Executive Director, The National Center for Youth Law
Jesse Hahnel is an advocate, executive, and civil-rights attorney who has devoted his career to ensuring marginalized children and youth receive the opportunities they need to thrive. Since 2015 he has served as Executive Director of the National Center for Youth Law, a non-profit law firm that defends the rights of children and works to improve the public systems impacting their lives. He champions approaches that empower youth to create the change they need. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Jesse developed and launched NCYL’s FosterEd initiative to improve academic, social-emotional and behavioral outcomes of system-involved youth (which include homeless, foster and probation supervised youth) by implementing a multi-agency systems improvement framework in partnership with school districts, child welfare, mental health, probation and judicial agencies. This unique system approach has been piloted and adopted by the state governments of Indiana and Arizona as well as by multiple county governments in California and New Mexico. FosterEd is one of just a handful of programs recognized by the Center for the Study of Social Policy as helping youth thrive.
Every child receives the supports and opportunities they need to thrive.
Want for every child what you want for your own.
Work tirelessly for a world in which every child is treated as you want your child treated.
Support my staff so they can lead the work that needs to be done.
Be humble, be grateful, learn constantly, and strive always for justice.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
That it’s a wonderful place to raise kids.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
An everything bagel with whitefish salad, tomatoes, onion and pepper and a tall glass of carrot juice, eaten at home, with my family.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Working before the kids wake up.
10:00 AM – Who knows. One of the favorite parts of my job is that it’s so diverse – every day, and every hour, brings something different: legislative strategy, litigation decision-making, running through financials, meeting with partners, speaking with reporters…
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
Anula’s Café, Downtown Oakland, Sri Lankan lunch specials.
7:00 PM –
Playing Uno with Eleanor, my 8 year old, and Beckett, my 6 year old.
11:00 PM –
Reading on the couch with my wife Carrie.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
I drink an enormous quantity of tea throughout the day. Depending on the day: herbal, green or black.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
Pandora, not necessarily because it’s the best music streaming app, but because it’s the one I know how to use.
What should everyone try at least once?
Drinking a handful of water from the ocean.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.