After 23 years of youth and community development, I joined OPEN M in August of 2019 to return to a passion of my early career…assisting motivated individuals who are ready to change with economic success through learning, overcoming challenges, sustained employment with fun but firm support. As a kid in poverty, I relied on God, mentors and non-profit organizations in East Cleveland to survive. The best ones gave me nothing that I did not earn and taught me to grow away from my reliance on them. Moving 5 times in 6 years in elementary school, life at home was a struggle that I only survived with fun, firm and caring guidance. Since obtaining a social work degree in 1996 at Malone College, I have served as a caseworker in both the mental health and foster care fields, in juvenile justice as a Director of a nationally successful community re-entry and employment program for juveniles ages 17-21 in Massillon, OH, as the Director of Planning and Community Outreach for SARTA in Canton, OH and as both a Club Director and the Director of Operations/Programming for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Akron.
Personality type: ESFJ “The Consul”
Three things people would be surprised to know about James include:
"1. I met Denzel Washington and Misty Copeland once at a national conference. Once Misty Copeland started talking about the poverty/racism challenges that she overcame to become the best ballerina on planet earth, I forgot that Denzel was even there. She and Harriet Tubman are my heroes. 2. I ONLY wear used clothes, coats, suits and shoes. I will always have a “That cost way too much!” frugal mentality unless Jay Z and Beyonce come to town. 3. I have a goal to read 40 books by the end of this year. I am WAY behind schedule. Fear by Bob Woodward, Rise and Grind by Daymond John, Life Lessons by Kevin Hart and Becoming by Michelle Obama were my favorites so far this year.”
The mission of OPEN M, a Christian ministry, is to provide pathways out of poverty for all by feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and strengthening the community.