Jarvell Williams, 22, Illinois’s Foster Care System

Has been in foster care his entire life. He was born in a prison infirmary. He has experienced many types of out-of-home placements. Once he aged out of the foster care system, he went straight onto college. 

Throughout Jarvell’s life, he has made it his mission to serve in a large, diverse pool of activities. He has volunteered at Misericordia Disability Home, Carbondale Boys and Girls Club, Don Nash Community Center, City Lights: Restore St. Louis, Multiple Sclerosis Walk, etc.. Within these activities, he has helped advance the overall quality of the programs by providing personal insight on how best to facilitate and meet the participants’ needs. 

In College, Jarvell served as President for two organizations, Voices of Inspiration Gospel Choir and African Theatre Laboratory. With these groups, he can perform and educate through art. A Co-founder of the Social Justice Peer Educators group on campus, he facilitates inclusiveness training throughout his College campus for student housing and civil service employees. From this, he created equal opportunity action plans for all the Social Justice Organizations on campus, ranging from the Gay-Straight Alliance to the Black Student Council. He is also a volunteer in the Study Abroad office, providing counsel ship towards prosperous students who want to study abroad. 

Jarvell calls himself a thespian, meaning he is a part of a long network of theatergoers, playwrights, actors, and directors. He uses his spare time to perform in plays, write and direct skits and produce other written material. He also sings and writes poetry. 

In 2018, Jarell graduated from Southern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Psychology and Intercultural Relations. After graduating he worked for 1 year as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Prescott, Arizona as the Program Supervisor for The Launch Pad Teen Center. He is now serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in China as a University English Teacher.