LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Once a coach, always a coach.

A Louisville nonprofit with the mission of helping at-risk teens and young adults plans to expand its reach with a new executive director at the helm. 

What You Need To Know

  • John Blackwell was named executive director of the Coalition Supporting Young Adults

  • Blackwell is a former college athlete and coach

  • CSYA is a Louisville based organization supporting 16-24 year olds

  • Blackwell has over 20 years of experience coaching and mentoring teens and young adultss

Talking to John Blackwell, it doesn’t take long before he brings up good advice from his parents.

“It’s funny, as I went to take this job, I was looking at some other opportunities. I had a really great conversation with my dad that said there’s a skill set and there’s a calling and from how I see it, son, you have a calling.”

It’s that kind of thoughtful guidance the new executive director of the Coalition Supporting Young Adults brings to the table.

Blackwell has been a cross country and track & field coach for colleges around the Midwest, including Bellarmine, Kentucky Wesleyan College, Notre Dame, and North Iowa Area Community College.

The former college athlete-turned coach is continuing a career in supporting young men and women. The 42-year-old could not be more excited about his new mission, which isn’t much different from the goals he’s always had.

“We look to bring those in who are both disengaged to re-engage them in education with housing and wraparound services and employment and for those who are engaged to provide an outlet for them to both peer mentor and have a voice at the table,” Blackwell explains.

Blackwell is building a network with other organizations aimed at helping 16 to 24-year-olds who may feel sidelined in life, have unhealthy habits or facing homelessness.

“My mom steered me correct on this years ago when she told me there are people who blaze a path for me that I will never know or meet so it is my responsibility to blaze a path for others and I think that’s where this comes from,” Blackwell said.

Just 2 weeks into the position, Blackwell is still arguably new to the role, but he’s not new to the goal. He’s dedicated his entire life to helping young people, and he wants you on his team.

“I would like to let the entire state know that we are working to truly bring and invoke transformational change for young adults,” said.

CSYA estimates one in four young people in Louisville aged 16 to 24 are not engaged in education or employment. This coalition aims to change that.