Seated: Leslie Brown. Standing, left to right: Edna Michael, Brenda King, Sally Blanton. Absent from photo: Zuri Deyton
Youth Empowerment, Inc. recently added five new members to its Board of Directors. They are Sally Blanton, Leslie Brown, Edna Michael, Zuri Deyton, and Brenda King. These additional Board members represent a variety of backgrounds bring a wealth of experience to the Board.
Blanton, a native of Rutherford County, is a graduate of R. S. Central High School, Isothermal Community College, Gardner-Webb University, and Converse College. She has served 27 years in the Rutherford County School System and is currently serving as Principal of Forest City-Dunbar Elementary School. She is married to Weldon Blanton and is the mother of two sons, Michael and Christopher. She says that she is honored to be a Board member for Youth Empowerment because “the agency is more than an after-school program. The Youth Empowerment Center is focused on inspiring children to be more than they think they can be.”
Brown, whose daughter attends Youth Empowerment, works as support staff for North Carolina Cooperative Extension at the Rutherford County Center in Spindale. She is married to Greg Brown and is the mother of two daughters, Jennifer Brown Laney, and Latia, who is 13. She is serving on the Board because she is pleased with what her daughter has gained from being in the Youth Empowerment program. She sums up the program as being one that “promotes the physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the intellectual development of children.” She is also impressed with the variety of programs the center makes available to youth, including after school tutoring and help with homework, equine skills, boxing, and various arts.
Michael, a Rutherford County native, attended Rutherford County schools and went to Winston Salem Teachers College where she earned her degree in Early Childhood Education. She taught for 33 years in the Polk County School System. She is married to James F. Michael and she has two children, Maria and Jonathan. She is active in community organizations, including Rutherford Housing Partnership, NAACP, and Consumer Counseling. She is also active in Wells Spring United Methodist Church where she serves as president of U. M. Women, chairs the Finance Committee, and serves as a member of the Administrative Council.
Deyton, a Spanish teacher at East Middle School, lives in Rutherfordton. A graduate of the National University of Mexico and Mars Hill College, she has brought dual language expertise to the Board. She is currently working on the Spanish language version of the agency’s Website, as well as brochures to be available to our Spanish speaking population.
King, Youth Empowerment’s latest inducted Board member, is no stranger to the agency. It was her late husband, Earl King, along with others at Tanner’s Grove United Methodist Church, who set the wheels in motion for the establishment of a youth support organization that ultimately became Youth Empowerment, Inc. A native of Asheboro, NC, she has been a resident of Forest City since 1971. She worked for the Rutherford County School System for 20 years as a teacher assistant in 1st and 2nd grade classrooms. She is now married to Tommy Metcalf. Between them they have four children and five grandchildren. About her new role as a Youth Empowerment board member, she says, “Youth Empowerment is a cause I am learning more about and am proud to be a part of. We are encouraging youth to grow and learn in a manner that will help to make a better future for all of Rutherford County.”
Youth Empowerment, Inc., located at 182 Sparks Drive in Forest City, serves young people between the ages of 10 and 17. Its mission is to provide guidance, support, and life-skills for the youth and families of Rutherford County. For more information, contact Executive Director, Tracy Williams at 828-288-1021.
Article compliments of: Nancy Womack, Board Chair for Youth Empowerment