Karla Walker is the Director of the Family Matters Program at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department— this program was developed to assist inmates and their families in working toward strengthening their family unit, reunifying inmates with their children and connect families to support services and resources when needed. The Family Matters Program generates referrals to organizations that address multiple challenges faced by families that are often a by-product of incarceration.
In addition to her work at the SCSD, Karla is personally dedicated to mobilizing people to be responsible for the change they desire. For the past 15 years, she has focused primarily on developing programming and opportunities that concentrate on building community and empowering leadership skills in the residents of under-served communities. She has accomplished this engagement effort through workshops, trainings and building coalitions with city residents and community stakeholders at the same table.
Karla’s interest in impacting change within the education sector is informed by both her personal and professional experiences. Specifically, after searching to find schools that were able to develop her son’s strengths, while also address his unique learning needs, Karla relied on CPLAN to support her in this endeavor and became acutely aware of the disparities in access to high-quality, student-center educational options within her community. Overall, Karla’s life purpose is to engage and empower communities to lead the charge in fighting against the inequities that exist within their neighborhoods and schools. It is her hope that educating families on the need to reform antiquated systemic practices, will improve the quality of life for all people. This is why she is so motivated in her role on the CPLAN Policy and Practice committee.
Areas of Expertise: Strategic Planning, Parent Advocacy, Community Development/Organizing