Victor Jaroslaw started working at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services, known as CASES, in 1996, as a part-time teacher. Prior to that, he taught musical instrument-making classes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and El Museo del Barrio, co-taught Afro-Cuban drumming and orisha-song classes at the Open Center and for Dance New England, and owned a neighborhood-based small business, Lumenkraft Blinds. Victor earned his degree in American Studies at SUNY Buffalo in 1973 under the tutelage of ethno-musicologist Charlie Kiel. The philosophy of the American Studies Department was that in order to truly understand American society, one had to see that there are indeed many possible cultural realities. One had to step outside of one's culture in order to truly understand it. Internalizing this philosophy, Victor spent his entire junior year in the rainforest of Suriname, South America, living with the Saramaka Maroons, descendants of runaway slaves who had successfully fought the Dutch for their freedom throughout the eighteenth century. This philosophical lens and experience have significantly shaped a model of work and dedication that brings Victor to our attention today.
At CASES, Victor has helped develop both the Family Court After School Program and the Summer Outdoor Education Program. He has taught and tutored students in math, creative writing, science, social studies, and computer graphics. He has helped the CASES team pioneer curriculum and techniques suited to the needs of students who feel they are at the end of the road educationally—with the goal of getting them walk, and in some cases, run, down that road again, or down their own unique path towards contributing constructively to society. Victor recognizes the tremendously dedication and creativity of his supervisors and co-workers, towards contributing to the most wonderful learning experience in his life. Victor is committed to continuously challenge himself and the youth he works with to step outside of what they have known in order to better understand themselves, and better contribute to their future.