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Promise Team Spotlight - Jonathan James

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Jonathan James

After nearly a year, the Promise Team Spotlight makes its triumphant return with Community Engagement Coordinator Jonathan James! A new addition to The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise) team, James plays an important part in fulfilling the organization’s concept of cradle to career support for students.

“I coordinate various community events with other groups and organizations,” he explained. “I also assist in expanding the Promise Scholar Outreach Network.

“Helping people remove the barriers that may have held them back is so rewarding. My life would be completely different if it weren’t for The Promise, and I am excited to see how many people I can help.”

As a member of Kalamazoo Central High School’s class of 2008, The Promise helped James discover a career path that met his interests.

“After graduating high school, I worked a few jobs before starting my degree,” he recalled. “I went to Kalamazoo Valley Community College for pre-med but eventually switched to biomedical sciences at Western Michigan University (WMU).”

In December 2020, James earned his Bachelor of Science. Wanting to continue his education further, he began pursuing a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology at WMU in 2021

“If it weren’t for The Promise, I wouldn’t have gone back to get my master’s degree,” he shared. “It has really made a difference in my life and will change my son’s life.”

In addition to being both a professional and a student, James is also a proud father. Although he describes fatherhood as having “trial by fire” moments, he is thankful for the experiences it has given him and the help he has received from friends and family.

“I’ve learned a lot from being a parent,” he said. “My advice to new parents would be to accept help when you need it. Ask other parents what they did. It might not be the exact same story, but there is still wisdom in everyone’s experience.”

As a member of The Promise’s staff, a former Promise Scholar, and the parent of a future Promise Scholar, James has a unique outlook on the gift that is being provided to Kalamazoo Public Schools’ students and encourages future recipients to be proactive in how they use it.

“Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today,” he recommended. “The longer I took to go back to school and pursue a degree, the harder it was.”

Thank you for sharing your story, Jonathan. Best of luck in both your education and your role within The Promise!

For more information on the Promise Scholar Outreach Network, visit The Promise’s website.

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