In the Volunteer Spotlight we recognize a Youth Service, Inc. volunteer making an impact in the communities we serve. Lavon Howard volunteers at Youth Emergency Service (YES).

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I have been working with youth since I was 14 years old. I’m the CEO and Founder of the 501c3 nonprofit, Path to Greatness, a program designed to empower elementary, middle school, and high school students to be GREAT. I started the program because I did not want the youth to experience what I went through in elementary, middle, and high school. When I started, it was supposed to be a one-time session but, the students loved it so much, and I kept it going. Now the organization just celebrated their 7th anniversary. As the program grows, I recruit speakers throughout Philadelphia to come to the schools and other programs to talk to students about their Path to Greatness based on a given topic(s) such as: relationships /friendships based on mission, anger/forgiveness, life after school, financial literacy, etc.

In addition to the program, I’ve self-published three books in Release (2012), Path to Greatness (2013) Transform NOT Conform: The Path to Greatness Story (2019).

I love to give my time, heart, and talents to the youth, and a positive male role model. My favorite hobbies are playing sports, going to the movies, driving, going to sporting events, plays, and spoken word events. I love to laugh and surrounded by people who are problem solvers and doers in the community instead of talkers.

Q: How long have you been volunteering at YSI?

I been volunteering with YSI the past 4 years.

Q: Why did you choose YSI when you were looking for a place to volunteer?

I wanted to share my expertise and wisdom with the youth who are placed there. I want to tell the youth that where they are staying at is temporary and not permanent.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges faced by you volunteering at YES?

Getting youth engaged and focused.

Q: What do you do to overcome these challenges?

To keep in mind that this is not about me but it is for the youth who are there and who want to be successful in life.

Q: Why do you think it is important to volunteer?

It is vital for people to give back because we should be about making the people who come behind us BETTER than we were at their age. Youth need our wisdom, perspective, experience, and transparency for them to admire, respect, and take heed to.

Q: What do you enjoy most about volunteering at YES?

The impact we leave on the kids.