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Celebrating Local Black Heroes: Jesse T. Herron

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan is proud to celebrate Local Black Heroes throughout the year. Sign up for our to get updates in your inbox and learn more about the impact of local heroes in your community.

Jesse Herron, Senior Pastor of the New Life Fellowship Church and Mentoring Program Specialist for Kalamazoo Public Schools, is a man of many hats. He gives back to the Kalamazoo community in innumerable ways- particularly in the ways he recognizes and ignites the potential of youth.


Jesse Herron was raised on a farm in Decatur, MI with 9 siblings. He shares that his parents, Oliver and Annie Herron, were “the greatest mentors in [his] life.” He explains that they inspired him to reach for the top in school and life. In addition to this, his parents “demonstrated faith and compassion for those who were in need in our community.”

The influence his parents had on him shows up in the work Herron does today. Among several accolades, Herron serves as a mentor with different community and faith based organizations. He has volunteered at Spring Valley Elementary School for the last 6 years and has provided holiday baskets to families for over 20 years. Herron has been the Senior Pastor at New Life Fellowship for 25 years. He has hosted Lift-Up-Through-Literacy for 7 years, and has served as a Mentoring Program Specialist with KPS for 3 years.


We asked Herron how he takes care of himself in the midst of caring deeply for his community. He shares, “Spending time with family is outstanding. I love fishing in the lakes around Michigan. I look forward to annual fishing trips around the country and Canada. My wife and I love traveling to different parts of our country and one day the world. I find growing a community garden is challenging and awesomely rewarding at the same time … growing up on a farm has impacted me in seeing the power of seed time and harvest.”


When asked what he would tell his younger self if given the opportunity, Herron explains that he would encourage himself to go after his dreams, study more, and have confidence in himself. These are sentiments he is surely sharing with the youth he interacts with today.

Herron would like to leave a legacy of “faith, hope, charity, hard work, and joy.” He goes on to share that he would like to leave a legacy that sees that the “lives of children and others are improved.” Through his work in the community, and the way he serves those in need, we are certain his legacy will be felt in our community for years to come.

Children and youth in Southwest Michigan waiting for a mentor just like you! Please click here to find out how you can make a BIG impact.