YouTurn

YOUTURN STAFF

YouTurn has a dedicated team of professionals that ensure that we are meeting the needs of the community.

CECELIA CREIGHTON, Executive Director

Cecelia Creighton brings more than twenty years of experience as an executive and administrative leader of for-profit and non-profit organizations in Nebraska and Iowa. Her proven executive, governance, finance and administrative leadership skills lead to the unanimous decision by the YouTurn governing board to appoint Cecelia as YouTurn’s Executive Director.

Cecelia is tasked with providing leadership, guidance, staffing, fund development and overall program management for YouTurn. She works in conjunction with the YouTurn governing board to assure the successful development and implementation of programming that aligns with the YouTurn mission, vision and strategic plan. Cecelia is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. She holds a Master of Arts in Management and a Bachelor of Science in HealthCare.

Cecelia loves to spend time with family. Her favorite sport is bowling.

STEWART GIDDINGS, Violence Prevention Director

Stewart Giddings, a native of New York City, overcame the obstacles of the street and gang lifestyle as an adolescent. His “second chance at life” began with his decision to relocate to Omaha, Nebraska. As the YouTurn Violence Prevention Director, he holds a Masters degree in Business Administration. Stewart directs the day-to-day services provided through the YouTurn street and school outreach staff. Since he started his position with YouTurn, he has shared his passion for supporting youth in identifying alternatives to gangs and violence at several confrences and seminars around teh city of Omaha.

As a husband and father of four, Stewart enjoys sports and volunteer coaching.

JUDITH M. HILL, Program Director

Judith M. Hill is a native of Omaha, Nebraska with 30 years of experience working with local non-profits in the areas of program development and implementation, evaluation and reporting, marketing and public relations, grants management and fund development. 

As the YouTurn Program Director, Judith is responsible for creating a collaborative community-based service model, anchored by the utilization of evidence-based strategies, designed to support positive behavior change for YouTurn program participants, 12 to 24 years of age. Program services include behavioral health assessments, intervention and prevention strategies for street and school outreach, and the use of Individualized Transition Plans and evidence-based curricula to support the services provided to each program participant. 

In addition, Judith will provide grants management support and will coordinate YouTurn marketing and public relations activities.

JAMES E. HUNTER, Community Initiatives Director

James E. Hunter has worked in the human service field for the past 30 years. He attended Metro Community College, UNO and graduated from Grace Valley Theological Seminary with a Masters in Theology.  James was appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council to serve as a member of the Human Rights and Relations Board. He is a member of the Omaha NAACP.  James and his wife pastor a local church.  He also serves as host of local gospel radio program. 

James has two daughters, five step children and six grandchildren.  He enjoys playing golf, traveling and watching movies.

JOSHUA HOWELL, Executive Assistant

Joshua Howell is an Omaha native.  After serving overseas in the military, Joshua Howell returned home to pursue a paralegal degree. While in school, Joshua took a special interest in mentoring youth through his work for the Douglas County Juvenile Court.  He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies, and worked as a Legislative Aide in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature. His background with mentoring, and his insight on the role elected officials play in supporting the work of community-based organizations like YouTurn, fuels his devotion to the community and his commitment to supporting the administrative functions of YouTurn as its Executive Assistant. 

Joshua is married to a local environmental scientist. He is also a fiction author with multiple published novels and graphic novels available worldwide. 

RON SMITH, Violence Interrupter

Ronald Smith, aka Chaplain Pastor Ron (CPR), was born in Chicago on the west side in Ogden Courts.   Like many young men living in Chicago, as a young adult, Ronald was drawn to the excitement and the intrigue of the streets.  The decisions that he made as a young man, lead to his eventual incarceration.  While incarcerated, Ronald was introduced to God.  It was in the county jail that he chose to embrace the ministry and to become a positive “change agent” in the lives of anyone he encountered. 

In 2005, Ronald and his family relocated to Omaha, Nebraska to expand his work in the ministry.  Not knowing where to begin, he “rolled up his sleeves” and went to work on 30th & Ames in Northeast Omaha.

Ronald served as the Douglas County Youth Center Chaplain from 2006-2011.  Since 2011, Ron has expanded his ministry on the streets of Omaha.  Ronald is fortunate to be well received in any community, church, prison, jail or school he is blessed to visit.  His life is motivated by the scripture.  As the YouTurn Violence Interrupter, Ronald’s vision is to see young people move away from violence as a method of resolving conflict.  He is committed to helping young people find a better way and make healthy decisions. His story is worth hearing. 

Ronald Smith has been married for 22 years to his lovely wife Nikol, and they have raised four children.

GEORGE DEVERS, School Outreach Worker

George Devers is a native of Omaha, Nebraska with more than 10+ years of experience working one-on-one with at-risk adolescents and young adults. George made a conscious decision in 2008 to focus his outreach efforts on working with young men in school, after school and street settings. His enthusiasm for working with youth lead him to expand his commitment to become a volunteer with several local youth programs. As a mentor, coach and advocate, George is dedicated to utilizing his experience to help guide young men identifying positive alternatives to gangs, gang violence and other at-risk behaviors.

George is a father of three. He enjoys spending time with family and playing basketball.

MICHAEL GRAHAM, Street Outreach Worker

Michael Graham is a native of Virginia.  Growing up, Michael travelled between Nebraska and Virginia, spending lots of time in Nebraska with family.  Ten years ago, Michael made Omaha, Nebraska his permanent residence.  Michael is no stranger to many of the influences and activities that have negatively impacted the lives of so many young men and women in Metropolitan Omaha. – to include gangs, violence and incarceration. 

After years of involvement in gangs and other high-risk activities, Michael became connected with mentors that encouraged him to return to school. Years later, it was Goodwill Industries that gave Michael the opportunity to hone his skills as a youth mentor, advocate and public speaker.  Through his work with Goodwill Industries he became a part of the Nebraska Leadership Council.

Michael sees his work with YouTurn as an opportunity to continue with his commitment to “turn his life around” and use his skills and talents to make a positive difference in the lives of adolescents and young adults he is privileged to work with.  In his time, away from YouTurn, Michael is a big online gamer.

TYLON HARBOUR, Street Outreach Worker

Tylon is a native of Omaha, Nebraska.  He attended Northwest High School.  He graduated from Pine Ridge Job Corps in Chadron, Nebraska.  Tylon furthered his education by attending Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, and Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Tylon is no stranger to youth violence, gangs and/or the negative affects these activities have on youth.  He has experienced firsthand the loss of family and close friends to gun violence.   His desire to help adolescents and young adults move away from violence as a means of resolving conflict, lead him to apply to become an Outreach Worker with YouTurn. 

As an avid basketball player and long-time volunteer, mentor and advocate for youth services in Northeast Omaha, Tylon is committed to helping YouTurn share “the cure” for violence with youth, and Metropolitan Omaha.

Tylon is married and has two boys.

JOHNTAY SWIFT, Street Outreach Worker

Johntay Swift is a native of Omaha, Nebraska.  He is the youngest of four siblings, reared by a single mother.  As a child, Johntay was surrounded by the influence of gangs, drugs and violence.  At an early age, he made a conscious decision that he would not allow his environment to define him.  As a teen, it was not always easy to “stand alone”, and refuse to get involved in high-risk activities. Johntay’s determination to make sound decisions about his life, fueled his passion to be a youth mentor.  As a teen father, Johntay understood that his desire to help others meant that he would need to finish school and surround himself with men and women with a similar passion. 

Johntay always knew he would be make a difference in his community.  His decision to join the YouTurn Outreach Team affords him that opportunity.  Johntay is pleased to become a part of Omaha’s solution to eliminate guns and violence among youth in targeted neighborhoods in Northeast Omaha.

Johntay is the proud father of seven beautiful children. He loves writing music and playing basketball and video games. Most of all, he loves creating memorable moments with family and friends.