Neighborhood Spotlight – Jamel Crawford

Jamel Crawford at Edna Griffen Park with some local youth

You have probably seen this guy out at Evelyn Davis Park doing kids programs, coaching the East High Boys Basketball, or making sure all the great programs at the Grubb YMCA are running smoothly.  Jamel Crawford is the Executive Director of the Grubb YMCA  and also a Mondamin Presidential Neighborhood resident.

Jamel is originally from Brooklyn, New York but came to Des Moines with a stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Springfield Missouri.  Jamel graduated from Central Bible College in Springfield and came to Des Moines to be a youth pastor at Metro Assembly of God.

He began working at the Grubb as a Life Skills instructor for the GED program.  From there, he became director of the GED, Sports and Teen programs.   He did such a wonderful job with those programs that he was promoted as the Executive Director and has been in that position for five years.  I asked Jamel what he loved about his community and he said that it was the potential and great sense of hope.  “Back in Brooklyn, there was no sense of hope, we didn’t have all the resources and things available right in the neighborhood like we do here”

It is easy to see that Jamel’s true passion is working with young people and he has said that he has and will continue to dedicate his career to supporting  and empowering young people to reach their potential.  Jamel starts telling me about a young man that he worked with at the Grubb that has just graduated from William Penn, a young lady that he mentored who is now in the Marines with a family of three, and the gentlemen he saw at Bonanza last night that graduated from the GED program years ago, that was so appreciative of the opportunity.

Jamel wanted to make sure that everyone in the Des Moines Mid City knows that the Grubb YMCA aims to be the BEST at youth development and helping kids reach their full potential.  He is always looking for ideas and partners to achieve that goal.  Be sure to see Jamel Crawford doing his Sidewalk Sunday School program at  Evelyn Davis Park, River Hills, and Oakridge this summer on Saturdays and Character Kids on Thursdays.

Jamel Crawford’s contact information is


And check out the Grubb YMCA blogspot at to find out all the great things for kids at the Grubb YMCA!

Jamel Crawford doing some programming at Evelyn K. Davis Park