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.
FOUNDER & CEO
Aja K. Ellington, MSW
Indiana University Master of Social Work graduate Aja K. Ellington is an award-winning progressive thinker who serves the South Bend, Indiana community as an exemplary Mental Health Professional representing several organizations committed to 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 and families living in poverty. In addition, she currently serves as the Diversity, Equity & Belonging Director at Ivy Tech Community College South Bend/Elkhart. From her past social work roles, Aja has developed skills in client-centered case management, clinical mentoring, trauma-informed care, mental health, addictions counseling, policy shaping, and advocacy which she now uses to empower and educate youth, families, and communities through public speaking and authorship. As the recipient of the Chamber of Commerce 40 under 40 award, South Bend Empowerment Zone Excellence and Service Award, City of South Bend Obama Award, Indiana University Alumni of the Year Award and chairperson of several standout organizations including but not limited to the National Network for Youth Homelessness and South Bend Regional Board of directors. Aja’s motivation stems from motherhood, growing up in poverty, and her goal of breaking damaging generational cycles. Aja continues to educate her twin children, who are also founders of their mentoring organization, the importance of responsibility and ownership. As Aja continues to climb the ladders of success in employment and academia, she will forever find time to nurture her soul by mentoring children and young adults among communities of color.
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.
JeffoNIA JONES, VERONICA MCCRAY
BENJAMIN SALDANA, christine delafuente, laquesha williams