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 is Saint Louis native and Indiana resident. She obtained a B.A. in Social Work from Indiana University, and is in the final stages of receiving her M.A. in Social Work in pursuance to becoming a Therapist. She is the proud Founder and Executive Director of Free Your Wings Youth Mentoring (FYWYM)a community-driven non-profit organization. Her organization strives to break psychological & societal barriers restricting the success and growth of young people living in poverty. FYWYM empowers underserved families and youth through continuous support services encompassing strength-based programming and mentoring. Advocating for the people of Saint Joseph County Neighborhoods, FYWYM officially launched in 2019 and is on the road to becoming a certified 501(C) (3) non-profit organization.

Aja is a Human Rights Investigator, Life Coach and Community Activist. Growing up in poverty with many siblings, she learned to overcome obstacles at an early age. She has experienced the heartaches of homelessness and the trauma of witnessing the devastating impact of substance abuse. Having survived challenging times, she understands the struggles that impact the less fortunate. Motivated and inspired to break generational cycles, she strives to educate and empower others and address the root cause of issues plaguing communities. Having learned the importance of education from her father, she aims shed light on the power of knowledge for underserved youth.

As an investigator, Aja administers and enforces anti-discrimination legislation and conducts educational presentations on the Americans with Disabilities Act, discrimination in employment, education, public accommodation, sexual harassment and housing. An active member in her community, she along with her children volunteer and implement projects to empower others. An active National Youth Advisory Council member of the National Network for Youth, she assists the organization with educating policy makers to identify barriers and solutions to youth homelessness. The organization has made significant strides in changing federal policy on the issue of youth homelessness. Through this work, she was invited to assist Chapin Hall’s Voices of Youth Count national policy research initiative designed to link evidence and action by capturing the experiences of runaway and homeless youth.

 

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