Community-based Organizations

Health People

Chris Norwood is the Executive Director of Health People, a groundbreaking peer training, prevention, and support organization based in the South Bronx. Started in 1990 as women’s AIDS prevention and support program, Health People has grown, using its peer-education model, to provide a full range of HIV/AIDS services for men, women and families, as well as to start a large community asthma program, New York’s first diabetes peer educators program and a community smoking cessation program. Health People’s Jr. Peer programs include teens who are mentors for younger children, teens who teach asthma attack prevention and teens teaching tobacco cessation. In all its programs, Health People has successfully utilized its original model of training the people most affected by disease to become peer educators to help others and advocate for the community. Health officials from 5 continents, as well as from all over the United States, have come to Health People’s South Bronx offices to learn more about starting these effective, empowering programs in their own communities.

Osborne Association

The Osborne Association offers opportunities for individuals who have been in conflict with the law to transform their lives through innovative, effective, and replicable programs that serve the community by reducing crime and its human and economic costs. We offer opportunities for reform and rehabilitation through public education, advocacy, and alternatives to incarceration that respect the dignity of people and honor their capacity to change. The contact person for Osborne Association is John Valverde.

John Valverde, MA is the Director of Workforce Development at Osborne Association. Mr. Valverde brings with him 19 years’ experience in working with the criminal justice population and a proven track record in creating, developing and implementing innovative programs. He has been instrumental in forging critical partnerships within New York City’s social service and green communities, and demonstrated leadership and commitment to social, economic and environmental justice for disadvantaged populations, especially the formerly incarcerated. Prior to coming to Osborne, Mr. Valverde served as Program Director at Exodus Transitional Community, Inc. He was a founder and Academic Coordinator of the Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, Inc., where he helped facilitate implementation of an innovative, accredited college program for people in prison. Additionally, he was recently selected as one of 25 nationally to be a Marano Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Sector Skills Academy. He holds a Masters in Professional Studies/Urban Ministry from the New York Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Science from Mercy College.


NarcoFreedom is an experienced network of drug treatment and health related services. In 1971, the agency began providing care to chemically dependent residents of the South Bronx area of New York City. Since our beginnings as a methadone treatment center, we have expanded services to include several modalities of chemical dependency treatment, primary medical care and social support services. In 1996, the agency began an expansion of programs that brought Narco Freedom services to Brooklyn (Court Street, Red Hook, Williamsburg, and Bushwick); and Queens (Long Island City). The contact person for NacroFreedom is Wayne Clark.

Wayne Clark is the Director of Outreach Services at Narco Freedom. Mr. Clark grew up in the streets of New York, heading from one illegal lifestyle to another. Mr. Clark started became involved with the substance abuse population in the late 90s and opened his own company, The Rehabilitation Center. From there he opened his own transitional housing program named Serenity Transitional in the Bronx. Mr. Clark came to work for Narco Freedom in 2005. Besides being a member of the Bronx Reentry Working Group, he is also a member of Rikers Island RITC program since 2007 and involved in the with Bronx HEP C task force since 2008.