Jennifer Cooney, Executive Director
Jennifer and her husband Paul have made Corbin, Ky their home for the past 20 years. Having been a full-time mom to her three now adult sons, Jennifer recently returned to school and received her B.S. in Communications/Instructional Design from Asbury University. In addition to her work with AMP, she has consulted with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations as an Instructional Designer.
Jennifer found her passion for mentoring growing up on Paces Creek in Clay County. Over the years, she watched as her parents consistently made themselves available to the young people in their community. Whether it was neighborhood kids suffering from the effects and mindset of generational poverty or the still-steady stream of young recovering addicts who have taken turns making the spare room their sanctuary, Jennifer has witnessed first-hand the “power of one.”
“My vision is to see the people of Eastern Kentucky embrace natural mentoring opportunities, building meaningful relationships with the youth God has placed in their lives. I believe incorporating formal mentoring best practices into multi-generational relationships is the missing piece we are searching for and could be the catalyst for transformational change throughout Appalachia.”
Bill Jones, retired August 2019 after 37 years in education, the last 18 years as Principal of Corbin Intermediate School in Corbin, Kentucky. Bill was Kentucky’s Elementary School Principal of the Year in 2007. He served as president of the Kentucky Association of Elementary School Principals (KAESP) in 2010. He most recently served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). In addition to serving on the Appalachia Mentoring Program (AMP) Board of Directors, Bill also serves on the City of Corbin Library Board of Directors and Bible Release-Time Education Association of Kentucky (BREAK) Board of Directors. Bill is married to Lora Renner Jones and they have two children, Julie and Taylor.
Michael Marion was raised by his grandparents in Snake Holler, Tennessee…otherwise known as Sneedville. As a result of being mentored, he developed a love for reading and a desire to go to college. Michael was the first in his family to graduate high school and college. In 1982, he graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Leadership Communications and Sociology.
After marrying Sherry Peters, the couple lived in and managed group homes for teenage boys in North Carolina and Tennessee. As of result of seeing early intervention as a key to helping boys break the cycle of poverty and family dysfunction, Michael started Boys to Men (now Rise Up For Kids) in 1992. Rise Up is an after-school and mentoring program. What started out as a weekly small group program has grown into a daily after-school mentoring program in which hundreds of youth have been impacted.
The primary mission of Rise Up is to help youth prepare for the future and be relationally successful through mentoring, school help, and life skills education. Michael and Sherry have 8 children, five of whom are adopted, ranging in age from 16-35. Michael’s great delight are his four grandchildren who still think he’s cool!
Colonel Danny E. Davis, USAF (Retired)
Colonel Danny E. Davis, USAF (Ret.) served our Nation for over 24 years in the military, where he led over 16,000 people in human resources, planning, training, policy development, and international affairs strategy. After his retirement from the military, he served the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as a state government political appointee primarily focused on work-place safety and workforce development issues. Currently, he sits on the Board of Directors for the Appalachia Mentoring Project, which is dedicated to helping children and youth in eastern Kentucky gain additional opportunities to succeed. Additionally, he is a member of the Kentucky Advisory Committee to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, which promotes increased support for the United States’ world-wide diplomatic and development efforts among both politicians and the public.