Congratulations to the Founder/Director of TEAM A.N.G.E.L. Mentoring and Youth Development Program, Ed Mitchell Jr. on celebrating 13 years of active community service. While growing up Ed Mitchell Jr., fondly known as “Lil Ed”, was a regular participant in community-based youth programs. The programs he was involved in, were based on a parallel family model that was both supportive and life-changing. The family community programming proved to be instrumental in helping Ed to get through high school and onto college. This was no easy task having to be a teenager dealing with the frequent loss of close friends and family to incarceration, mental breakdown, and death often due to gang violence. In an attempt to stay connected and give back, he then gets shot himself while chaperoning a party.
Noticing the recent cuts in community programming and the impact it was having on the youth in his neighborhood, Ed decided to do something. With the help from his friends who also participated in programs with him while growing up, Ed started TEAM A.N.G.E.L. (Avoid Negative Garbage Enjoy Life).
TEAM A.N.G.E.L. is a Mentoring and Youth Development program, designed to provide skill-building, self-awareness, and social awareness in a safe and inviting community for youth in the city of Syracuse. These skills will help improve students’ progress inside and outside the classroom, which will help instill positive relationships with their parents, peers, teachers, and others.
TEAM A.N.G.E.L., to date, has completed a Summer Learning Program, and currently runs an Alternative To Suspension Program at Corcoran High School, and a daily after-school program at Southwest Community Center in Syracuse, NY.
Team Angel is a movement you’ve started 13 years ago. Congratulations and thank you for your active service in giving back to youth, and the underserved throughout Syracuse NY.
What inspired you to start Team Angel and what keeps you motivated to stick with this impactful career after all of these years?
Eddie: I created Team A.n.g.e.l for many different reasons. Being a victim of gun violence, losing many family and friends to various acts of violence. The one thing that keeps me motivated daily is helping students from my experience growing up. Also feeding the homeless population, and giving back.
You often speak in schools and community centers motivating the youth to walk a path of positivity while avoiding negative garbage. What are some success stories you can share with kids you’ve worked with?
Eddie: Some of the best stories I hear from my former students while seeing them in public or random places they would say that I motivated them and if it wasn’t for me being in their life they wouldn’t be where they’re at in life today. It’s truly an honor and blessing to really inspire youth in the schools and the community.
You’re known for giving back not only through holiday donations and giveaways but yearly, especially to the homeless. You also have an outstanding track record of helping troubled teens and young adults change their lives around for the better. While doing this work how do you balance your mental health?
Eddie: That’s a GREAT question! Many days be tough for me working with so many kids and young adults in the schools and community. I have seen so much and really have some down days dealing with depression and anxiety. The main thing that keeps me at peace is when I’m feeding the homeless and speaking to students about life. It really makes me happy.
What is a current goal that you have?
Eddie: One goal of mine is that I want to travel more to tell my ministry all over the world and inspire other young people.
What can we expect from the Team Angel Movement for 2023?
Eddie: You can be on the lookout for more events, future speaking engagements, and also a children’s comic book.
What do you want your legacy as a community leader to look like?
Eddie: I just want my legacy to be like my dad’s legacy. He’s been helping the community for over 40 years. I want to reach that level, but have my own twist for the legacy I’m working on daily.
What else would you like our readers to know about you and the work that you do?
Eddie: I’m very thankful and grateful for how far I’ve reached. I’m very determined to push this movement all across the world and tell people to AVOID NEGATIVE GARBAGE ENJOY LIFE.
As Eddie continues to be a role model for his generation and be someone that his neighborhood and community can look up to be sure to keep up to date with him on Facebook and Instagram. Also, be on the lookout for his 2023 website.