How It All Started
Dr. Surajit Khanna has always had a passion for helping others which drove him to be an attorney. His experiences as a dad and a lawyer brought to light the many struggles facing the youth in our country. As a result of his friendship with Clem Yeboah, the founder of Voice of the Kids, Dr. Khanna felt called to step out from the shadows and become an advocate for youth. Through this involvement, he recognized that one of the largest issues facing the future of America is the fate of young people who have interacted with the juvenile justice system; this includes both the foster care system and law enforcement. He realized that these young individuals often came out of the system with no guidance or plan in place.
Dr. Khanna focused his energy on helping post-incarcerated young adults. As he traveled across the country, he continued to hear similar stories. Young adults released from prison struggled to have the necessary support to help them enter back into a productive lifestyle in society. They would hit roadblocks, were made to feel voiceless, and found themselves lost, often returning to a life of crime, prison, or even suicide.
Through this desire to make a difference, he learned about the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1974 (reauthorized in 2018). With an understanding of this Act, he founded Surajit Khanna's Post Incarceration Justice Initiative, Inc, which is referenced as Dr. Khanna’s Returning Youth Initiative. Through his research, he recognized that little if anything was being done to address the needs of individuals following their release. He wanted to give a voice to the voiceless and assist the post-incarcerated young adults by providing them the building blocks necessary for success. With a strong team of like-minded individuals and strategic collaborations with outside businesses and organizations, Dr. Khanna has created a structure that addresses everything from housing, medical and psychological needs, educational training, life skills development, community engagement, mentoring, job placement assistance, and beyond. The Returning Youth Initiative is multi-faceted with its Safe Haven Community Centers, Home of Hope housing, and structured programs, which provide the Returning Youth participants a successful roadmap to create a self-sustaining, productive life. Dr. Khanna is rolling out this replicable model throughout all 50 states so that all of the 3142 counties in our country feel the impact.
Through Dr. Surajit Khanna’s relationship with the Voice of The Kids Inc. (a 501 (c)(3) organization), which provides a voice to the voiceless youth in America, he partnered to implement his initiative. Surajit Khanna’s Post Incarceration Justice Initiative, Inc. (in short, Dr. Khanna's Returning Youth Initiative) assists young adults released from prison by providing them the stepping stones to be reintegrated into society.
We work with individuals who are pursuing a new and productive life after being released. They will learn life skills, be provided employment assistance, and pursue education or career training, which will help them remain off the streets and away from a life of crime to lead a rewarding new life. We established our very first "Safe Haven" Community Center in Hamilton, Montana (Ravalli county) and "Home of Hope'' in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. This initiative is currently strategically rolling out to all 50 states. This is being done through partnerships with community-based organizations, DA’s offices, law enforcement, and the court systems.
Dr. Khanna’s vision is to reduce the recidivism rate in our country while ensuring these young adults are placed on a path of success. The goal is to provide them with career training and not simply just a job. He wants to break the pattern of rearrest by providing these individuals with real hope and confidence in themselves to establish a self-sustaining life. Khanna's initiative provides participants with housing, life skills, educational training support, medical and psychological evaluations, job placement assistance, and structured, proven programs giving them the building blocks to their new life.
DR. SURAJIT KHANNA - Founder
Dr. Surajit Khanna is an attorney and youth advocate that launched the Dr. Surajit Khanna’s Post Incarceration Juvenile Justice Reformation Act Initiative now referred to as Dr. Khanna’s Returning Youth Initiative. This came about from meeting a young gentleman that was arrested as a juvenile and incarcerated as an adult. As he worked to help him, Dr. Khanna was shocked to see the struggles this young gentleman was experiencing and provided him with a job in his law firm as a stepping stone. It was through this that Dr. Khanna knew he had to do something that would truly make a difference. This is when he learned about the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1974 that was updated in 2018 and wanted to become involved. He is currently working to roll his Initiative to every state in our county and positively impact all 3142 counties in the United States.
CLEM YEBOAH - Executive Board President and Treasurer
Mr. Clem A. Yeboah is a Certified Public Accountant with extensive experience in providing strategic leadership to enterprises in their formative stages and has extensive experience helping non-profit organizations. He has been in internal Executive positions as VP of Finance and Administration; an external Auditor auditing numerous organizations; and a Management Consultant. He is extremely familiar with issues impacting children and youth, as well as current solutions or lack thereof. Mr. Yeboah is the President and Founder of Voice of the Kids, Inc., a New York 501 (c) (3) organization that focuses on issues affecting children and young adults.
Since 2007, he has been operating a financial accounting and tax services company in Spring Valley, New York. Through his company, Mr. Yeboah provided guidance to ATAX Franchise, Inc when it launched in 2007 as the first Latino-owned Franchise Company in the Tax Preparation, Payroll, and Bookkeeping industries and one of the fastest-growing franchise companies in the nation.
Prior to that, he was a senior-level Information Technology Consultant, working with Fortune 50 companies in designing and implementing post-merger/acquisitions financial systems.
He also holds an MS degree in Taxation from Bernard M Baruch College, a Graduate Diploma in Financial Management from Research Institute in Management, Delft Holland, and is a Project Management Professional
SHARON MILLER - Executive Board Vice President and Director of Marketing
Sharon Miller is the Founder and CEO of Extend Marketing Partners which is a Google Partner Company helping businesses grow using the power of Google's business marketing tools. She is a people person and takes great pride in partnering with like-minded individuals as she has grown her business. Sharon is proud of how her company works to truly become a partner in their client’s businesses and learn the "Why" of its history and the path they are traveling for the future.
Prior to starting her Google marketing company Sharon owned a business consulting firm for 15 years, working primarily with start-up and mid-size growth companies. She has brought this desire to understand the full picture of a company to her marketing firm.
Sharon is also a motivational speaker on The Power of Positive Perception. She understands that life throws you curveballs and you have a choice to find that positive side of the experiences. Through her own life and interaction with others, she realized that she had a gift that made a difference that made a lasting positive impact on the lives of others. She feels a purpose to share her joy and strengths with those around her to add value to their lives and influence them to do amazing things.
MICHAEL AJZENMAN - Exective Board Secretary and Director of Operation
Mr. Michael Ajzenman has over thirty years of experience in progressively challenging financial and compliance positions. These positions have included 20 years serving as the President of a stock transfer firm, where he was able to gain a vast spread of knowledgeable information and first-hand experience.
In close relation, he has a comprehensive skill set of compliance issues specifically pertaining to financial operations. His extensive background in conveying complex information to large audiences possessing varying levels of knowledge has allowed him to stand out from the rest. In addition, he has frequent interaction with regulators, attorneys, and accountants.
RAFAEL ALVAREZ - Executive Director
Mr. Rafael Alvarez is the Executive Director of Dr. Khanna Returning Youth Initiative. He is the former CEO and Founder of ATAX Franchise “The first Latino-owned Tax Preparation Franchise in the US '' which he founded in 1986 with $200, two computers, and a fax machine. Mr. Alvarez has a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and a minor in Accounting from the City University of New York and is an Alumni of the Latino Business Action Network at The Stanford University Business Graduate School.
He is a philanthropist and an active member of his community in Washington Heights in NYC. Alvarez helped organize the 2007 Dominican parade in New York City. He also served as a board member of the Ethics Committee at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the Treasurer of The Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance The Guardian Angels.
Rafael Alvarez has been widely applauded for his efforts, earning several distinguished honors, including:
- “The New York City Cristal Apple” presented by New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg during the Dominican Heritage Celebration – 2007
- The Red Beret Award from The Guardian Angels - 2011
- El Award from El Diario La Prensa (recognizing the hard work of prominent Latino Leaders in New York City) – 2012
USA Today’s Top 50 Franchises for Minority – 2013
- Franchise Business Review Best of the Best Franchises – 2014
- The International Franchise Association (IFA) recognized ATAX’s CEO and founder Rafael Alvarez as the recipient of their most prestigious diversity and inclusion award, the 2015 Ronald E Harrison Diversity Award. Given to organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to minorities in franchising, either within their franchise organization or within the franchise community as a whole. The Ronald E Harrison Award speaks volumes about the core values of Mr. Alvarez.
- Recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the most influential Latinx Franchisors in 2020.