Gary Freedom School Staff

Grassroots Organizing Instructor

Jonthan Wilson feels the biggest social justice problem in this country, which trickles down to his city, is the growing gap between the poor and the rich. With this gap comes a growing culture of disrespect and lack of compassion. This Chicago native who now lives in Gary is a Political Science major at Purdue University Calumet. Jon’s advice to GFS students is “Don’t let anyone put you in a box and tell you who you can be and what you will do. Reach for the stars because the sky is the limit. In the words of Malcolm X ‘think for yourself,’ don’t believe everything that everyone tells you. Research it and find out the answer yourself. You are not just the future, you are the present … You are the now!”

Jon’s favorite quote: “That’s why it’s the ballot or the bullet, it’s liberty or it’s death, it’s freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody.” ~ Malcolm X.

Executive Director

Val Carr treasures the era she grew up in which was that of civil rights. She feels this was an era where young adults of all races and classes were empowered to be leaders and stand for social justice – no matter what the sacrifice. All of her energies are spent empowering today’s generation, moving them to not be complacent but to make notable differences in their immediate communities. Val has extensive experience developing and implementing organizational and community training programs. She leads the Gary Freedom School with over 10 years of experience in non-profit organizational structure, board development and administration.

Director of Organizing

Tevin Gardner has administered and created programs for at-risk youth for the past six years. He is a nationally certified Arise Life-Skills Master Trainer and certifies adult professional as Arise Life-Skills instructors. He has mentorship certification and also has a certificate in Parenting. Tevin oversees programs and workshops that empower at-risk youth to increase self-esteem, gain life skills and engage in positive social activities. He has received organizing training with the Chicago Freedom School in conjunction with Chicago’s Midwest Academy. Tevin is committed to directing misled youth and feels adults have a huge responsibility to act as positive role models to today’s youth.

Youth Initiatives Coordinator

TyAisha Gardner has over six years of experience assisting at-risk youth in acquiring communication and social skills. Ty is a certified mentor; she has a certificate in parenting and is a nationally certified Arise Life-Skills Master Trainer. She trains youth professionals to become Arise Life-Skills Instructors and serves as an Arise Life-Skills Instructor to at-risk youth.

Gary Freedom School Leadership Board

Robin R. Beasley, MSW
Bonnie Bell
Carl Burnside
Iesha Cotton
Joan Delaney
Pamela Key, MSW
Bridgette Kies

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