Jason T. Jenkins is always giving back. He is recognized from his peers as a strong leader, a devoted family man and inspiring mentor for troubled youth in downtown Columbus. Jason is the assistant vice president of community engagement and volunteer recruitment at Big Brothers/Big Sisters, a mentoring program aimed at helping children realize their potential and build exciting futures.
At a young age, his teachers at Indianola Middle School noticed Jason’s dynamic leadership abilities and placed him as a peer leader. Peer mentoring encouraged Jason to seek higher education despite his difficult surroundings. Upon graduation from high school, Jason received the Linmoor-Otterbein Scholarship enabling him to attend Otterbein University.
At Otterbein Jason majored in sociology and computer science. He was the first African American homecoming king and a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for his dedication to service at Otterbein.
In the first two years, Jason matched nearly 300 mentors with mentees exceeding Project Mentor’s expectations. He was then promoted from School-Based Coordinator to the position of Recruitment and Community Engagement Manager. Within a few short months, Jason established ten new agency commitments with various community organizations and works to coordinate male mentors for youth.
“At a time when African American drop out rates are the highest they have ever been, he is now leading a program designed to address this issue and is making a valuable impact in the city of Columbus,” said Jason’s mentor at the Otterbein Indianola Mentoring Program, Melissa Dawn Johnson.
He is a highly engaged and active leader, involved with several organizations such as African Advisory Council for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The Expanding Visions Foundation, and The Youth Prevention Advisory Board.
“I am doing what I love so it’s not work for me,” says Jason. Aside from his family and career, Jason volunteers his personal time to provide guidance to an 11 year-old boy each month.
“The true testimony of his story is that Jason graduated from a public school and received a scholarship to Otterbein University. He now runs the Indianola Middle School program he once participated in,” says Johnson.
In recognition of Jason’s commitment in building up young leaders within his community, we honor Jason T. Jenkins with the 2011 Otterbein African American Hall of Fame Award.