Meet Our Team
Jacob Aaron Bell is part of a dynamic family lineage steeped in the arts, community organizing, and activism. Jacob brings over 15 years experience working with diverse communities as is reflected in his passion for social justice and developing family self-sufficiency within the Black community. As a co-founder of Freedom Startups, Jacob's creative vision has been critical in the development of an entrepreneurial program that seeks to redefine what it means to be a Black business owner in the Northland.
Having relocated from California to the Midwest in 2005, Jacob pursued a degree in Fine Arts with a specialization in Acting and a minor in Communications at the University of Minnesota Duluth. His artistic background, coupled with his passion for social activism, has given him a unique perspective on strengthening and developing social assets within diverse communities.
As the Executive Director, Jacob leads FFC with an unwavering commitment to the principles of his predecessors and community members, while striving to create unapologetically Black spaces that celebrate family. Mr. Bell continues to work to exceed the dreams of his elders and set a new benchmark for future generations.
Pez is a New Jersey native and has been working with youth and families for 10+ years. Having moved to Duluth in 2016, his passion for serving those around him continues to be evident each day. He currently serves as the Operations Director for Family Freedom Center/Neighborhood Youth Services. He loves football and cheesecake.
Freedom Farms Coordinator
As the Freedom Farms coordinator I maintain the proceedings at our urban farm/ gathering space on 6th ave E and tenth street.
Stephen Sinclair has been with Neighborhood Youth Services since March 2022, and came under Family Freedom Center in August. He has worked in youth services and afterschool programs for the last eight years, including work at Northwood Children's Services, Voyageur Bus Company, AmeriCorps, and the Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln Park. He is focused on providing educational support to our kids as well as organizing activities on site and opportunities for exploration and involvement throughout our community.
Senior Youth Specialist
My goal is to promote positive support, growth, and development in the lives of our youth by working with their ability to make them successful.
Restorative Justice Specialist
Audrey is a 2022 graduate from the College of Saint Scholastica with a BA in Peace and Justice Studies. They have spent years working closely with children of all ages and backgrounds and has been passionate towards being a mentor to kids since they were in high school. Audrey joined Neighborhood Youth Services through the Family Freedom Center merger in August 2022. During this time, they volunteered in the kitchen when services were needed and has created amazing relationships with the kids at NYS.
Elders Services Coordinator
I’m 22 years old. I’m finishing up my two majors at UMD this semester. I majored in Environmental Sustainability and Geography, along with Sociology. I enjoy being outside and doing things like hike and play golf. Overall just enjoy having a good time.
Dr. Olaf Kuhlke wears multiple hats in the world of entrepreneurship. For the Family Freedom Center, he coordinates the Freedom Startups programs and teaches the Entrepreneurial sessions of the Adulting Basics Courses. For Integrative Resources LLC, he serves as president and offers occasional workshops on leadership. His full-time job is being an Associate Professor of Geography and Cultural Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where he currently offers courses on cultural entrepreneurship and the creative industries. Dr. Kuhlke is a passionate advocate for the establishment of cultural entrepreneurship as an academic discipline and practice, and has several publications about the theoretical foundations of this new form of entrepreneurship emerging out of the liberal arts. Olaf originally hails from Germany. He loves to cook, read, and spend time outdoors on his fat bike.
Terrence "T" Sain
T is Family Freedom Center’s youth program coordinator. He brings creative energy to the team and works hard to ensure that programming is successful. T is also one of the first participants in the Freedom Youth Start-Ups program for young entrepreneurs, through which he plans to become a certified real estate broker, a project he hopes will help him create equitable housing opportunities along the North Shore. Through his work with FFC, he has also been able to connect his friends with business-resources in support of their business goals. T is attending Lake Superior College while continuing to develop his business acumen and develop new youth programming at FFC.
Hi, I'm Genesis! I started at NYS as an intern in 2020-21. As an intern, I ran arts and crafts activities with the kids. One of my favorites was making slime! I enjoyed the time I spent with the kids, so after my graduation in 2021, I decided to work at NYS full-time. I took a gap year, but I am back in school, so I'm working part-time at NYS. I'm excited to still be able to work here because I believe NYS is doing important work by providing a safe, fun, and educational space for children and youth.