Sylvester Jones, Jr.
At this stage in my life, I see myself as a mature tree with deep roots and long, overhanging branches. Deep roots provide nourishment…and occasionally disrupt. Many of us seek the shelter of these stable trees when we are weary and need a recharge. I embrace this role and find joy in both supporting growth and providing respite. Whether in my professional work or in my family life, my intention is to make a positive impact on my environment in the many ways that a mature tree does.
How did I get here? Prior to joining the Fetzer Institute team, I worked as a services specialist for the State of Michigan. In that role, I worked to reunify families separated by acts of abuse and neglect and take pride in the opportunity I had to work with licensed foster home and relative providers to create a safe and nurturing environment for children while also working with parents to resolve the issues that brought their children into the child welfare system. Prior to this work, I served as the city administrator for the City of Flint, which allowed me to work closely with the mayor to promote public safety and economic development and to provide residents of the City of Flint with clean, affordable drinking water. I worked closely with City of Flint employees to build staff morale as they attempted to improve the quality of life for Flint residents during the most difficult time in the city’s history. Working for the City of Flint during the Flint water crisis was difficult, but allowed me to give back to a community that gave so much to me.
My professional work experience also includes working as a program officer for the Ruth Mott Foundation; serving as the president and CEO for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint; serving as a 21st Century Community Learning Center Coordinator for the Flint Community Schools; and working as a senior associate for the United Way of Genesee County in both fund development and fund distribution. To my work I bring a wealth of experience in human services, youth development, and spiritual transformation.
For the first time in my life, my personal and professional values are aligned. Fetzer’s core values of love, trust, inclusion, and authenticity will allow me to have congruence and to work to make the world a better place by building the spiritual foundation for love by working through differences, pain, and trauma. I believe that society must learn to lose count instead of keeping score.