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“I call it ‘Ridley’s Reversal Theory.’ You’ve got to help these kids backwards plan. They won’t engage unless you’ve connected them with the end goal.”


Don’t assume everyone thinks and works the same.

Janelle Ridley is a Director of Strategic Initiatives for the City of Boston whose work focuses on justice-involved youth.

Janelle shared with us how she coaches the young people she works with. She described her stance: the tough love, pushing them to do more for themselves, as well as the consistency, continuing to show up for them as too many people in their lives have not. She talked about how factors like repeated trauma and interrupted education have impacted how these young folks think, work, and plan, making it challenging for them to be successful with more standard approaches.

Janelle reminds us that there are many stakeholders who don’t work in the professionalized, linear ways that many of us have become accustomed to.

The project: Summer of Hope brings together colleges and universities around Boston to provide an experience for young people in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office Juvenile Alternative Resolution program. Agncy facilitated a week of the programming, working with the young people to explore mapping as a design and storytelling tool.
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