Kelvin Washington Jr.
Kelvin Washington Jr., a native of Houston, Texas, has a simple motto: “serve to save.” Kelvin believes the foundation of hope begins with positive relationships. Dedicated to this belief, his sole purpose in life is to provide hope through building meaningful connections, especially for African-American males. Aiming to bring awareness to an often overlooked aspect of many communities, Kelvin founded “Think Different”, where he solely consults on the mental health of African American males. Prior to focusing on mental health, Kelvin also founded “Make A Change 4 Youth” in collaboration with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Alpha Chapter, where he focused on supporting African-American males in the DC area through reality pedagogy in the classroom.
Kelvin attained his B.A. from Howard University and also holds a M.Ed from the University of Washington in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on African-American males. In his program, Kelvin also earned an Environmental Education Certificate from IslandWood, located on Bainbridge Island, where he was the first African-American male graduate.
Dr. Nino Rodriguez
Prior to enrolling in grad school, Dr. Nino served as the Program Coordinator for the Juvenile Upward Mobility Program at the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club in Champaign, IL. While working with adolescent Black youth, referred by the Champaign Juvenile Court, he noticed that the males were being guided by their perceptions as to what it means to be a Black man and the opportunities available to them to achieve manhood status. This led Dr. Nino to pursue an understanding of Black male identity, specifically Black manhood and masculinity, and the impact that it has on the current state of Black males in America.
Dr. Nino Rodriguez received his PhD in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). During his time at UIUC, he was trained as a social-justice, scholar-practitioner with an expertise in the social and cultural studies of education. In addition to using his knowledge, skills, and abilities to assist in the quest for educational equity for all students enrolled in k – 12, Dr. Nino seeks to position Black males to liberate themselves of maladaptive notions of what it means to be Black man in America. Currently, he focuses on adolescent black males (ages 13 to 18), due to his desire to amplify their voices to ensure that their views and experiences will no longer be ignored during the development of “well-intentioned” programs, policies, and practices created to “serve them” at the community, state, and national levels.
Jaawell L. Faggins also known as Jay is a New Jersey native who moved to the Seattle area in 2017. He attended Kean University in Union, NJ and achieved a double major Bachelor’s in History and Psychology while also minoring in education. Later he attended grad school at Drew University in Madison, NJ to obtain his Master of Divinity. Jaawell is an ordained reverend and used to serve as an associate and youth pastor. Jaawell has been mentoring youth for over 15 years and considers it a life calling. He has a deep passion for black youth and helping them to find avenues to break generational curses. Jaawell was able to break the cycle of incarceration, gang violence and drug addiction that have plagued his family for generations, which gives him a deep and personal obligation to help other young people do the same. "I am no better than any of these kids, they are one decision from becoming me, just like I was one decision away from becoming a statistic." Jaawell truly feels that his legacy and his purpose is to be at MUST doing this work and hopes to move on to being a certified life coach. Prior to working for MUST he spent 7 years working for the YMCA in both Washington and New Jersey. While at the YMCA of Greater Seattle he did impactful youth work in Kent. He established the first summer leadership program named “Summer LIT.” He also takes pride in bringing the first middle school Black Student Union.
In his free time, Jaawell enjoys writing stories, coaching basketball, and working on his podcast, Unmei, "The Following Path" Jaawell’s greatest accomplishment is being a family man. He is a lucky husband and father to his son Judah. Jaawell vows that the cycle of generational curses stops with him. Jaawell has studied Kung-Fu for 25+ years, and has a dream to open free martial arts schools for black youth, to learn how to discipline and how to protect themselves and their community.
Rick Newell worked at the Rotary Boys & Girls Club in the Central District of Seattle for 7 years. During his time at the club the youth he coached won 9 national awards from a pool of over 2 million youth. From his time at the club Newell came to firmly believe that the need of the hour in the urban core is positive near-peer male role models. The MUST mentoring program was born from this belief. From its inception, Newell believed the best leader would be someone who accurately reflected those being served by the program. Someone just like Kelvin Washington.
Newell is currently serving MUST's HR, Operations, Marketing, IT and Accounting needs as well as fundraising. Rick is happily married to his wife, Rebecca, and loves being a dad to his four boys. They live a block off of Rainier Avenue and close to those they serve.
Our Current MUST Staff/Mentors
University of Washington, Masters of Elementary Education
Graduation year - 2020
University of Washington, Biolog/Biochem
Graduation year - 2023
Carlisle Classic Homes