CYLAB, an organization in Camden, addresses justice reform to decrease juvenile arrests. CYLAB is an opportunity for local high school students to expand their minds to four principles of the program: Law, Ownership, Knowledge Of Self (Self Awareness), And Community. These principles are a foundation to build their future and prepare for today’s uncertain society.
Anthony Ways, born and raised in Camden, founded CYLAB. “As a teenager, I was falsely accused of murder and was sentenced to 40 years to life. It took me 15 years to prove my innocence and the four principles that CYLAB was built on is what helped me secure my freedom,” Ways told us. “I wanted to build a program that would help prevent my situation from happening to my future community.”
Anthony Ways’ Journey chronicles how Ways was falsely accused of murder and what set him free. He was falsely identified in a cross racial murder in 1989. His faith and his self-taught knowledge of law with the help of investigators, lawyers and many supporters helped secure his freedom, and law enforcement finally identified the real shooter.
CYLAB is only a year old, and throughout it has seen about 30 to 40 high schoolers come through to learn more and participate, however it struggles with getting local youth to attend and commit to the program due to transportation and program hours.
Camden business leaders volunteer their expertise to CYLAB. “We are always looking for people who have mastered one of the four principles to teach, assist and advise. We have had many lawyers, doctors, business owners and community activists train on certain topics,” he said. “We would love to have more people get involved and to also get more of our youth involved. We need the community to help us gather the youth.”
Dare Academy currently serves as the headquarters for CYLAB, but Ways said they plan on using local community centers to reach the youth in their specific areas. CYLAB hopes to have the program in the Whitman Park, Centerville, North Camden, Downtown and East Camden sections of the city.
CPAC has been a partner in some of their projects and has helped with covering costs and expenses for servicing CYLAB youth.
With expanding their program, they are looking to add coding and digital media to the roster. If anyone masters either skill or can assist in these areas, contact CYLAB via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.