Ayodeji Young

Ayodeji Young (Photo: Carol Moye)

Ayodeji Young (Photo: Carol Moye)

What makes me able to connect with people in my community so well is that I grew up in the same streets going through the same trials and tribulations that the families I serve are going through. I am not perfect. I have a felony for selling drugs. I’ve done a little prison time and I’ve completed 4 years of probation. This why I offer my services because I can relate. This is why they reach out to me. because they know I’m coming from a real place.

When tragedy strikes I often find myself in the middle of it offering counsel to the families and helping them with whatever they may need. I have two side hustles: One is my clothing line “The Militant Rebel,” which is a hoodie and T-shirt business and the other is party promoting. In times of need I’ve thrown parties to help pay for funerals and to leave the families with money to help them get by. ln our community, once you’re known for something you’re locked into that role in the eyes of the people unless you make a total change and that’s what I’ve done. Even though I haven’t worked for the YMCA for almost three years, the community still calls on me for the same services and I answer every time.

I’ve been coaching Pee Wee football for the last seventeen years in Homewood, and for the last seven, I’ve been the head coach of our most critical age group, the 13-15- year-old team. I’m also the Vice President of Homewood Community Sports which consists of football, basketball, wrestling and track.

We have over three hundred kids participating in our program along with their parents and other community volunteers. I work for Planned Parenthood of Western PA as a Violence Prevention Specialist with a focus towards domestic abuse and toxic masculinity. I do groups on these topics in four schools from grades 6-12. an adult inpatient drug treatment facility, Job Corps and several community organizations.

Prior to working at PPWP I was a manager for YouthJ which is an after-school program for youth ages 12 to 20 and prior tc worked as Violence Prevention Specialist at the Homewood Brushton YMCA for 8 years. “I’m also a board member for the Alliance for Police Accountability.”

Ayodeji is the proud father of three daughters, Jordane 16 Asauta 14 and Amirah 10.