About Jessica Younts
Jessica joined the FRRC almost 6 years ago. She was the Founder of NSU’s Law Children and Families Clinic- Education Advocacy Program, which served as a general Education Advocacy and RTI Advocacy Department for children and young adults in need of legal services. She has been volunteering for “Guardian Ad Litem Program” regularly for almost 8 years. She served on the ABA Criminal Justice Committee for 2 years. Like Desmond, she too is determined to make a positive change.
Ms. Chiappone is the current Vice- President of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. As a single mother raising two outstanding young boys, Ms. Chiappone was able to obtain her law degree from Nova Southeastern University. Ms. Chiappone has since passed the New York Bar Exam and is currently pursuing her Ph.D.
Ms. Chiappone is respected among her peers and is well known in her community for her dedication and advocacy for disadvantaged youth and in the area of re-entry services and rights for impacted individuals.
While attending law school, Ms. Chiappone was appointed by the American Bar Association as Law Student Division Liaison to the Criminal Justice Section’s Juvenile Justice Committee in both 2009 and again in 2010. Included in her work with the ABA, Ms. Chiappone researched various aspects of the collateral consequences of juvenile adjudications and drafted research summaries for a proposed policy that was subsequently adopted as an official ABA policy. Due to her dedication and hard work with the Juvenile Justice Committee, Ms. Chiappone was awarded ABA LSD Outstanding Liaison Award in 2010.
Ms. Chiappone was also appointed by the American Bar Association as a Law Student Division 5th Circuit Lt. Governor for a Pre-Release/ Reentry Initiative. Ms. Chiappone created a Volunteer Re-entry program in conjunction with Broward County Sheriff’s Office which enabled law students to assist Broward County Sheriff’s Office in providing Re-Entry Services to individuals set for release from local jails. Due to Ms.Chiappone(s) hard work and dedication in the area of re-entry, she was the recipient of the ABA LSD Silver Key Award in 2011.
During Ms. Chiappone(s) last year in law school, she created the General Education Advocacy Program Nova Southeastern University Children and Families Clinic. This program initially was created to represent children in the education system that were facing suspension and/or expulsion. This program is not only still running, but has expanded to help children with various other educational issues as well as representing children aging out of foster care that are being denied future benefits. Upon graduation Ms. Chiappone was the recipient of the Honorable Charles I. Kaplan Outstanding Service Award for the development of the General Education Advocacy Program.
While in law school, Ms. Chiappone also managed to take on leadership positions in a variety of law school activities and groups including, but not limited to, Criminal Law Society- Vice President; Public Interest Law Society- Vice President; Phi Alpha Delta- Co-Vice Justice; Italian American Law School Association- Vice President; Student Bar Initiative- Secretary; Law Student Advisor, and member of the Pro Bono Honor Program.
For undergrad, Ms. Chiappone attended St. John’s University, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. While attending St. John’s, Ms. Chiappone was on the Dean’s List and was the recipient of the National Law Enforcement Scholarship Award and the Arthur B. Carton Scholarship Award. She was also a member of Alpha Phi Sigma (National Criminal Justice Honor Society) and the National Criminal Justice Association.
Ms. Chiappone has refused to let a society labeled status as an ex-offender, stop her from achieving immeasurable accomplishments and helping pave the way for those who choose to follow in her footsteps and not let their past be an excuse for not working towards a brighter future. Ms. Chiappone continues to work hard to break down the barriers and extensive limitations her status places upon her, so that each and every one of us can have a chance to succeed.