Centered on Youth

About Us

Reverend Charles Yates, a man who loves God, family and community was born in the great state of Mississippi.  He moved to Minnesota in the mid 70's where he has remained living.

He was brought up in a Christian home, however at an early age he was adopted by the streets of Minneapolis. He began dealing drugs, promoting a criminal life style and joined forces with a well known street gang.  At the age of 30, Rev. Yates made a significant change by returning to the Christian life he was brought up in.  After intense training and serving, he was ordained as a Deacon in his Church and later was ordained as a Minister.

For the past 15 years he has been sober and has dedicated his services to his Community and churches nationwide.  He is an active member of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention where he serves as the 1st Vice President of the Laymen's Division.  He served 6 years as the Youth President for the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist District Association.

Rev. Yates has worked with the National Baptist Laymen's, served as Youth Pastor in his local Church and is a member of The God Squad of St. Paul Minnesota.  Rev. Yates has started several businesses, including a Gas Station, Car Detail Shop and a Janitorial Maintenance Service, employing disadvantaged youth, young men an women.

Today he serves as the President of Centered On Youth (COY) where they focus on being a positive influence to help bring change in the lives of Youth.

Mr. Jerome C. Copeland was born in Gary Indiana. At 6 months he was placed in foster care for homeless children where he spent the next several years growing up living in multiple homes. Later joining a local street gang, Mr. Copeland found the love he had never experienced.  Years passed and his ties grew stronger making it to top ranks in membership.  He later move to Minneapolis and joined forces with an organization that was being established in the Twin Cities.  After serving several years in state and federal prisons, he decided it was time for a change. 

Mr. Copeland joined forces with several leaders of oppositional gang members, pastors, community leaders and activists to assist in organizing a truce amongst the rival gangs in the Twin Cities.  He was one of the original organizers for United For Peace that later went National.  He later went on to work for Uhuru, City Inc, Mighty Men Of New Salem, (ARSY) At Risk Youth Service, Powder Horn Park as Youth Coordinator and other youth programs.

Although later Mr. Copeland ran into more trouble with the law, he had a passion to help reform those that chose to live destructive lives.  His passion grew and he stayed connected to positive people that help keep him aligned toward positive decisions.  Mr. Copeland now serve as the Outreach Director of Centered On Youth (COY), an organization that focuses on helping youth transform their lives.

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