Board

Eoin O’Sullivan, Board Member

1. How would you describe your job in a few words to a stranger? 
I analyze financial data to help my firm make better decisions. I try to have fun while doing so!

2. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

It is an honor to lend a small helping hand to the marvelous youth of the Triad.

3. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?
Just the incredible work done by the organization to lift the youth of the Triad. The extraordinary commitment of the staff to the mental and physical health of the youth. Youth Focus is saving lives.  Join us on the journey!

4.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

It is great to be part of such a successful organization. The stories are plentiful of youth achieving educational and career success with Youth Focus support. Support our winning team!

 5. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
A life lived for others is a life worth living. Be kind. Don’t think you are better or worse than anyone else. Advice from my Mother.

6. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
You have to fail before you will succeed. You are good enough as you are. Things will work out. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

 7. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

Teens/Young Adults are selfish. I think it is quite the opposite and the youth will save the World for future generations.

8. What’s one song you have completely memorized?

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Amber Khan, Board Member

Say hello to Amber Khan, Youth Focus Board Member.  

1. How would you describe your job in a few words to a stranger? 
I am the Program Director for the National Board for Certified Counselor Foundation (NBCCF), and in this role, I oversee the Foundation scholarship, fellowship, and capacity-building programs.

2. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

Youth Focus is unique in the many ways that it is helping and is nurturing the young people in our community. As a counselor, I love that this organization provides evidence-based counseling services that reduce and eliminate trauma symptoms.

3. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?
Youth Focus has a range of unique programs that are impactful and are not found elsewhere in this community.

4.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

Helping to reduce the impact that traumatic life experiences can have on young people is important to me, as they are truly our future. It is important that we support their growth, by giving them the care and resources that are provided by Youth Focus.

 5. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
My dad has always believed in my ability to accomplish great challenges. That confidence has propelled me forward throughout my life.

6. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Don’t worry too much. It will work out, but you will need to work hard for it every step of the way.

 7. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

The biggest misconception is that young people are living an easy or stress-free life. The truth is that young people are under a lot of pressure, during a unique time in their lives, where environmental pressures are heavy. These are reasons why the work of Youth Focus is even more important.

8. What’s one song you have completely memorized?

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Shilpa Philips, Board Member

One visit to Act Together is all it took for Shilpa Philips to join our Board, and we’re so lucky to have her. 

1. How would you describe your job in a few words to a stranger? 
I work at Volvo Group North America, and I put together financial reports so executives can make sound business decisions.

2. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

Working directly with the young adults that Youth Focus serves.

3. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?

How many youths are served each year, the impact in the community, and how everyone can help.

4.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

One visit to Act Together Crisis Care is all it took.

 5. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
A friend once said, “Everything is foreign until it isn’t.” Everything in our lives that we consider “normal” was once foreign, so we shouldn’t resist new ideas/things/people, which is often our gut reaction.

6. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Don’t worry about what others think of you. If you follow your instinct on what is right, you will gain the support you need.

 7. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

That they are apathetic in nature. They care a lot, more than us often. Teens and young adults have spent their lives caring so much that many put on an apathetic façade as a defense mechanism.

8. What’s one song you have completely memorized?

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Carl Jones, Board Member

Say hello to Carl Jones, Youth Focus Board Member.  Carl is the Director of Development at UNCG.

1. How would you describe your job in a few words to a stranger? 
I work at UNCG as the Director of Development for the College of Arts & Sciences, and I meet with alumni and donors who want to give back monetarily to help grow the College and UNCG as a whole.

2. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

Knowing that the programs and staff are committed to helping underserved youth in our community.

3. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?
I wish they understood the need in our community for all of the services that are provided.

4.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

Being a mentor for several years I have seen firsthand the impact the Youth Focus can have on young people.

 5. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
Your life and career with not be a straight path. There will be twists and turns, but if you stay the course you with end up on the right path.  My mother told me that.

6. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Work hard at everything you do.

 7. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

That they have been given everything without having to work for it.

8. What’s one song you have completely memorized?

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Jeff Smith, Board Member

Say hello to Jeff Smith! After working with us on the board for the Guilford Green Foundation, Jeff joined the Youth Focus board.


1. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

Knowing that the work we do makes a significant difference for young people who would otherwise be left without options.

2. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?

The extent of the work and the impact it has on the most vulnerable in our community.    It’s definitely a message that resonates with people when they learn about it.

3.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

I learned about Youth Focus when working on the Guilford Green Board.  I participated in a couple of events where we painted rooms and raised money.

I also assisted with a dinner and game night at Higher Ground.  Seeing the kids laugh, enjoy themselves, and have some sense of normalcy while going through extraordinarily difficult situations made me see the value Youth Focus brings in providing some stability in an otherwise frightening time for these young folks.

4. What’s the best advice you were ever given? 
Don’t worry about the things you can’t control. Wasn’t given by one person, but from experience, parents, faith leaders, and friends.

5. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Problems can seem huge and insurmountable when close at hand.  But, time and distance help you to realize they are much smaller and more manageable than you think.

6. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

That they have a sense of entitlement.

7. What’s one song you have completely memorized?

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Yubisela Aranda Sandoval, Board Member

Say hello to Yubisela Aranda Sandoval, a Youth Focus Board Member and UNCG employee.

1. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

I have the opportunity to make an impact on their lives.

2. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?

The staff’s commitment and love for the youth in our community. 

3.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

The opportunity to serve an organization that’s helping youth in my community. 

4. What’s the best advice you were ever given? 
To believe in me and to not give up.

5. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Do not take yourself too seriously. Live each moment being yourself and find ways to take care of your mind body and soul. 

6. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

The biggest misconception we have about teens and young adults today is that they should have a life plan and be ready to tackle it. Sure, many of us knew what we wanted to “do” or “be when grew up” but we were so caught up in this world that we forgot to enjoy our youth. 

7. What’s one song you have completely memorized?

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Laurie Ford, Board Member

We’d like to introduce you to Laurie Ford, a Youth Focus Board Member and Managing Director of Lomonaco Investments.  Lomonaco develops mixed-use and residential communities throughout the Southeastern U.S.

1. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

It is a privilege being a part of an organization that helps transform the lives of young people and to be able to see the exponential impact those transformations have on the world.

2. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?

I wish people could better understand the real-world struggles of these kids. I believe this enhanced perspective would cause more people to rally around this worthy cause financially and otherwise.

3.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

Our family has a heart for kids who find themselves in unsafe and unsupportive environments. We feel called to do something about it. We put a lot of effort into finding the right organization to support, one that aligns with our values and is positioned to do the most good – Youth Focus is the perfect fit!

4. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
Have courage and be kind – Cinderella’s mother

5. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
If you want to succeed at anything worthwhile in life, you must have grit (passion and perseverance for long-term goals).  You must continue to push through tough times and push past self-doubt, even when you make mistakes.

6. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

That they are unrelatable and shallow.

7. What’s one song you have completely memorized?

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Sean Haynes, Board Member

Meet Sean Haynes, a Youth Focus Board Member.  Sean works for Mack Truck as a Business Analyst.

1. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

Knowing that the work being done can change the trajectory of people’s lives.

2. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?

This organization makes a real impact on local youth. 

3.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

A friend who was already involved on the board. 

4. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
My uncle told me nothing good ever happens after midnight.

5. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Go to Carolina, not State.

6. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

They are without direction or purpose.

7. What’s one song you have completely memorized?

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Summer Foster, Board Member

Say hello to Summer Foster, Youth Focus Board Member.  Summer works in the Department of Education at UNCG.

1. How would you describe your job in a few words to a stranger? 
I work in the School of Education. I’m fortunate to be able to train students on how to become amazing teachers in our school system!

2. What is your favorite thing about working with Youth Focus?

Our close ties with the LGBTQ community. We partner with other local organizations, specifically the Guilford Green Foundation, to provide support to our youngest folks at risk. I am a proud member of both boards and only wish there was such support when I was growing up and coming out. We have far too many kiddos displaced from their homes due to their sexuality or gender identity.

3. What is one thing you wish more people knew about Youth Focus?

How necessary this organization is to the needs of our community. I’m not sure folks realize there’s a huge need.

4.   What drew you to Youth Focus?

The staff!

 5. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
Listen more than you speak. My high school coach used to say that on repeat. To this day, it sticks with me. Everyone wants to feel heard.

6. What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Don’t think so much! It’s okay to just BE.

 7. What’s the biggest misconception people have about teens and young adults today?

That they don’t know how to communicate and are too dependent on technology.

8. What’s one song you have completely memorized?
I know the lyrics to every New Kids on the Block song ever written. I can remember songs from 1986 but can barely tell you what I ate for lunch yesterday.

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