CEO Corner

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JerrySaunders-WEBJerry Saunders, Sr., Chief Executive Officer of Africentric Personal Development Shop, Inc. (APDS)which is a behavioral healthcare center specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and education classes to prevent, treat, and eliminate substance abuse and domestic violence. In addition, APDS provides community outreach, which includes male and female support groups and a 9-week SMART 2.0 Summer Enrichment Program for youth ages 6 to 13.  APDS has a staff of 23 including 10 seasonal employees. APDS is certified by Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS).

Saunders serves on the board of trustees for Creative Housing, Inc. and the board of directors for Women’s Center for Economic Opportunity.

Prior to joining APDS in April 1997, Saunders served ten years as executive director of the Eldon W. Ward YMCA Branch of Central Ohio.

Jerry has more than 35 years of personal and community development experience.  Saunders has an extensive history of serving on governing boards of public entities and 501(C)3 non-profit community development organizations including:

  • Commissioner of the City of Columbus Recreation and Parks Department (15 years)
  • Board of Trustees for Franklin County Children Services (6years)
  • Children’s Hunger Alliance (6years)
  • Officer on the Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (4years)
  • Inaugural Chairman of After-School All-Stars Columbus Board of Trustees (6 years)
  • Board of Directors for the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. (4 years)
  • Founding member on the Board of Trustees for Mid Ohio Stranger Abduction Alert (AMBER Alert)
  • United Way of Central Ohio Education Vision Council
  • Columbus City Schools Education Foundation Board of Trustees
  • The Ohio State University Youth Violence Prevention Advisory Board
  • Pickerington Schools 21st Century Advisory Board
  • Tri-Chair of Together 2000 of Franklin County
  • Co-Chair of the “Building a Better Columbus Committee” which he spearheaded the passage of eight Capital Improvement Bond Issues for $590.9 million.

The Oberlin College graduate is the recipient of numerous awards including the Columbus Urban League Award of Excellence, 100 Black Men of Central Ohio Mentor of the Year, and Greater Columbus Community Helping Hands, Inc. Ambassador of Health and Wellness Award. Saunders received the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow of The Rotary Foundation from Columbus Rotary.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Jerry attended Mohawk Junior-Senior High School. He is married to E. Gayle Saunders and they have one son, Jerry Jr.