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Celebrating Local Black Heroes: Jonathan Yarbrough

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.

Jonathan Yarbrough, Operations Manager at the Douglass Community Association, believes in working together toward positive change. A 2023 Master’s graduate of Michigan State University, Yarbrough is passionate about driving our community toward success.


Throughout his life, Yarbrough’s mom has inspired him most. “She kept me grounded and kept me around positive people,” Yarbrough shares. While Yarbrough was a high school student in 2020, his mother completed her Master’s degree amidst the pandemic. Her drive and positivity provided encouragement to Yarbrough as he moved forward and completed his own Master’s program.

“While she was pursuing her degree it motivated me to finish high school and go on to college. She taught me perseverance,” Yarbrough reflects.


In his pursuit of driving his community toward success, Yarbrough gives back by working at the Douglass Community Center. There, he ensures everyone he encounters has what they need. Among many other things, Yarbrough addresses food insecurity and lack of weather-appropriate clothing to help our community feel care.

Through a partnership with St. Luke’s Diaper Bank, Yarbrough works to ensure that babies in our community have access to diapers. He also works closely with Loaves and Fishes to ensure that food insecurity is addressed as best as he can. Free coats, hats, and gloves are also provided to local youth at through the Douglass Community Center under Yarbrough’s watch. “It’s extremely important to me that everyone is taken care of,” he explains.

I hope my story impacts and inspires others to get up and give back. Jonathan Yarbrough


Yarbrough shares that if given the opportunity, he would urge his younger self to try new things. “[When I was in high school] I was so consumed with sports that I didn’t realize that there were other things out there for me to try,” Yarbrough shares.

Now a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, an organization he wouldn’t have considered in his younger years, Yarbrough sees the benefit of thinking outside of the box.

He encourages others to do the same. “I tell kids now that there’s more to life than sports. Go find your passion. Join that club that your personal friend circle is not a part of.”


When asked what legacy he hopes to leave behind, Yarbrough shares, “I hope that I leave people believing that I want the best for everyone in general. And I care for them, no matter what.

Through his selfless work at the Douglass Community Association, Jonathan Yarbrough cares deeply for the community. By working to ensure the people he encounters have what they need while simultaneously driving the community toward success, he is bringing his hopes for his legacy to fruition.