Jim St. Germain is the co-founder of Preparing Leaders of Tomorrow, Inc. (PLOT), a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring to at-risk and formerly incarcerated youth. Early in his career, St. Germain worked as a Youth Care Counselor at the same Boys Town juvenile detention facility in New York City where he was once a resident. Additionally, he worked as an advocate for young people living with mental health issues at the Mental Health Association. St. Germain served on the Youth Advisory Council of New York State’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, and is currently a board member with The National Juvenile Defender’s Center (NJDC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting justice for all children by ensuring excellence in juvenile defense. In July 2017, St. Germain’s book A Stone of Hope: A Memoir (Harper) will debut.
Born into abject poverty in Haiti, young 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.
St. Germain is a compelling motivational speaker and adviser to several government entities working with at risk youth, including the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, SAMSHA and the Children’s Defense Fund–NY. He has also appeared in Washington D.C. for President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and submitted a proposal of recommendations to the Justice Department and the President. St. Germain has worked with Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Governor Cuomo on important community matters, including reducing gun violence, close-to-home Initiative, child welfare and Raise the Age. He was a member Vera’s Institute of Justice Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s Reengineering Team, which focuses on collaborative efforts between the NYPD and other city agencies to prevent juvenile crime. St. Germain has worked with countless local, state and federal officials advising on matters related to juvenile justice, mentoring, mental health, substance abuse, and educational issues. St. Germain has testified in front of the U.S. House of Representative Committee on the Judiciary Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security & Investigations and was appointed by President Barack Obama to Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Through St. Germain’s presentations, audiences can walk away with a new lens on the argument about how young people who commit crimes are treated. His passion for public service comes from his life experiences and his sense of personal responsibility to his community. From juvenile justice to mentoring to race and politics, St. Germain aims to start a conversation.
St. Germain has an Associate Degree in Human Services from the Borough of Manhattan Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he is currently pursuing a Masters in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. Currently he works as a Residential Care Advocate for the City of New York. He speaks three languages: English, French and his native language, Creole.
St. Germain lives in Brooklyn, New York.