Create a positive influence on Cleveland’s schools, youth, and community members

How we
Started

An after- service conversation about the tragic Trayvon Martin incident inspired two long-time Plymouth Church, UCC members to establish EYEJ

Concerned about the prevalence of poverty-level living environments, the disconnect between society and resources, and the extent of violence among African-American children prompted Mai Moore and the late June Antoine to organize with other Plymouth Church UCC members, including Gloria Sturghill, Pamela Ford, Jan Larsen, Aisha Violette, and Shaundra Cunningham, in 2013.

EYEJ strives to connect the community and children to provide life skills and personal development tools for some of the most vulnerable youth, focusing on the Cleveland Metropolitan School District – sixth grade to age 25.

I feel more comfortable talking to a teacher if I have a problem now.
8TH GRADE BOY
BUCKEYE-WOODLAND SCHOOL

Parlaying a pre-existing 25-year relationship between the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Plymouth Church, UCC EYEJ built their core program, the Discussion Series, now called YODJ: Youth Online Discussing Justice. The YODJ program features two adults from diverse backgrounds (typically an African-American person and one non-African-American person) partnering with a group of same-sex youth broken out in groups. Together, they engage on various relevant, everyday topics facing youth today with customized and copyrighted curriculum and emphases on empowering and becoming a self-valued leader.

Each group has a set of speakers with whom they can talk, role-play, and discuss topics including: toxic stress, conflict resolution, police-youth relationships, mental health, and exploring social and emotional pathways to heal and learn from each other – youth to adult, and adult to youth. In 2015, EYEJ earned a non-profit 501c3 tax status, which allowed it to access more schools, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

GOAL

Our goal is to empower students by connecting them with a variety of adults, professionals and leaders.

Personal circumstances, whether shared by a celebrity or a relatable adult, educate and expose children to lessons of compassion and understanding. EYEJ is about being human. EYEJ firmly believes that it is also important for young children to have diverse role models in the community and to learn diverse perspectives. By nurturing, listening to, and embracing each other as individuals, EYEJ believes we can mold young people into internally strong, successful, self-valued leaders of tomorrow.

Even though everyone has their flaws. You all are beautiful and intelligent in your own way.
8TH GRADE BOY
MILES PARK SCHOOL

Apply to be a Facilitator, Speaker or Coordinator for YODJ: Youth Online Discussing Justice

GET INVOLVED

The problems we found were numerous and wide spreaded

Cleveland is safer than only two percent of all cities in the United States.

Cleveland Metropolitan area ranks in the top 10 nationally for residents living in concentrated poverty.

Many of our youth are afraid of leaving their home sometimes, and do not feel comfortable calling the police for safety reasons.

40 percent of CMSD students are labeled “at-risk” of not graduating high school.

75% of our students are in a single parent household.

One of our neighbourhood school areas suffers from an epidemic of gun violence and is home to the largest population of sex offenders in Cleveland.

EYEJ has the solution

first step

EYEJ is focused on building self-valued leaders

first step

Education is the answer to many of our issues today.

first step

We are a bridge to social justice.

We believe that education comes in many forms. We also believe that we need to teach young people to be strong and secure, internally and externally. Cleveland’s youth have a lot of insight about the challenges they face. They want to express themselves and have others acknowledge their opinions and empower their ideas and viewpoints.

We also believe in bridging worlds and bringing speakers of all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and job types to discuss various topics that young people face. We want to promote self-confidence through the lens of social justice. We believe in discussion and authentic conversation, not lecturing or one-way communication.

We believe in our youth. We believe young people are our future and the future of our community. We are not about race. We are about human-to-human connection. We believe that our youth will help build solutions for social justice.

I am thankful and proud of each and every person that has been part of EYEJ, no matter the capacity. We are an organization focused on the mission and we embrace collaboration, new ideas, and innovation in all forms. We come from such diverse backgrounds and value all the personal experiences and individual skill sets people bring to the table to help EYEJ grow to serve our youth. It truly takes a village, and I am forever grateful.

MAI MOORE
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR @ EYEJ

Meet our team

MICHAEL BOKMILLER
EYEJ MANAGING BOARD, VICE-CHAIR AND ADVISOR TO THE EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL
DIAMOND BOTTOSON
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL - MEMBERS LEAD
PETER CHMIEL
MTF CO-CHAIR
ARUNIMA GUPTA
EYEJ YC CORE, PROGRAMMING
MEGHA GOEL
MARKETING COMMITTEE - EYEJ BLOG WRITER
NIAH JOHNSON
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL MEMBER, MEMBER
ANUSHKA KHANNA
EYEJ MILLENNIAL TASK FORCE MEMBER - ONBOARDING
RICHA KUKLANI
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL MEMBER, SUPPORT YC SOCIAL MEDIA, PROGRAMMING
KANEESHA LEE
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL CORE - YC MEMBER LIASON
JESSIE LIN
YODJ FRONT-END VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
MAI MOORE
CO-FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BOARD EMERITUS
ANJALI PATEL
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL - SOCIAL POLICY LEAD
ANN QUINTRELL
YODJ EMPOWERMENT SERIES TRAINING LEAD
KATHRYN ROSS
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING, YODJ
JOTHSNA SABBASANI
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL CORE - POLICY LEAD
ELLIE SHAFFRON
YODJ FRONT-END VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR
JANVI SHAH
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL CORE - RESEARCH LEAD
SRIRAM SATYAVOLU
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL CORE - COMMUNITY ORGANIZING LEAD
AMRUTHA YARLAGADDA
EYEJ YOUTH COUNCIL CORE - DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAM LEAD
KENYATTA SKYLES
EYEJ COLLECTIVE BOARD, MARKETING LEAD AND PRODUCER OF EYEJ SPEAKS