Lisa Thurau-Gray is Founder and Executive Director of Strategies for Youth, Inc., a non profit advocacy and training organization dedicated to improving police/youth interactions. Working with Dr. Jeff Q. Bostic, Director of School Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, Lisa built Strategies for Youth from the ground up without formal institutional or foundation support. In its first year, Strategies for Youth worked with police in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio, published over 10 articles on police/youth issues in national publications, and presented at more than 5 national police and criminal justice forums. Lisa and Strategies for Youth are now listed as technical advisors for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)
A graduate of Barnard College, Lisa holds a Masters degree in Anthropology from Columbia University. Lisa worked as a researcher and advocate for reform and improvement of the public education system in New York City. After graduating from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University, Lisa worked as an Associate in the litigation department of Coudert Brothers. She served as policy specialist and then as Managing Director of the Juvenile Justice Center of Suffolk Law School. There, Lisa focused on public policy advocacy on behalf of court-involved teens. She monitored juveniles’ civil rights issues regarding police treatment, tracked trends in the Center’s cases, monitored and challenged legislation affecting youth in the juvenile justice system. In 2004, Lisa initiated a training with 180 officers in the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Transit Police to improve police/youth interactions, to increase officers’ skills in working with youth, and to support officers’ development of innovative approaches to policing large groups of teens in public transit areas. She conducted a training with over 100 officers in the Everett Police Department. Her assessment and training of 235 officers in the Cambridge Police Department led to a reorganization of the way that Department provides services to youth. Lisa founded Strategies for Youth in 2009.
Lisa is the proud mother of a circus star, Sophia, who was wonderfully taught and coached by Leah Abel, and still gives the occasional performance to admiring crowds.