Justin Counts, Fund Development Fellow
Justin joined Safe & Just Michigan in 2021 as a development fellow. A Jackson resident, he works for the Jackson Housing Commission, where he co-created the Feed Thy Neighbor program at Reed Manor. The program fosters a sense of community and combats loneliness while working to end hunger at the same time. Looking ahead, he wants to start a financial literacy program for youth so that young people can avoid some of the pitfalls he encountered.
Sentenced to probation on a marijuana offense in 2006, Justin struggled to meet the financial demands related to fines, fees and monitoring. His inability to pay eventually led to a 2.5-year prison sentence. While incarcerated, he decided to make changes to his life, including becoming a better father and husband, and becoming more empathetic towards others.
“Be slow to judge,” Justin said. “Understand life can go a lot of different ways. Sometimes, the way your life goes isn’t completely under your own control.”
Justin lives in Jackson.