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New leaders at the Boys and Girls Club
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Terrence Artis holds up the membership card he had when he was a boy attending a Boys Club in Maryland - photo by Michelle Kim

The Barksdale Boys and Girls Club recently welcomed new leadership.

Terrence Artis

The new executive director at the A.R. "Gus" Barksdale Boys and Girls Club is not a new face to the club at all.

Terrence Artis, who started his new position on Monday, had served as the Teen Director for two years at the Conyers club before he was asked to fill in on a temporary basis at a Norcross club in 2011.

Artis, sometimes called "Mr. T.," said he enjoyed his time at the A. Worley Brown club but he is excited to be back at the Barksdale club.

"I love it," said Artis, 41, sitting in an office filled with boxes and supplies. "I had to hold back my enthusiasm when I left."

"Right now it seems like we have a real solid team," he said.

That team includes Carol Wyre as the Program Director, Donald Freeman as the Education Director, Misha Jones as the Healthy Lifestyle Director - a new grant-funded position - and Jonah Katende as the Shurette Teen Center Director.

"I do this because I'm passionate about what I do," said Artis, referring to his work with youth. He learned first hand the difference a good, structured program can make in a child's life.

Artis grew up in Oxen Hill, Md. as a member of a Boys Club from age 7 until high school.

"Someone took the time to find the spark in me," Artis said. A school counselor had relegated him to construction jobs, but luckily Artis had coaches and Boys Club staffers in his life who served as mentors.

About four years after graduating high school and working various odd jobs, Artis said he matured and began to focus. He walked onto the football team at Elizabeth City State University and was eventually awarded a football scholarship. He received his master's in counseling from Bowie State in Maryland and moved to the Atlanta area in 2005 and began work with juvenile probations and mental health programs. He joined the Barksdale club as part-time teen counselor in 2009 and then became full-time director.

Artis said he is currently in assessment mode to see what the club's needs are and what the club can do for the community.

He outlined the Boys and Girls Club three core areas - Healthy Lifestyles, Character and Leadership, and Education.

He also added he would like to see a stronger, more involved parent committee that can give back to the club, which was the case in the A. Worley Brown Club in Norcross.

The Metro Atlanta BGC announced previous executive director Ty Woods was no longer with the club as of April 13, after being appointed to the position six months ago.

For more information or to contact Artis, email him at


Misha Jones

The Boys and Girls Club in Conyers also recently welcomed Misha Jones as the new Healthy Lifestyles director - a position that is new to the club.

Jones, 30, had previously worked as a health and physical education teacher with Fulton County Public Schools for six years until 2011. She went back to school for her master's in nonprofit management. She had interned at the midtown Atlanta Boys and Girls Club offices during the summers and realized she loved the work. So she jumped at the chance to apply for the position when it opened up.

"I'm still learning about all there is to do," said Jones. The private-grant funded position will run until at least 2015.

She describes the "Triple Play" initiative of the national Boys and Girls Club program that addresses the mind, body and soul as an integral part of her work.

The club would address the mind through learning about nutrition and healthy eating, address the body through at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and the soul by providing social recreation and teaching about sportsmanship and character.

The students are also starting a garden where they'll be growing peppers, onions, tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, and other vegetables and fruits. She also hopes to start teen ambassador programs where teen members of the club would teach younger students.

To contact Jones, email