Donnell Drinks joined the CFSY in March 2021 and serves as the Leadership Development & Engagement Coordinator.
Donnell was arrested at the age of 17 and was subsequently sentenced to the death penalty, which was later reduced to a life sentence. He served over 27 years and was released in July 2018. During his incarceration, he spent his time educating himself by obtaining his GED, accumulating multiple college credits, becoming a Certified Peer Specialist, and obtaining his certification in Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD). He was extensively involved in charitable work through various inmate organizations and served as President of multiple organizations. The organizations included Lifers Inc., the NAACP, the Latin American Cultural Exchange Organization (LACEO), and Journey for Change, which have all afforded him diverse experiences and skills. Since his release, he has employed these skills in his Philadelphia community as a mentor and re-entry specialist for Gaining Respect Over Our Worst Nights (GROWN) and as an anti-violence advocate. Donnell is a member of the Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network (ICAN) an initiative of the CFSY which amplifies the voices and leadership of formerly incarcerated youth.
Outside of work, Donnell enjoys creative writing, sketching, and photography.