The John & Janice Wyatt Foundation recently welcomed Charlene Jones as its new director of programs. She replaces Jymil Thompson who returned to Dorchester County Public Schools as the new assistant superintendent for the district.
Jones’ role will be to oversee grantmaking for the foundation’s nonprofit partners and to help coordinate programming throughout Dorchester County. The foundation’s mission is to support families and children by increasing access to – and improving the quality of – early childhood education and after-school/summer organizations.
She will also serve as the lead for the local Campaign for Grade Level Reading collective impact initiative launched in 2022.
Jones has more than 30 years of experience in human services. Prior to joining the J2W Foundation, she served as the Alcohol and Other Drug Use Prevention Services supervisor, on the MidShore Opioid Misuse Prevention Program leadership team, and as the Youth Action Council advisor at the Dorchester County Health Department.
She also coordinated the Drug Free Communities grant leading the Partnership for a Drug Free Dorchester Coalition.
Before coming to Maryland, her passion for working with youth and families led her to Northern Educational Services as the health educator and teen advisor and program coordinator at the South End Community Center, managing two locations in Springfield, Mass.
She began her service in Maryland at the Dorchester County Family Support Early Head Start program as a family advocate, service coordinator for the Dorchester County Public School’s Judy Center, and executive director at New Beginnings Youth and Family Services.
As the service coordinator, she worked closely with the director to assist daycare providers in obtaining high quality standards of care. She also assisted with the Judy Center, Pre-K and Kindergarten programs in the Sandy Hill School District and the Jack and Jill Early Learning Center in obtaining Maryland State Department of Education Accreditation and Validation.
“I have always served my community and I love working with young people” said Charlene. “Even as a young woman I operated what we now call youth programs. Little did I know that those programs would set the stage for my future career.”
Jones said that over the years she has nurtured personal and working relationships within the community and looks forward to continuing these relationships in her new leadership role. The Campaign for Grade Level Reading, she said, focuses on an important predictor of school success and high school graduation- grade level reading by the end of third grade.
“The campaign brings our community together to work collaboratively and constructively for the benefit and success of our children” Jones said. “I believe in collective impact and the strength of community; and that by working together, the campaign will better serve youth and their families.”
Matt Peterson, executive director for the J2W Foundation, said Jones’ wealth of experience will be an asset.
“We have made much progress over the last two years and I’m confident Charlene will not only continue this momentum but will evolve our partnership programs into something even more effective,” he said.
Jones received a bachelor’s in human services at Sojourner Douglass College and a master’s in human services/marriage and family therapy from Liberty University.