Thirteen Knoxville high school seniors have been named to the fourth annual class of Emerald Youth Fellows, a selective program that helps city teens successfully transition from high school to young adulthood.
The 2015 EY Fellows were chosen through an arduous application and screening process for leadership potential and commitment to community. A life coach will be paired with each EY Fellow to mentor and provide college and career counseling until the young adult is about 25 years old.
The 2015 EY Fellows are: Dijon Andrews, Adam Diggs, Elicia Faulkner, Jasmine Jackson, Nesha Jackson, Jerrion Joy, Jaron Mack, Qkirajah Robinson, Zachary Sain, Simmone Smith, Ashley Toepfer, Ayanna Troutman and Jasmine Wilson.
Members of the selection committee included local professionals Chrisi Bollinger, Nancy Gregg, Debbie Hill and Cole Piper.
There are now 47 EY Fellows since the inaugural class in 2012. Many are students in colleges and universities across Tennessee, said Cedric Jackson, director of the program.
“Our goal is to work with these students through their post-secondary education—whether it is college or technical training—and help them move into their professional lives. I hope they will realize their own potential and begin to insert themselves into leadership roles that benefit themselves and their immediate and extended community,” he said.
Jackson said EY Fellows has been effective in helping many young adults stay in college and continue to reach their goals. The 2015 Fellows have already taken a career assessment to help them choose a major. Subsequent training will focus on financial planning skills, academic preparation and community leadership.
As part of an emphasis on community leadership, the students will spend several days this summer in Chicago at the Lawndale Christian Community Church. It has supported a longtime mission including health clinics, after school programs, and a housing initiative in a desperately poor area.