I Am Thankful I Am Still Married!

Who am I?

My name is Angelou Ezeilo. I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and I am the founder and CEO of an international environmental non-profit organization and youth corps called Greening Youth Foundation. We connect young, diverse and underrepresented kids and young adults to the outdoors and to careers in conservation with national park, wildlife and forest agencies.  And although I know this sounds cheezy, I am also happily married to my husband of 20 years and a mother to two amazingly beautiful and brilliant young men…

What exactly do I do? 

Along with our Board of Directors, I chart the vision and progress for Greening Youth Foundation.  On a day-to-day basis, I introduce new partners, corporations and entities to the incredible work that our Greening Youth Foundation staff is doing.

How did I end up doing this?

It wasn’t exactly planned – I truly feel as if I have been led.  I started off in the entertainment field as an actor, then I became a lawyer.  This landed me in the environmental field working for the NJ Department of Agriculture.  I then worked for a national environmental NGO.  It was at this NGO that I realized the incredible disconnect between people of color and the environment.  I would have to say that environment and social welfare were always in the backdrop and something that stayed on my mind. Therefore, when Greening Youth Foundation came to fruition, it was like it was supposed to happen – it was the next step in my journey.  And…there is still much more to come!

Why does my work matter? 

Our work matters at Greening Youth Foundation because we effectively change the face of conservation in the United States so that it is inclusive of under-represented youth and young adults across the globe.  As one of the only African-American led youth corps organization in the country, our presence underscores the necessity to expose more youth to this career pathway so that they see themselves in us.

What has been most challenging about doing this work?

“I am thankful I am still married!”

Have there been any transformative moments (personal/professional) as a result of doing this work? 

Yes, hearing a ranger at the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail site proclaim upon my visit that our organization has changed his life!

Where I am going with this project?

I am determined to continue to introduce more youth of color to environmental careers because our planet and our society needs them.

What do I envision for the world? 

A world where we are all living more sustainably:  Our practices benefit the planet and all things that inhabit it.