Restored! A Jay Pullen helping to restore citizens like himself

Photo credit: A. Jay Pullen
Photo credit: A. Jay Pullen

Since May of 2020, A Jay Pullen has served as the Worthington Alliance of Black Families and Educators president. But before that role, he volunteered for numerous causes advocating for change in the lives of youth and adults throughout Central Ohio. From July 2013 through June 2017, Pullen served as the Drug Awareness Committee Co-chair for the Westerville City Schools. He also served as the PTSO President for the Thomas Worthington High school and was a mentor for the Alvis, Inc. Alvis is a second chance recovery nonprofit organization that works with adults re-entering the workforce and getting their lives back on track. Pullen worked for the Central Ohio Youth and Adult Program for four years as a program manager and executive director.

A. Jay Pullen graduated from the Colorado Christian University online campus with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and completed his master’s degree in Public Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. His passion for the youth and working with adults is a way to change the status quo in the community that he grew up in that often gets overlooked.

How does the phrase “Prevention is better than Cure” help define the “People like me Project”?

I feel that Prevention is very important. If we can prevent a young person or individual from doing drug or doing crime, that is the goal. We are trying to break and prevent generational curses and having people become better.

As a youth pastor, how does that role help with the success of the People like me Project?

As a former Youth Pastor faith has guided me and many others throughout this Journey. You have to be prayerful to deal with God’s work. Even though we are not a faith-based organization, but we were built on biblical principles. We teach that to our participants daily. You have to have faith to get this work done for sure, because faith without works is dead.

You previously served as a mentor for the Alvis Re-Entry Program. Because such an initiative is good for our community, how do the People like me Project (PLMP) continues to be a gateway of second chances?

As a Restored Citizen I feel that I have to give back and help others succeed. People Like Me Project helps connect resources for Restored Citizens like me. We help with housing, employment, and other wrap-around services.

What is the initiative behind the People like me Project?

It’s my personal story and testimony. I wanted to help people that were in the same or similar situations. Guilt and fear can hold a person back. I wanted to create a platform for individuals that they can no longer feel ashamed about their past. It’s not about what you have done, but where you are going. Pick yourself up and get back in line. I just want to empower people and have a no judgement zone.

Young African American journey to success often comes with multiple trials and tribulations; how has the Central Ohio Honors helped connect the youth and individuals with different professions to make a difference.

It is having the youth see someone that looks like them and from their community. Young people need someone to look up to positively. So, the Honors Events have broadened their horizons.

In 2020, while we were under a global pandemic, the world witnessed George Floyd’s death. What were some community engagement activities and outlets that the organization made available as a coping mechanism for those in need?

We did a lot of Community Conversation events. Talking about the problems in the word and in the community. We protested and also educated people on the issues. Racism never went away but I feel that we must keep addressing it and keep the conversation going.

You have a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and currently pursuing a master’s in Public Administration. What is the outlet program?

Yes. The Outlet Program is a community-based prevention program for young males ages 10-18.

Community Engagement: What are some of the special events that the People Like Me Project is involved in? In what ways is it making a difference in the community?

Since the pandemic, we have been host Helping Hands Events monthly. These events have helped over 2000 people. We have provided clothing, school supplies, food, personal care, and cleaning items for people in need. Also, we are providing resources to the community. We have helped 230 individuals obtain permanent employment during this crisis

There are two honors, Miami Valley and Central Ohio: Sheed light on its mission.

Yes. To recognize the achievements of African Americans in the community that is not only speaking of change but are making a positive impact within the community.

Men like me will be a new initiative for the organization; when does it launch, and whom will it benefit?

Men Like Me is our Fatherhood and Re-Entry program. It will focus on parenting and re-entry services. This program will be open to males 18 and up that have insolvent with the criminal justice system in Franklin County.

Writer: Okon Ekpenyong

Editor: Deba Uwadiae

originally posted on Posted by: , August 31, 2021