Jay

I was born and raised in the great city of Brooklyn, New York. I spent the majority of my professional career in social services as a case worker and group supervisor. I guess I always had a drive to help people in a positive way. Eventually, I moved to New Jersey with my daughter and her mother. A few years later, I made the tough decision to leave my home in New Jersey and move to Philadelphia by myself. Despite moving away from my daughter, we have always maintained a close relationship.

I worked in Philly as a case manager for many years. Unfortunately, I wound up getting arrested for a crime I didn’t commit and was a victim of the cash bail system. Because I couldn’t post bail, they locked me up until my court appearance. I was held in prison for three months. During that time, I lost everything – my job, my house, my car, and my sense of self-worth.

Three days after I got out of prison, I was placed in a shelter where I have been living for a year. That’s when I first came to Philadelphia FIGHT and it quickly became a home for me. People at FIGHT are really genuine. They have similar life experiences, so they know where I am coming from.


I started by taking classes and workshops at FIGHT’s Institute for Community Justice. ICJ taught me how to become a leader and get civically engaged in my community. I soon participated in the Community Justice Ambassadors program. It taught me computer skills, resumé writing, and how to advocate for the causes I’m passionate about. The course gave me a new sense of purpose. I began to pursue the goals that I had put on the back burner because of my life’s circumstances.

Now I’m a Community Health Worker at FIGHT. I help people learn how to take control of their own health care and well-being. I get to connect with people one-on-one and support them with everything from medication adherence to offering them critical health information. It makes me feel great to know that I have empowered folks to incorporate healthier behaviors into their lives.

Today I have dreams for my future. Because of FIGHT, I’m so close to making those dreams a reality. The one thing I want most is a home of my very own. For me, having a home brings a sense of family. A place where I can cook great meals for myself and my children and a place where I can feel safe and get back to the work I have always intended to do.

Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring fellows, residents and students.

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Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who joins Philadelphia FIGHT as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He completed his undergraduate training in Biology and Psychology from Union College, his medical school training at Albany Medical College, his residency training at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and his Chief Residency at the Albert Einstein Medical Center


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