Kelly Williams, Editor in Chief
Kelly Williams is an author and former TV news reporter who serves as chief communications officer for Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. She has an extensive background in national nonprofit leadership, multicultural engagement marketing and international corporate communications. Kelly has a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University in Missouri.
Ryanne Persinger, Co-editor
Ryanne Persinger is a journalist with a broad range of communications experience. Prior to joining YAP as senior manager of communications, she was a marketing and communications coordinator at a technical college. She also worked in Harrisburg, Pa. as a media specialist for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Democratic Caucus. Ryanne’s work has appeared in newspapers in Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Visalia and Tulare, communities in her home state of California.
Jeff Fleischer, Opinion
As Chief Executive Officer, Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., Jeff Fleischer leads the only nonprofit exclusively dedicated to providing alternatives to youth incarceration and other out-of-home placement while advocating for youth justice and child welfare systems change. Under his leadership, YAP has seen significant growth now serving more than 100 communities in 24 states and the District of Columbia –and growing as more communities look for time-tested alternatives to youth prison and institutionalization for young people with autism and intellectual disabilities. Jeff has dedicated his entire career to empowering young people facing challenges with tools to succeed. In his home state of New Jersey, his advocacy led to passage of the Bring Our Children Home Act, which ended the state’s practice of sending youth to out-of-state institutions and encouraged safe family and community-based alternatives. In the 1970s and 1980s, he developed programs serving gang-involved youth in Newark, and in the 1990s, he developed effective gang intervention programs for youth involved in the Bloods, Crips and Latin King conflicts in Fort Worth, TX. Jeff serves on the board of directors of the National Human Service Assembly and is the Chair of the National Collaboration for Youth. Jeff earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in social work from Rutgers University. He also received a certificate in Global Change Agents from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Selected News Features/Op-eds