Press Release

America's Promise Alliance Elects Youth Members to Leadership

Adds Youth Voice to GradNation Campaign

WASHINGTON America's Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth, announced today that it has elected Ti’Andre Bellinger, 17, to its Board of Directors and Odunola Ojewumi, 23, to its Alliance Trustees.  They will each serve a two year term. 

America's Promise models youth involvement by having two youth leaders on both its Board of Directors and Alliance Trustees. Each youth, ranging in age from 16-25, is considered a full voting member of the leadership body and plays a valuable role in the strategic direction of the organization. 

“Youth voices are critical for bringing insight, energy and solutions to the work that we do so it is vital that they have a representative within our leadership,” said Alma J. Powell, America’s Promise board chair. 

“Ti-Andre and Odunola’s successes are a testament to the five promises that we embody and the extraordinary talent that our youth possess,” added John Gomperts, president & CEO of America’s Promise.  “We’re excited to have both of these young people a part of our national movement and contributing to our mission and vision.”

The America’s Promise board of directors, now with 25 members, provides strategic counsel regarding the organization’s mission and work.  The Alliance Trustees serves as on-the-ground advisors to the board who are engaged with youth through their respective organizations.  Both entities help support the GradNation campaign, a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on time. 

A senior in high school in Miami, Florida, Bellinger currently serves as a Youth Commissioner for Miami-Dade County.  He is also a participant in the City of Miami Police Explorers, holding the highest rank of Major, as well as After-School All-Stars, a leading national provider of year-round, school-based, comprehensive afterschool programsHe plans to go to college next fall and major in political science.

Ojewumi currently works at a U.S. government agency in Washington, D.C.  She is also a freelance writer and serves as a community activist through her own nonprofit Project ASCEND, a scholarship and grant program that provides high school students opportunities to attend college and create their own public service programs. A graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, she has received accolades from numerous organizations over the years for her work with young people.

Bellinger joins youth board member Daniel Erickson, a current high school senior in Tampa, FL who is part of the United Way’s Suncoast team planning Tampa’s upcoming GradNation Community Summit.  Ojewumi joins youth Alliance Trustee member David Buckholtz, now a senior at Pennsylvania State University, who was a part of the youth planning team of the 2013 and 2014 Building a GradNation Summits.  

Both Bellinger and Ojewumi were selected out of 80 applicants from 31 states and Washington D.C.   The next application process starts in summer of 2015.   

America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth, bringing together more than 400 national organizations representing nonprofit groups, businesses, communities, educators and policymakers. Through its GradNation campaign, America’s Promise mobilizes Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of its founding chairman General Colin L. Powell USA (ret.), America’s Promise believes the success of young people is grounded in the Five Promises—Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others. For more information, visit AmericasPromise.org.