Bernard Avery grew up in the City of Philadelphia and has lived there his whole life. Bernard wanted to study counseling psychology and criminal justice as an undergraduate because, coming from the city, he was interested in helping troubled youth and others who suffer disadvantages within the city limits. Bernard is dedicated to working with people one-on-one to provide better opportunities through the juvenile and criminal justice system and in inner-city schools.
While studying counseling psychology, Bernard began to realize that he wanted to help people from a broader perspective. Many people in the inner city endure similar struggles and Bernard wants to approach these issues from a community perspective. He decided to join the public policy program in Fall of 2016 because he wanted to learn about the tools needed to address these issues at a community level. Bernard believes the program has helped him develop skills that are perfect for supporting and helping people within struggling communities.
Bernard recognizes that a lot of people are limited in many different ways. Bernard believes that stronger communities are built by developing policies that support people who lack opportunities. To do this, policies should be developed that provide better opportunities through prison release programs, special needs and mental health facilities, and education and training services within the city. Bernard wants to see more, better, and different ways to address these issues and support disadvantaged people through public policy.
In the past, Bernard has written research papers and policy analysis’ on mass incarceration, mandatory sentencing, and reentry programs. He wants to gain a better understanding of criminal behavior, non-verbal and verbal behavior, aggressive behaviors and other behaviors that can be studied to make sense of why people make the decisions that they make. For Bernard, understanding these behaviors more thoroughly will motivate him to push for the proper support needed by the people who are dealing with these issues.
Currently, Bernard is working with MVP 360, a Non-Profit organization run throughout the Philadelphia area. MVP 360 is an organization that works with youth who would traditionally be excluded from organized sports due to lack of ability, resources and/or competitive drive. The organization provides them with the opportunity to experience all the advantages of team sports including physical, social, emotional, and academic benefits.
Following graduation in May 2018, Bernard plans to stay in the law and criminal justice field. He could see himself working for a law firm of public defenders, analyzing criminal justice data, and working as a community leader by providing outreach programs and opportunities and community events.
Bernard is a dedicated individual who believes in making a difference for those living in disadvantaged communities. He knows that these challenges will involve a lot of hard work, but hard work is not a novel concept for Bernard. In fact, for the past two years, Bernard has served as the assistant coach for DelVal’s football team. For DelVal, one of the top seasons in program history came to a heartbreaking end as did a school-record 16-game winning streak. The Aggies finished with a 12-1 record, a Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) championship, a ranking as high as fifth in the country and the school’s third trip to the NCAA quarterfinals (2004 and 2005). With a record-breaking year like that, it is easy to see that Bernard is willing and eager to rise to any challenge set before him.