Young New Yorkers

Young New Yorkers Relies On Intralinks VIA® to Expedite File Sharing among Its Burgeoning Community of Volunteers and Safeguard the Sensitive Records of Program Participants 

Based in Brooklyn, Young New Yorkers is a restorative justice arts program for 16- and 17- year-olds who have open criminal cases. In New York State, adolescents in this age group are prosecuted as adults and, if found guilty, can be sentenced to lengthy periods of incarceration in adult prison facilities – an approach proven to inflate the chances of recidivism and give impetus to more serious crimes. However, the city’s criminal court provides eligible defendants the option to participate in the Young New Yorkers program rather than serve jail time or community service and bear the burden of a lifelong criminal record. Its curriculum is specifically tailored to develop the emotional and behavioral skills of the young participants while facilitating creative and constructive self-expression. The progressive program, which originated from a Columbia University project led by Australian- born architect Rachel Barnard, has been embraced by the Brooklyn Kings County Criminal Court system as a cost-effective way to give voice and new direction to justice-involved youth.


Like so many non-profit organizations, Young New Yorkers leverages a community of volunteers, from its advisory board and contributing artists, to art auction committee members and program ambassadors. This dedicated group must collaborate with one another as well as members of the local criminal justice ecosystem, including social workers, police officers, judges and attorneys. It’s crucial to the mission and day-to-day operations of the program that staff and volunteers share and have easy access to files and content – everything from administrative information, financials and intellectual property, to hefty files containing images of designs and artwork. 

But, even more importantly, Young New Yorkers must serve as a custodian of its young participants’ highly-sensitive personal records during the defined time period that they are enrolled in the program. It’s absolutely vital that participants’ case information be secure and shared only with relevant, intended parties. Young New Yorkers must protect the identities of its participants because once they complete the program, their case is dismissed, records are sealed, and they have the opportunity to move forward with a clean slate. “There are major consequences for youth who carry criminal records,” says Rachel Barnard, executive director and co-founder. “Even misdemeanors can limit their access to vitally needed social services or scholarships. Something as simple as jumping a turnstile can be detrimental to a young person’s future livelihood.” 


Since its inception, Young New Yorkers’ small full-time staff had been utilizing Dropbox and Google Docs to share files and content with its community of supporters, but as the program expanded, it had growing concerns about the security of these consumer grade tools. With the program’s future dependent upon the court’s continued trust, Young New Yorkers recognized that it needed to achieve a higher level of data protection. At the same time, staff members found themselves grappling with Dropbox’s storage limitations and Google Docs’ complicated filing system. The organization sought a more efficient and secure way to share and sync confidential and large files, track iterations of documents and organize and store files for easy access. That’s when Young New Yorkers was introduced to Intralinks VIA—and it was immediately evident that the cloud solution would meet their security and usability requirements.

Young New Yorkers began using Intralinks VIA in October 2014, and with it has gained the liberty to safely share participants’ case files with only the parties that have access rights to them—essentially eradicating security risk from its file sharing and collaboration. The organization is also enjoying the speed at which it can share large art and design files, among other things. Whether using Intralinks VIA on a desktop, browser or mobile device, Young New Yorkers is able to manage information and its program timelines for each young participant very carefully, operating in a way that safeguards the kids and doesn’t perpetuate the problems of the criminal justice system, but rather, helps to solve them.

From administrative and IT perspectives, the organization is benefitting from the solution’s well-architected design and automated backup capabilities. “The value of having our files organized and accessible in one, central repository cannot be overstated,” notes Barnard. “Not to mention the fact that Intralinks VIA automatically syncs our files with our computer system and backs them up to a secure place in the cloud. This is enormously valuable. Knowing that our hard work and intellectual property is always protected gives us peace of mind.”

Young New Yorkers has big plans for its continued reliance on Intralinks VIA. For one, staff will utilize the solution to share files and facilitate collaboration at board of directors meetings moving forward. As the non-profit’s exclusive file sync and share solution, Intralinks VIA will also play an integral role in ongoing communications with its rapidly growing community of volunteers as well as supporters within the city’s criminal justice system.


Intralinks VIA enables Young New Yorkers to share the information that’s so crucial to the program’s mission and everyday operations – with confidence. Audited by the world’s largest and most regulated institutions, Intralinks VIA gives the non-profit organization an unmatched ability to:

  • Expedite collaboration without compromising data privacy
  • Protect content at the individual file level no matter how or where it is shared, or with whom, through Information Rights Management (IRM) by designTM
  • UNshare® any file or document, even after it has been downloaded and taken offline, using pre-set expiration dates
  • Easily track versions of documents and files, and achieve the transparency vital to operating within the criminal justice and legal realms
  • Set up secure environments for each staff member to share files with internal and external parties
4 June 2015