Ypsilanti-based nonprofit Mentor 2 Youth will formally announce a major leadership change during its annual fall gala Nov. 2.
After founding Mentor 2 Youth nine years ago, Emmanuel Jones stepped down as executive director effective Sept. 1 and handed the reins over to Darryl Johnson, a minister and founder of I'm Third Ministries. The fall gala will serve to formally announce the change in leadership and introduce Johnson to the community. Jones will continue to serve the organization as a volunteer board member.
Jones started Mentor 2 Youth to provide both tutoring and mentorship in life skills for Ypsi-area youth.
"We have had a lot of wonderful volunteers and individual supporters who believe in that vision and mission and helped push it forward the past nine years," Jones says.
In January, the organization moved its offices to Chapelle Business Center (the former Chapelle Elementary School) at 111 S. Wallace Blvd. in Ypsi, where it shares multiple classrooms with Bottles-N-Backpacks. The move allowed the nonprofit to hire more interns and reach more children.
Mentor 2 Youth launched a teen entrepreneurship program similar to Junior Achievement this summer, and its teen council will give a presentation on that project during the gala.
Johnson has served on the board of Mentor 2 Youth since 2016 and says he appreciates how efficiently the organization uses its resources to help children.
"I have five kids of my own, so I've had lots of practice watching young people grow up," Johnson says. "I'm excited to be able to step in here as Emmanuel looks to do some other things with his life."
Johnson has been taking ZingTrain leadership development courses and participating in the nonprofit NEW's Leaders of Color program to make sure he has a solid foundation for running the nonprofit. But he says his predecessor has put all the right people in place to make the transition go smoothly.
Johnson says his mission going forward will relate to "bridging the opportunity gap."
"I'm excited about being able to build upon this foundation Emmanuel has created," Johnson says. "... I'm looking to do a little more community organizing and get more people involved in youth's lives."
The gala will take place from 7-10 p.m. at the Washtenaw Golf Club, 2955 Packard St. in Ypsi Township. The evening will include hors d’oeuvres, trivia, and entertainment by the Steve Summers Band. Tickets are $25 per person and are available in advance online.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Sarah Rigg.