Leveraging a love of sports to switch on the overlooked aptitude of at-risk youth, 4th Family designs and delivers empowerment: positive, authentically science-based programs in its home town of Albany, NY, and beyond.
We give at-risk youth a gift that lasts a lifetime: the knowledge that science is within reach. The confidence to research, analyze and present data - in context - supports economic mobility, entrepreneurship, social and racial justice. Science belongs to us all; with an understanding of science and the world, we stand tall.
4th Family stands with our school systems, providing social and emotional support to students facing academic and behavioral challenges. Our intervention program exudes integrity, embraces learning, and teaches the practices of personal and group responsibility. Our young people are our future; we have their backs.
My journey began in October of 1988. I am the son of Gazell and Dorothea Scott. My father comes from a very large family originally from a small town in Florida, and my mother hails from Harlem, New York. Both of my parents had it extremely rough growing up, and they instilled in me at a very tender age the importance of hard work, and taking accountability for my actions. Even though they were not presented with many of the resources and opportunities that I have been blessed with, they worked earnestly to provide me with a better life than they had. So I give them all the credit for all the success that I have endured thus far. I have always had a burden in my heart to help others.
At the young age of 15, I was the director of my own basketball camp at the Albany YMCA, where we had an enrichment program, took field trips, and the camp was free to all those who were Albany Housing recipients. I conducted this camp for several years and this is where I discovered my desire for giving back to my community.As a child I attended the Albany School of Humanities, and later Hackett Middle School, where I excelled academically taking all honors courses.
Due to my success in the classroom, as well as on the basketball court, I was accepted to Albany Academy, where I really began to come into my own. During my four-year tenure at Albany Academy, I led community service projects in Albany, started leadership programs, and accumulated numerous accolades through basketball and football, while also participating for race relations. I graduated in 2006 in a class where I was the only minority, and went on to receive a scholarship to play basketball at Iona College. However, after the firing of my coach, and suffering a back injury some years later, I decided in the summer of 2010 to move back home to be closer to my family. That is when the real work started.
As I look around my neighborhood, I see that we are in dire need of more positive role-models. Our streets are filled with crime, drugs, and poverty. Half of the people that I grew up with are either dead or in prison. My desire to stand up and make a difference is at an all-time high.
In the summer of 2011, one of my players was senselessly murdered at a house party. He was only 15 years old and the friend whose house I dropped him off at was the same friend who he went to the party with who later left him after he had been shot. Here was someone with so much potential, whose life was taken for no reason. Having to tell his mother why her son was dead was the hardest thing I have ever done, and it is that pain that is the motivation that drives me every day. Shortly after his funeral, I decided to make it my life’s mission to do my part in changing my community.
4th Family is not your average non-profit organization. It is a movement, a mind-set, a life-style. This organization is comprised of a group of educated young men and woman who refuse to sit back and watch an entire community deteriorate. Please join us in this fight in whatever capacity you can contribute.
Jahkeen Hoke is a Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer of 4th Family, Co-Owner of The Stilted Group, Director of External Affairs at the Capital District (Albany) Black Chamber of Commerce, Business Development Consultant to many start-ups and small businesses, and Board Member to other community organizations. At 4th Family, Mr. Hoke spends a majority of his time overseeing the daily business activities and the long-term strategy of the organization in conjunction with teaching entrepreneurship and on-boarding new programs and strategic partners to the organization.
An Albany, New York native, he grew up in the South End with his sister and single Mom spending much of his time at his grandparent's house. Jahkeen was able to overcome an environment riddled with drugs, crime, gangs, teenage pregnancy, and domestic abuse through the use of sports. He stayed active in bowling, baseball, basketball, and football. Jahkeen also participated in activities and programs through school and the YMCA and various Teen Centers, all places, and programs that no longer exist or operate in the same capacity.
Jahkeen graduated from Albany High School and went on to attend Morehouse College where he learned to understand and appreciate the importance of giving back and being involved in the community. Throughout his matriculation, Jahkeen led numerous social engagement projects, tutored and mentored youth in the Atlanta area, all while working a full-time job to pay for housing and tuition. While at Morehouse, Mr. Hoke had the opportunity to develop the vision and business strategy for 4th Family Incorporated through a Social Entrepreneurship Course. Jahkeen graduated Cum Laude from Morehouse in 2011 and returned to Albany to spread his newfound knowledge of community and responsibility in his hometown. When he returned to Albany, he reconnected with his grade-school classmate and friend John Scott. Together, Jahkeen and John worked tirelessly to make 4th Family become a reality.
Mr. Hoke is passionately committed to making a difference in not just his community, but communities throughout the nation, and his combination of savvy business & political acumen and real-life experiences make him the perfect candidate to help lead the way.
Dr. John Drazan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. His research is focused on the development of low-cost sensors for to study human biomechanics for orthopedic research and sports science. In addition to his biomedical research, John is the STEM director for 4th Family Inc., where he engages urban students in STEM outreach using sports science and analytics.
As STEM director, John has assembled a diverse team of academics, teachers, basketball coaches, and players united by a common goal of broadening educational opportunity for our youth through a shared love of sports. His work in STEM outreach has won several major awards including the “Best Research Paper” at the MIT-Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the NSF GK12 Fellowship, and the NIH-IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.
Analusette Shaello (Ana) moved to our community in 2012. She is the Community School Facilitator for Troy Elementary School #2. Her role keeps her busy in the community engaging with families, neighbors, business owners, and City of Troy leadership.
Prior to that she was a twenty-seven year resident of the City of Binghamton. She holds a degree in Marketing Management and certifications in youth development. Ana’s involvement with youth and community began over eighteen years ago when she became a volunteer mentor for the City of Binghamton’s West Middle School through an employer’s management incentive program. She continued her work with the BCS district by participating on several task teams and committees: Strategic Planning Committee, Parent Involvement Task Team, Diversity Task Team, Co-Chairperson of the Binghamton City School District Community Coalition, Co-Chairperson of the City of Binghamton Partnership for Safe Streets, and the Youth Bureau/Safe Streets/Binghamton City School District Summer Literacy Initiative.
As the Director of the Binghamton City Youth Bureau, of which she was the FIRST; she worked with the Binghamton City School District, community agencies, Youth Task Teams and Workforce NY to assist at-risk-youth and their families in obtaining the tools necessary to complete their education, become employable and civically engaged. During Ana’s first year as Director, she implemented a summer youth employment program that employed twenty-one youth, ages 14-18 in meaningful community oriented jobs. This community based approach opened the eyes of the youth as well as the eyes of the community on the capacity of our younger generation. The program was very successful and was implemented for four years. In addition to the summer youth employment program, Ana was responsible for the Fresh Cycles Afterschool Program. The program operated out of an old police substation now called the Lee Barta Community Center. Youth who participated in the program ranged in ages 5-12 years old. They received homework help, snacks, computer time and a range of other activities. Another aspect of the program was a bike rehab training program available to youth…Fresh Cycles. Youth put in close to 15 hours of hands on work rehabbing bikes. The main incentive of this program was to teach youth skills that may enable them to earn monies and become young entrepreneurs.
Ana held the position of Board Chairperson for the Broome County Urban League for three years. She has been listed in Who’s Who of Business Professionals and has earned Professional Development Certificates from the Department of Criminal Justice – Juvenile Justice Department and Cornell University’s Advancing Youth Development where she facilitates workshops and trainings regarding youth development/youth engagement.
Ana’s experience in networking, collaboration and communication plays key in her role as a liaison for the community especially the youth population. She holds a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo and is currently studying Shurte Karate, and is also a certified personal trainer, certified sport nutrition consultant, and mom.
Laquana Cooke is the Media Literacy and Education Director for 4th Family. She is a PhD Candidate in Communication and Rhetoric at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The goal of her research is to reconcile school-home-community boundaries and close STEM achievement gaps by creating generative STEAM Ed experiences for youth. She also works as a game designer, where she uses her roles in the workplace and in academia to develop Game-Based Learning (GBL) curricular and programs.