About Us

We offer our services to youth ages 13-22 free of charge. Our mentors invest in adolescent and young adult leadership through the implementation of youth-led community events. We provide youth with encouragement and support toward accomplishing self-driven goals, enhancing life-skills and guidance through life’s journey.

Our Mission

To empower underserved youth and contribute to health and well-being by providing mentoring, strength-based advising and community-based instruction (CBI) in effort to strengthen ties to families and communities.

Our Vision

A world where youth can thrive in an environment where they feel supported, encouraged and most importantly “free” of all blocking barriers. For individuals to achieve their fullest potential, they must escape whatever cage is hindering them.

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AJA KRYS ELLINGTON, BSW

FOUNDER & CEO

Aja Ellington, MSW

 

Indiana University MSW graduate Aja K. Ellington is an award-winning progressive thinker that serves the South Bend, IN community as an exemplary Mental Health Professional who represents several organizations that are committed to the innovation, change, and solutions that decrease poverty and disrupt the mental health stigma. Aja is the founder and CEO of Free Your Wings Youth Mentoring, Inc. a community-based non-profit organization striving to break the barriers restricting the success and growth of youth living in poverty. She currently serves as GVI/SAVE Community/Education Resource Coordinator, a role in which she mentors youth within South Bend schools and practices restorative justice by responding to incidents of gun violence to prevent retaliation and support those at risk as well as survivors. From her past social work roles, she has developed skills in the arenas of client-centered case management, clinical mentoring, trauma-informed care, mental health & addictions counseling, and advocacy which she now uses to empower and educate others through public speaking and authorship. As the recipient of the 40 under 40 award, chairperson of several standout organizations including but not limited to the National Network for Youth, Futures Without Violence, and Indiana University Regional Board of Directors and recognized business coach her motivation stems from motherhood, growing up in poverty, and her dream of breaking generational cycles.

 

Aja’s children Tinayja and Valentino Summers are active participants of Free Your Wings. They assist with programming, the implementation of community events and the overall foundation of the organization, providing kids the opportunity to experience the joys of youth functions while setting positive examples for their peers. 

CO-FOUNDER TWINS

JeffoNIA JONES, VERONICA MCCRAY

BENJAMIN SALDANA, christine delafuente, laquesha williams

Meet our Audacious Mentors