Damion was born in Greenville, Mississippi, and moved to Memphis when he was 10 years old. A few years after moving to Memphis, Damion was introduced to MAM. He began attending MAM Olivet when he was around 14 years old. Although he was attending church and MAM regularly, Damion didn’t fully understand the Gospel. He remembers making “bad choices” as a teenager, despite his mother being an attorney and his father a preacher. It wasn’t until he witnessed friends passing away and going to jail and even spending time in jail himself, that he realized the need to reevaluate his lifestyle. Damion knew something was missing from his life, and he quickly knew that something was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He began following Jesus at 17 years old and got baptized at MAM Olivet shortly after. The late Neighborhood Director at MAM Olivet, Linda Skinner connected Damion with a male mentor, Pastor Tim Jackson, who began discipling him (the two have maintained their discipleship relationship to this day).
After graduating from Kirby High School, Damion began his college career at Christian Brothers University. He also began working part-time at MAM Olivet. His first job responsibility was taking attendance. Damion transferred to the University of Mississippi at Ole Miss which caused him to leave MAM temporarily. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology at Ole Miss, Damion eagerly returned to Memphis and began volunteering at MAM Olivet. He slowly transitioned back into working at MAM part-time. He took a position as an Up2Us Coach. Up2Us is the national leader in engaging, training, and supporting sports coaches to serve as mentors and role models to youth. Damion really enjoyed the Up2Us program and the youth sports training he received. After this position, he transitioned to MAM’s Associate Youth Coordinator (AYC) program. The AYC program was designed to better equip MAM employees for full-time youth ministry. Associate Youth Coordinators attend classes and work on projects while working with a target age group at a MAM gym. A full-time Youth Coordinator position opened up, and Damion was encouraged to apply for it. However, he was skeptical because it would require him to leave MAM Olivet – his home away from home. At this point, he had grown up as a MAM kid and worked almost ten years at MAM Olivet. He prayed and sought wise counsel from coworkers and family, and finally he felt at peace with the decision to move forward with the application process. He has been working as a full-time Youth Coordinator at the MAM Grizzlies Center since February.
Damion’s favorite part about working at MAM is being able to give back to kids that remind him so much of himself. He gets to stand up everyday and proclaim the truth of the Gospel – that MAM students can choose God no matter where they come from or what they have done. Damion describes himself as a living testimony that God can use anyone! Damion also enjoys the opportunity to be transparent with MAM kids. He loves being a “big kid” around them and showing them that “you can always have fun no matter how old you are.”
Damion recalls a specific student named Alvin who he described as not a troubled kid, but a misunderstood kid. Alvin was having a hard time, so Damion reached out to him. He learned that Alvin did not play basketball, so Damion decided to put him on his team. Having Alvin on the basketball team kept him out of trouble and taught him valuable skills such as teamwork, perseverance, and character. Alvin turned out to be pretty good at basketball, and he currently plays on a high school team. Damion especially remembers when Alvin decided to put his trust in Jesus Christ.