachel Cogsville-Lattimer
Stuart Essig

Kathleen Fitzpatrick 

Steven Goodell
Ian Goldstein
Robert Harris

Jacquelyn León
Sean Jackson
Oye Olukotun
Sa Mut Scott

Ronald B. Stark 
Thomas Sullivan
Tracey Syphax
Calvin Thomas
Rolando Torres 


Thanks for your

service to Isles!


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Dear Friends,

On June 23rd, we celebrate the 20th Isles Youth Institute graduation! I fondly remember the decision, just over 21 years ago, to create Isles' YouthBuild, where disconnected 16-24 year olds can grow, learn construction skills, earn a high school degree and renovate homes in the city. 

Over 1,000 students have benefited from IYI. From the beginning, we believed that the secret to success would be the students themselves, who would take ownership over their own future, and responsibility for their own choices. As a result, we constantly quote an old saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher arrives."

IYI is a place that challenges, supports, and involves young people and their families. We offer wise, effective teachers for that moment when students choose to learn. 

The lessons of IYI, in the classroom, at job sites, or on the many field trips they take, are designed to last. Students learn that they are part of a caring group of thoughtful people that is bigger than any of us. 

As our graduates step into the world, future students will take their place.  When these students are ready, this year's graduates will be the teachers who arrive.


With gratitude and in community,


Marty Johnson 
Isles Youth Institute 20th Commencement 

The 20th Isles Youth Institute Commencement Ceremony will take place on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, at 10:30 AM at The Hibernian Club in Hamilton Square, NJ. Commencement will include an awards ceremony, student speeches, and a reception to follow. An audience of families, teachers, friends, and other supporters, including Trenton's Mayor Eric Jackson, is expected to attend. 

The commencement ceremony is the culmination of a year's worth of academic and job training for students at Isles Youth Institute (IYI), our alternative school that emphasizes leadership development and civic engagement for students who have dropped out of traditional high school. IYI students participate in after-school activities and volunteer extensively in the community. With a focus on their future, we work with students to help them develop careers and apply to college.

Isles started New Jersey's first YouthBuild in 1995, which has evolved into Isles Youth Institute. Since then, more than 1,000 young people have benefited from Isles Youth Institute.

"While being enrolled at Isles Youth Institute I have studied and learned many things. Now, over the course of 6 months I have noticed one important thing between studying for my diploma and learning from my teachers. That important thing is that once you have earned your diploma, it is only the first step. I have already completed the first step. My next step will be college and hopefully beyond," says Anibal Croux, a 2015 graduate.

"Our students have worked hard, overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and have proven to be resilient young people," notes Stacy Felder, Director of Isles Youth Institute. "We wish them well as they continue on their path to success. Onward and upward!"

 Commencement will be open to the public. If  you would like to attend, please let us know by calling Ms. Cherie Hooks at 609.341.4751.



Meet Millie Mendez and Stacy Felder of Isles Youth Services 




Ms. Millie Mendez joined Isles in March 2015 as the Managing Director of Isles Youth Services. Before coming to Isles, Millie was the Director of the Safe Options Project at A Woman's Place (AWP), an advocacy organization for victims of domestic violence. Her previous work includes nonprofit management, advocacy and outreach at A Woman's Place, Community Options in Princeton, and at The Lighthouse, a multi-service organization in Philadelphia.

Millie has devoted her career to helping individuals and families work through life challenges by developing relevant services. As she describes, "I am committed to implementing educational, vocational and health services for at-risk youth as part of Isles' mission to foster self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities. My goal is to continually expand Isles' services to reach all at-risk youth in the Trenton area."

Ms. Stacy Felder came to Isles in April 2015 as the Director of Isles Youth Institute. Stacy has 20 years of experience in education and training, including as a Director within the Edison Job Corps Academy and a professor at Rutgers University and Essex County College. In these positions, she led programs and recruiting efforts within alternative education schools to benefit at-risk students.

Stacy tells us, "I was drawn to Isles' mission and vision of helping at-risk youth, which I see as parallel to my own mission to implement a holistic approach to the education of at-risk youth and to community development. If you assist a student you have the ability to impact a family, and to impact a community."


Millie and Stacy are both excited to expand services offered to youth at Isles, as well as increase the number of youth served. Stay tuned to future updates on Isles Youth Institute and related services!


Isles, Inc.
10 Wood Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08618