Alphonso Amos is an individual that is committed to working for social justice and improving the quality of life of families. In 2015 at the age of 26-years old, Amos was elected to City Council in the city of Port Huron, Michigan where he served one term. He is a passionate advocate for youth and young adults, believing strongly in the power of volunteerism and service. Alphonso is the founder of a nonprofit organization known as Impact Youth Services whose mission is to impact urban youth and to positively influence their families and their environment through programs and activities. In addition to his role as a council member Alphonso Amos, has worked on many initiatives one being the African American Initiative for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan in which he worked to develop the African American Initiative; an initiative that will help shape the conversation on the need to create programs and funding for organizations that reach girls of color. Alphonso also leads community initiatives such as, Youth Voice and the Mentors Matter community initiative, homeless initiatives and community clean-up efforts. He is the past president of the Port Huron Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and former Michigan Coaching College Corp AmeriCorp Member. Amos is also currently serving on the Michigan Municipal League Energy, Environment, & Technology Policy Committee as a member and is a member of the Port Huron Rotary Club.
Campus: Port Huron, Michigan
Fellowship Class Year: YP4'17
Featured Fellow Spotlight
1. What experiences/opportunities lead you to apply to the YP4 Fellowship program?
As a former elected official, I was compelled to apply to the YP4 Fellowship program after losing this past election. I wanted to transition from governance to direct service in order to address the issues in my community and I felt the YP4 Fellowship would help better equip me to do the work that was needed to make a great impact in the lives of young boys and girls of color.
2. What social justice work are you currently doing in your communities, or on your college campuses?
I am currently working on building programs for Impact Youth Services a nonprofit organization in which I am the founder and Executive Director. Impact Youth Services is a community-based, non-profit organization that provides an array of mentoring, educational, employment training, case management. A major focus of mines is the African American Initiative. The initiative was launched to promote mentoring and youth programing in the African American community as we strive to increase boy’s and girls’ involvement in STEM, strengthen their financial literacy, and strengthen their entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, we encourage healthy living opportunities for boys and girls of color by increasing access to outdoor activities. We also prevent bullying and relational aggression by promoting healthy relationships while engaging communities on the importance of programs for boys and girls of color. I get to wake up every day and work on the greatest project anyone could work on; and that’s making sure we don’t leave boys and girls of color out of the conversation as we build programs, fund initiatives, and push policies. One of our main focuses is building our fem/mentor program in which we will match youth with caring adults to build healthy relationships.
3. What are you passionate about/what motivates you to do public service?
I am passionate about changing the narrative for boys and girls of color which is also a major driving force that keeps me motivated in the work of public service. I am also motivated by many of my life struggles. I have many examples of struggles. [From being] born into poverty to a single mother and escaping the everyday world of drugs and violence in the ghetto, to almost losing my life to a bullet, which is lodged a half an inch away from my aorta artery and is a daily reminder of the many struggles I have had. With many life changing events, I have been resilient and refused to give up on life. I turned my struggles into a story. For me, changing the narrative of my life became a part of building the success people currently see. After being shot by a stray bullet and the media portraying me as a gang member while I was just a college student out having fun, I realized the many stereotypes people place on black men. That day, I decided to never fit into any stereotype. I decided to move forward in life, stepping out on faith and striving to achieve all of my goals and dreams using God as my guide.
I wanted to use a situation that many thought was bad to make a greater impact. I went from your everyday normal college student, to being a victim of crime, to impacting the lives of thousands of students. When you say you have been shot, kids think you’re cool, so I used that to empower youth to make wise decisions. And while I empowered them, they helped encourage me to be the example they strongly needed in my community.
4. What is the main goal you want to accomplish in your social justice work?
My main goal is to encourage young people to become the change they wish to see in the world.
5. If you could have dinner with any organizer past or present, who would it be?
I would have dinner with former president Barack Obama, I believe that the work he has done with his “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative similar to the work that I am doing except we have added young girls of color to the conversation. I feel that with his experience as a former elected official and community organizer he would be able to give me some great insight on how to address the issues in my community as it pertains to boys and girls of color.
6. What was the most eye-opening experience for your during your Regional Training?
I would say it was the “Identifying Root Causes” workshop. The root cause tree helped me better analyze the problems and issues in my community surrounding my blue print issue.
7. What do you hope to give and what do you hope to gain during your YP4 Fellowship year?
I hope to provide support and my resources to my other fellows so that we can become the change we would like to see in our own communities. I wish to gain more knowledge in the area of education justice as well develop lifelong relationships with the members of my fellow class and the YP4 staff.
8. What brings you joy?
I get joy in being of help and service to others.
9. Where do you think your YP4 training will take you in the future?
I think that my training will take me to the next step in developing the African Initiative at Impact Youth Services. It will help me gain resources that will help move the mission and vision I have for the work that I am doing forward.
10. What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as a servant leader, I hope that my legacy will be one that reflects a man with a heart and life that was focused on serving other people.