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Executive Director

Jeniece D. Mitchell

Jeniece D. Mitchell is a native of Urbana, Illinois, a graduate of Urbana High School, a two-time graduate of Eastern Illinois University, and a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has taught at various levels in both Urbana and Champaign school districts. Currently, she is Urbana School District’s Family Liaison and the Executive Director of Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center.


Jeniece is passionate about serving others in her community through her membership in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Altrusa International, and her own initiatives, which include Mrs. Mitchell’s Closet and the Janice Mitchell Achieving Excellence Scholarship.   


Her hobbies include singing, reading and writing poetry, watching movies, and occasionally swimming and hooping.


Life motto: “Chin up little chew-chew and keep chuggin’ along!” -JDM-


Favorite scripture: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat my flesh, they stumbled and fell.” 

Board of Directors

Dr. Francis Ihejirika, President

I have been involved with UNCC since it was created because I believed in its mission. One of my strongest passions is mentoring children because they are our best hope for a better future. I could see from the beginning that Mrs. Mitchell, the Director, has a very strong passion for children as well. UNCC creates a very safe and nurturing environment for the children of the community. Mrs. Mitchell is able to inspire these children, enlighten them and always encourage them to achieve academic excellence. I appreciate the opportunity to play a part in the success of UNCC and look forward to helping the center expand its services and make a positive impact on the academic success and lifetime achievements of the children in the community.

As a Pediatrician, I consider the future of a child's life to be a blessing to humanity. And, as an educator at the PASS program, I feel that making sure that children become highly educated is the greatest source of hope in tomorrow. The vision of the Director, Mrs. Mitchell, is very powerful; her energy is endless; and her motivation is infectious. Those of us who stand behind her and support her do so proudly.

CEO & Founder, Director of PASS Program

Otis Williams, Vice President

Nothing that we do in the community is more important than working with our youth.  The Center provides a safe learning environment and has a holistic approach to community development, involving parents, concerned community individuals, and community agencies and organizations.  I serve and volunteer because I believe in the mission of The Center. I have great confidence in its Director, Janice Mitchell, our local "social entrepreneur," who is the catalyst in mobilizing social and financial capital to provide the programs and services our youth require.

Associate Director and Assistant Dean of Students, Office of Minority Student Affairs (Retired), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Michael Jeffries, Treasurer

I was the first person in my family to receive a college degree; all of my younger siblings did the same thing. I served as a Chicago Public School teacher, a counselor at the University of Minnesota, and then a Dean at the University of Illinois for thirty-five years. I learned that students will be successful if they try and are given a helping hand. My calling in life is to help others, even after retirement. UNCC is a great place for youth to achieve goals, dreams, and make friends with future leaders.

Associate Dean of Student & Director of Minority Student Affairs (Retired), University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Donna Tanner-Harold, Interim Secretary

I serve on the Board of Directors of UNCC because I am passionate about and am a long time supporter of providing educational opportunities for young people in our community and in strengthening families. UNCC does an outstanding job of nurturing students and connecting them with valuable, tangible resources.  

Associate Professor/Counselor, Parkland College

Tracee Peeples-Palmer, Member at Large

I am serving because I feel it is important work for our children and for our community. I would love to be involved in increasing public awareness and charitable funds for The Center.

Chief Clerk, Department of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Board of Directors meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 1401 E. Main Street, Urbana

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