Pedro was born in Jersey City, NJ to teenage parents. After the death of his father he had to deal with his mother being addicted to drugs. His life took a turn for the worse. A life of crime steered by the need to survive was his youth experience. In and out detention center and county jail lead him deeper into a hopeless life. He then became a teen father and began to seek a better life, but felt there was no way out. It wasn’t till he had an encounter with God that his eyes were opened and his hope was restored. He went on to marry Gedy, the woman who invited him to a church service and through difficult challenges they learned to overcome and pursue their calling. They later moved to Florida where they got connected to juvenile justice ministry and their passion, life experience, and leadership lead them to launch Urban Youth Justice in 2019. UYJ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves youth involved in the juvenile justice system throughout the Central Region of Florida.
Growth and transformation
To facilitate growth and transformation that will alter the outcome of their future. Creating opportunities for justice -involved to be mentored and trained to become leaders in their communities.
To empower justice-involved youth
With the message of hope, so they can become who God created them to be.
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS
Pedro and Gedia have been married for 21 years but have been together since 1994. Both grew up fatherless and became close friends as they shared much of the same painful experiences. Due to a criminal history in his youth he struggled to find employment and had to work jobs that would pay the bare minimum. In 2012, He began to pursue his education and career in Counseling and Human Services. In 2014, Gedia began to pursue her education in Human Services. Pedro has since graduated with a Master’s degree and is now studying for his Doctoral degree in Transformational Leadership. Pedro and Gedia are together leading a team of men and women who are passionate about serving the most vulnerable youth in the communities they serve.
Board of Directors
Dezerae M. Betancourt, Esq, a Cooley Graduate, is the founder of Faith Legal Aid. She focuses on Family Law with a concentration in Narcissistic Divorces, Appeals, and Contracts. She started the company to help those in need of legal assistance by offering many different avenues to achieve their goal no matter their financial circumstances. Dezerae was born and raised in Connecticut, but moved to the Tampa Bay area in 2008. She is most known for her compassion for her clients' situations and aggressively fighting for what they deserve. When she isn’t in the office, Dezerae can be found doing ministry work with her local church or ministry partners and attending Christian Hip Hop concerts. When you need true legal navigation, she's who you want in your corner.
Adrian Mays was born March 30th, 1974 in Toledo, Ohio raised just 45 minutes from the Detroit Michigan state line. Adrian graduated 1993 from Roy C Start High School and accepted a basketball scholarship at Clark State Community College in Springfield OH. It was at Clark State he began his studies in Business Management, Accounting and Taxation.
In 2003 he moved to Bradenton, Florida and started his own Accounting and Tax business, “Rapid Return Business and Tax Services” now “RR Services”. Despite some adversities He managed to keep his doors open for 15 plus years to date while expanding his services to Payroll, Bookkeeping, Website and Mobile Application design.
Adrian is an accomplished Basketball Coach, Mentor, DJ and Transformational Speaker. His experiences have led him through the ranks of several management and Leadership positions and a mild traveled list of over 6 countries. He now resides happily married in Bradenton Florida.
Joe is the founder and Executive Director of Mobilepreacher.org. He is also the Executive Director of the Nightlife Center, a division of Mobilepreacher.org that focuses on taking the message of Hope and Redemption to hurting students that churches can't reach. Joe is also the lead pastor at GraceLife Sarasota, a two time published author, speaker, and entrepreneur who has started several businesses and non profit organizations.
Frank Jones is a Mentor/Counselor/Advocate for youth. He was born and raised in Bronx NY, and has 30 years of experience working with at-risk youth in different levels of care and facilities. Currently, Frank leads a Juvenile Detention Center ministry here in Tampa FL for the past 5 years, committed through seeing young people discover, develop, and display Jesus Christ in every area of their life. He is connected to Crossover Church in Tampa, who supports their ministry.
Originally from Tampa, Geoff planted Harbor Community Church in Bradenton with his wife Amy and their three children Connar, Cade, and Charis. He also serves on board of Florida Church Planting Network. When not involved in church, neighborhood, or children’s sporting events, you can find him on the water fishing.
Chad has served in the ordained ministry for the past fifteen years, both in Rhode Island and Florida. He is passionate about sharing and living out the gospel, and leading God’s people to do the same. His vision for gospel ministry includes both evangelism and discipleship. Chad loves the idea of healthy, gospel-centered churches planting more churches. Chad currently serves as Associate Pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Bradenton. He lives in Bradenton with his wife, Roberta, three of his five children, and his mother-in-law. He enjoys reading and family time. Chad is a graduate of Providence College and Trinity School for Ministry.
We regularly partner with youth restoration and behavioral facilities, programs, and departments across the state. Here are a few of the groups that will often work directly with us.