Omar Yamini Founder – Executive Director
Omar Yamini’s childhood began on the south side of Chicago in 1976. When he was 12 years old in 1988 his parents bought a home and moved their family to, the first suburb south of Chicago. He was raised in a God fearing two parent household with five siblings, three of whom are college graduates. His younger brother serves as a sergeant in the United States Air Force. His other brother, who is 16 months younger in age from him, became a 9 time All-American in track and football, went on to play in the NFL and inducted into the University of Iowa’s Hall of Fame. Mr. Yamini too received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Illinois Chicago in 2014.
At age 20, after being raised by parents who did their job the right way, Omar invited harmful influences into his life, and as a result he went to prison for 15 years under the “Theory of Accountability”. The demoralizing experience affected his spirit and soul so deeply it compelled him to write his book; “What’s Wrong With You!” (What You, Your Children, and Our Students Need To Know About My 15 Year Imprisonment From Age 20-35) in 2012. He wrote it without profanity so that our young people truly understand the mental and emotional devastation of prison and what will happen to any of us if we lose our dignity and decency and invite harmful influences into our lives. On January 20, 2014 he released it to Smashwords as a self-published e-book. One month later he had it printed as a soft cover book. To date His book and presentation has been accepted in 25 schools as reading and study material for students. With the support of his family, Omar founded “The Proper Perception, LLC” in the fall of 2012.
In 2000 Bashir Yamini was a wide receiver in the National Football League on special teams for the Tennessee Titians. He also served as a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys and the Carolina Panthers. He was a youth leadership counselor/mentor for at-risk children and planned weekly activities that helped the children understand the importance of education and making the right decisions.
Bashir tied the great Jesse Owens long jump record while attending the University of Iowa as a member of their track and field team. In 1997 he was a member of the United States Jr. Olympics team that traveled to Austria. From 1995 to 1999 he earned the honors of All American nine times in track and field and from 1996 through 1999 he was a Big Ten Champion nine times. He earned the National Long Jump Champion title in 1998. Bashir was the team captain for the football and track and field team during 98-99 and on September 14, 2012 he was honored to be inducted into the University of Iowa’s Hall of Fame. In 2008 Bashir was a regional sales executive with GDH Consulting, Plano, TX and Glotel, (IT Consulting) Addison TX.
Lionel Allen Jr.
Lionel Allen Jr. is Urban Prep Academy’s Chief Academic Officer and Vice President of School Operations. In this position, Mr. Allen works with the Principals of Urban Prep schools to achieve even greater levels of student achievement.
Mr. Allen was raised on the south side of Chicago and is a product of Chicago Public Schools. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree in Leadership and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Currently, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Urban Education Leadership from UIC. Mr. Allen has held many education and leadership positions, but most recently served as the nationally recognized Principal of the Sherman School of Excellence, the nation’s and the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s (AUSL) first NCLB turnaround school.
Jason W. Hardy
Jason Hardy is a native of Chicago and attended Northern IL University from 1994-1999. He received a Bachelors of Science and NIU Teacher Of The Year in 1999. Jason is currently teaching physical education at Thornton High School in Harvey IL and coached basketball at Thornton from 1999-2004. He is the head softball coach at Thornton and a board member of Mac Irvin Fire Basketball.
Kareem Jackson is currently the Assistant Coach for men and women’s Track & Field at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. Prior to his appointment at Wisconsin, Jackson served as the head coach at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville for four seasons, succeeding current UW throws coach Dave Astrauskas. During his time at SIUE, Jackson led the Cougars in their transition from NCAA Division II to Division I.
In SIUE’s first year Division I eligibility in 2013, seven athletes advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Round. La’Derrick Ward became the first athlete in the history of the program to advance to the NCAA championships. He earned honorable-mention All-America accolades in the long jump. Ward and Jessica Oranika both competed at the 2013 USA Junior Championships. More than 30 records were broken by student-athletes during his tenure at SIUE, and SIUE athletes have entered the top-three in the all-time list in nearly every event. In addition, 17 athletes earned marks that would have earned them spots in the NCAA preliminary round had SIUE been eligible during its transition to Division I. In 2012, Darius Smith competed in the USA junior championships in the 200 meters, while Jatavia Wright qualified for the U.S. junior championships in the 100 hurdles. Thrower Ben Bishop qualified for the 2010 USA Indoor Championships, and William Lindsey qualified for the 2010 USA Junior Championships in both hurdle events.
The Cougars also were successful in the classroom during Jackson’s tenure as the women’s track squad earned All-Academic honors by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Prior to his time at SIUE, Jackson was an assistant at Lafayette, working with the sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers. He served in a similar role at the University of Chicago.
A member of the USTFCCCA, Jackson holds a Level I coaching certification as well as a Level II coaching certification in sprints, hurdles and jumps.
Jackson received a bachelor’s degree in general studies and mathematics from Lewis University in 2002. The Flyers were ranked in the top 15 in the country in each of his four years. He won a Great Lakes Valley Conference championship in the high jump in 1998 and earned all-conference honors in both the 110 hurdles and the high jump. A native of Harvey, Ill., Jackson has a daughter, Jasmine.
Tariq El-Amin is the Director of the Society of United Neighbors (S.U.N) and Executive Director of Bridging The Gap, Inc. He is a local #1 journeyman iron worker and completed the 3 year iron worker apprenticeship program in 2010.
Tony Stone is presently the Dean of Students at Urban Prep Academics in Chicago IL. He taught literature at Gary Comer College Prep School in 2010 and West Creek Middle School from 2004 through 2010. Tony was a Field Artillery Computer Operations Specialist 13E in the United States Army from 1998 until 2001 at Fort Campbell Kentucky.
Syleena Johnson, Song Writer, Producer, Entertainer
Grammy nominated vocalist and writer Syleena Johnson is one of the greatest singers and performers of her generation. She has scored major R&B hits and been invited to collaborate with the likes of Kanye West, R. Kelly and Musiq Soulchild. Having fought the major label system to allow her true identity to shine forth, Syleena now steps forward with her most anticipated album to date Chapter 6: Couples Therapy, which was released on the Blackbyrd label. With production from Ric Atari, Kajun and Pierre #TheMaven Medor, Couples Therapy is the sixth chapter in her collection of blues and soul-inspired concept albums. (The album hit #15 on the Billboard R&B Chart.) This powerful new recording takes us back to the Chicago natives roots and caters to a more traditional R&B style.
Couples Therapy deals with love and relationships. As with all of her projects Syleena gives us a heartfelt glimpse into where she is within her own journey and her private life. This project embodies Syleena’s relentless passion for songwriting. Johnson, wrote / co-wrote all of the tracks. The album opens with the upbeat and lyrically honest song “All This Way For Love.” Leela James accompanies Syleena on the soulful 60’s throwback “Fool’s Gold”; and the incomparable Dave Hollister joins her on the moving and triumphant “Harmony.” The albums production remains diverse and yet doesn’t venture too far off track. Vocally critics agree that this is one of Syleena’s strongest overall projects in years. It has been dubbed, “The best R&B album of her career.”
The first single and video is for the song “Perfectly Worthless” a masterpiece about the anguish that one endures at the end of a tumultuous affair. Syleena croons, “Since you said we’re through. I’ll play the fool. Broke all the rules while loving you.” a sentiment that all of us can relate to at one point or another in our love lives. Chapter 6: Couples Therapy is unique in that it is an extremely personal piece but it somehow feels as if Syleena read a page from our own private journal and wrote these songs for all of us. Chapter 6: Couples Therapy is a beautiful and poignant work of art takes you through the ups and downs experienced during all of our relationships.
Syleena Johnson is also a popular television personality. She’s one of the original cast members the TV One hit reality series R&B Divas Atlanta and recently wrapped up season 3 with co-stars Keke Wyatt, Angie Stone, Monifah Carter, LaTavia Roberson and former 702 lead singer Kameelah Williams. Syleena also appeared with her sisters on OWN’s Iyanla: Fix My Life. In 2015 Syleena and her husband, Kiwane Garris (former professional basketball player), will appear on the new season of WE TV’s, Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars. Chapter 6: Couples Therapy has been made into a film that stars Johnson, directed by Tangie Black Moore of Tier2Films and the other collaborators from the album. Syleena’s passion for health, fitness, and nutrition has also led her to develop a fitness DVD called Mommy’s Got Soul. She will also be releasing her new book The Weight Is Over. Syleena is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, INC and plans to work on many charitable projects in 2015.
In 2015 Syleena will be hitting stages in the United States and beyond. She will be co-headlining dates in support of Chapter 6: Couples Therapy with Dave Holllister and will be appearing with Faith Evans in the UK. Syleena who is the daughter of legendary blues and soul singer Syl Johnson will also appear on the Daughters of Soul tour. Here the Daughters of Soul honor their unforgettable parents Nina Simone, Donny Hathaway, Bill Withers, Chaka Khan, Syl Johnson and other soul pioneers. A superstar that has always shined brightly, Syleena Johnson is poised to conquer the entertainment industry and the world.
Amia Graham Book Keeper
Amia Graham has earned a Master’s of Science Administration of Justice and Security from the University of Phoenix online and a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences Psychology from Virginia State University, Petersburg VA and was honored Magna Cum Laude. Presently with Draper and Kramer as Property Manager EPA certified renovator, where she is supervisor of union employees managing daily operations of a 14 story, 124 residential property. Responsible for leasing, occupancy consistency, AP, AR, budgeting, rent payments, residential accounting corrections, outreach and resident communications; MAC Property Management, Chicago IL, accounts receivable, analyze tenant ledgers for calculation and data entry mistakes and process rent payment checks.
Amia is listed in the 2000 edition of Who’s Who among students in universities. She is a member of PSI CHI (Psychology Organization). Skilled in MRI, 360 Facility, Compliance Depot, Attendance Enterprise, Microsoft Office, Power Point, Publisher, Excel, Outlook, Quick Books, Yardi Voyager, data entry and Internet.
Ijlal Munir, Marketing and Fundraising Director
Ijlal Munir has raised and educated six children, four of them are college graduates, one is a Sergeant in the USAF, and she has a special needs daughter. Ijlal is presently a Licensed Real Estate Broker in IL and has been for the past 11 years. She has over 30 years in sales experience.
In 1986 Ijlal started her own garment printing business in her garage “Smart Sport Printer”. She operated the business until 1996, printing for institutions, churches, schools, family reunions, and retail businesses.
In 1997 she received her licensed to sell life and health insurance, and in 1998 was licensed to sell mutual funds as an independent contractor for MetLife.
Ijlal’s marketing experience includes designing brochures, labels for new products and marketing those products. She also, does marketing for The Proper Perception LLC, “What’s Wrong With You!”‘s book, Facebook Website, Photo’s, and Determined To Be UpRight’s program content. She also designed the front and back covers of Omar Yamini’s book “What’s Wrong With You!”.