Carlos Valentin, Jr. currently serves as the Executive Director of ASPIRA Inc., of New Jersey. With a professional background in the nonprofit, political, and government sectors, Carlos began working extensively with nonprofit organizations starting in the mid-1990s.
As an advocate for the underserved, a proponent for youth empowerment, civic engagement, and advocacy, as well as effective juvenile justice alternatives, Carlos has dedicated his entire life and career to providing opportunities and resources locally and statewide.
Since the very beginning, Carlos’ connection to ASPIRA was firmly entrenched with the organization, first as an "Aspiranté”, serving both as a member of the board and as a student representative for New Jersey and ASPIRA’s National Offices. Today, he leads a staff of 30 employees in Newark, NJ, while overseeing a multi-million-dollar budget serving thousands of youth and their families annually. During his leadership, Carlos has generated millions of dollars in grant and donation support for programmatic and community based initiatives and services.
As an innovator, Carlos has created a duo of programs that has since been replicated by other ASPIRA affiliates. He created and developed the Evening Reporting Center in the State of NJ for juveniles, in conjunction with the Juvenile Justice Commission of Essex County. The program was designed to provide a series of rehabilitative alternative services to incarceration for juvenile offenders ages 14-18. Since its creation, it has become a model program and has received numerous accolades from both local and statewide judicial and government agencies.
Merging his passion for boxing, specifically with the tenets and structure of the sport, Carlos also created the first ASPIRA Boxing and Nutritional Fitness program which gives youth the opportunity to learn about boxing techniques, physical fitness and proper dieting. The program teaches participants the mental aspects of the sport such as discipline, diversity & inclusion, respect of others and resiliency. For some, the program has also become a launching pad for those that choose to compete locally and statewide in competitive matches.
In the realm of higher education, Carlos continues to successfully manage the ASPIRA Scholarship Fund, which has awarded thousands in scholarships to matriculating high school students from various school districts. The program has supported dozens of young people who have attended ivy league, private, public and trade institutions, and has been a means to alleviate to the financial burden typically associated with college education.
A proud Puerto Rican man and “Newarker,” Carlos attended Newark Public Schools, graduating from Science High School and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Service and Administration from Rutgers University. Carlos recently earned his Executive MPA through Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration in May 2023.
In his free time, Carlos is an avid saltwater angler, a self professed Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders fan and a die-hard WWE supporter. However, Carlos’ greatest joy and privilege is being a “Girl Dad,” spending quality time with his daughter and his extended family.