Wesner Pierre is a native New Yorker whose professional path was shaped by the afterschool programs he attended in his youth. Growing up in kinship foster care in one of the city’s most notorious public housing projects in South Jamaica, Queens, Wesner avoided the negative influences in his neighborhood by enrolling in afterschool programs. Today, he dedicates his life to helping youth overcome the same racial and economic disparities and life challenges that affected him as a child.
Wesner launched his successful career in youth development by working in and giving back to the same community where he grew up. Starting as a part-time tutor helping high school drop-outs earn their GED, he quickly identified additional needs in the community and developed new programming to address them. Forming partnerships with local businesses and other non-profits, Wesner created a new job readiness and mentoring program in order to help young people find stable employment, learn financial responsibility and form positive relationships with professional adults, thus increasing their likelihood of achieving future success.
In 2012, Wesner joined CAMBA to start up the newly opened East New York Beacon Center. Having demonstrated his passion, innovation, and unwavering commitment to youth, Wesner quickly moved up the ranks at CAMBA. Now as Vice President of Education and Youth Development, Wesner has developed a team of highly committed staff who lead with urgency as they help youth and families navigate challenges and opportunities. Wesner oversees a robust portfolio of programs – including three Beacon Centers, nine NYCHA Cornerstone Community Centers, five Teen Action projects and seven Young Men’s Initiative programs, as well as a pivotal anti-gun violence initiative in one of NYC’s most distressed neighborhoods, “Brownsville In, Violence Out”. In doing so, he is responsible for supervising nearly 300 employees and managing over $5.6 million in annual government funding.
Although now a Vice President, Wesner still works with a grassroots mentality, remaining actively involved, applying his own creativity to deliver the best possible results. Wesner has always approached his work with a smile and a sense of humor, an essential quality in youth development work, and engages youth by showing them that their current circumstances do not have to determine their future.
Wesner was a 2015 participant in the American Express Leadership Academy and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the City College of The City University of New York and a Master of Arts degree, with a focus in public management from Queens College of The City University of New York.