In the tradition of The Other Wes Moore and Just Mercy, a searing memoir and clarion call to save our at-risk youth by a young black man who himself was a lost cause—until he landed in a rehabilitation program that saved his life and gave him purpose.
Born into abject poverty in Haiti, young Jim St. Germain moved to Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, into an overcrowded apartment with his family. He quickly adapted to street life and began stealing, dealing drugs, and growing increasingly indifferent to despair and violence. By the time he was arrested for dealing crack cocaine, he had been handcuffed more than a dozen times. At the age of fifteen the walls of the system were closing around him.
But instead of prison, St. Germain was placed in "Boys Town," a nonsecure detention facility designed for rehabilitation. Surrounded by mentors and positive male authority who enforced a system based on structure and privileges rather than intimidation and punishment, St. Germain slowly found his way, eventually getting his GED and graduating from college. Then he made the bravest decision of his life: to live, as an adult, in the projects where he had lost himself, and to work to reform the way the criminal justice system treats at-risk youth.
A Stone of Hope is more than an incredible coming-of-age story; told with a degree of candor that requires the deepest courage, it is also a rallying cry. No one is who they are going to be—or capable of being—at sixteen. St. Germain is living proof of this. He contends that we must work to build a world in which we do not give up on a swath of the next generation.
Passionate, eloquent, and timely, illustrated with photographs throughout, A Stone of Hope is an inspiring challenge for every American, and is certain to spark debate nationwide.
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Jim St. Germain is the co-founder of PLOT. Jim has an associate degree in human services from the Borough of Manhattan Community College and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Jim works with juvenile justice-involved youth and their families in New York City. He is on the Board of the National Juvenile Defender Center and was recently appointed by President Barack Obama to the Coordinator Council on Juvenile and Justice Delinquency Prevention (CCJJ).
Previously, Jim was a youth care worker at a juvenile facility, where he was once a resident. Additionally, Jim was a youth advocate for young people living with mental illness at the Mental Health Association, Inc. and a member of New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services Youth Advisory Council.
Jim has worked with countless local, state and federal officials advising on matters related to juvenile justice, mentoring, mental health, substance abuse, and educational issues.
In addition to those mentioned above, some notables Jim has worked with include former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia, and Junior Senator from Connecticut Chris Murphy, to name a few.
Jim has overcome many obstacles in his young life. His passion for public service comes from his life experiences and his sense of personal responsibility to his community. He speaks three languages: English, French and his native Creole. Most importantly, Jim is a dedicated father to his young son, Caleb.