Executive Director, Youth Achievement
YMCA of Rock River Valley
College Readiness A-Team
André is the Executive Director of the Youth Achievement YMCA which is a program services branch in the YMCA of Rock River Valley association, serving over 1800 young people and families every day in over 30 program sites around the Rockford Region.
André has many years of YMCA experience, most recently with the YMCA of Columbia, South Carolina, where he served as the Senior Director of their Youth Development Services Branch. Prior to that, he spent almost 12 years with the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities (YGTC) in Minnesota. There, André served in many roles, including as the State Program Director of Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government, where he was responsible for managing a program that served over 2,400 young people every year from all over the state of Minnesota and part of Western Wisconsin. André also recently served as a member of the first ever cohort of World Alliance of YMCAs Global Change Agents. He was later voted the President/Chair of the United States cohort and has served in that role for the past 4 years.
André also served on the YGTC Diversity, Inclusion and Global Council, worked in Youth Intervention Services, providing services to homeless youth and families, helped establish and served as the Co-Chair of the YGTC Emerging Leaders Resource Network, served on the Board of The Minnesota Academic League Council, serves on YMCA of the USA Diversity, Inclusion and Global planning committees, has been a staff member of the Central Leaders’ School for the last 10 years, spent two years as the Assistant Branch Director of a Boys & Girls Club, serves as a mentor to Emerging Leaders globally with the World Alliance of YMCAs, and serves on the Emerging Leaders Resource Network National Steering Committee.
What surprised you most about being involved with Alignment Rockford?
The overwhelming and obvious passion in the room for the betterment of Rockford's youth. The most surprising thing, however, was seeing folks from the private sector being so heavily involved and even leading the charge in what generally gets dubbed "non-profit, heart string work."
In your opinion, what impact can be made through aligning community organizations such as the YMCA of Rock River Valley through collective impact efforts like Alignment Rockford's?
The most impactful result is that the community sees that organizations are breaking down silos and putting egos aside for one single mission - to strengthen the community we are charged to serve. That's powerful!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I've lived in a lot of places. Rockford has inspired me in the way that so many people in the community come together with one common question: "How do we TRULY make things better for EVERYONE?" It truly is contagious and I'm proud and humbled to be a part of the answer to that question.