When a Mentor Walks the Talk

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Every bit of Alice Jordan-Miles is real.  She walks the talk, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Alice Jordan-Miles is a faculty member in the Department of Human Services in the College of Professional Studies as well as a Retention Specialist and Academic Advisor for first-generation, minority students at Purdue Fort Wayne.  She is also the Director of the Behavioral Health and Family Studies Institute (BHFSI). Additionally, she founded Hoosiers of Tomorrow (HOT) Mentoring Program, a program for youth who have dreams and aspirations of continuing their education after high school.  

 Jordan-Miles was the first to go to college in her family of 14 siblings, while living in an environment surrounded by poverty.  Going to college may not have seemed within her reach if it wasn’t for a school counselor named Willie Stubbs. He was one of her strongest advocates and encouraged her to follow her dreams of a post-secondary education. His teachings live on through Jordan-Miles as she touches the lives of countless others.

 “Being full-blooded Latina, my culture indicated that after high school getting married and starting a family was my only purpose in life,” Jordan-Miles said.  “However, I didn't want my future to include being ten feet behind my man and pregnant by age 21.  I wanted more out of life - I wanted a profession!  More importantly, I wanted to trail blaze the path for my younger siblings and to break the vicious cycle of poverty.”

 HOT has been in existence for over 30 years in which Jordan-Miles has assisted over 300 students prepare and get admitted into college.  Because of her impactful work with youth, she was awarded the highest recognition bestowed on an IU alumnus - the Indiana University Distinguished Alumni Service Award (DASA).  Her most recent award is the Amiga of the Year Award here in Fort Wayne.  

 Her current community involvement includes serving as President of the Indiana University Latino Alumni Association; Indiana University Groups Recommender; board member with Fort Wayne Girlz Rock; member of the St. Joseph Church Advisory Council; and immediate past Vice Chair of Latinos Count.

Serving her community also includes being a mental health advocate, with particular focus on suicide prevention.  She serves as the Director of the Indiana Suicide Prevention Coalition, a state-wide Coalition. “As a person who has suffered from depression from a very early age,  advocating for mental health and educating others about the importance of self-care is a responsibility that I do not take lightly,” Jordan-Miles said.  

“My current position with BHFSI and my work with the Coalition allow me to provide leadership statewide for concerns related to behavioral health and family health issues.  My responsibilities also include providing mental health trainings to school corporations, colleges/universities, faith communities, and those in the court systems.  I also provide resources and lead presentations in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.  Furthermore, my responsibilities include leading statewide meetings with regional Coalition members in our combined efforts of eliminating suicide in Indiana.  Lastly, I have worked diligently to help make suicide prevention more culturally competent through spear-heading two initiatives in the African American and Latino communities.”

Jordan-Miles is an empowering leader, and she takes her responsibility very seriously. “Especially being a Latina and woman of color, I am devoted to my influential role,” she stated. “In our Northeast Indiana community, as well as state-wide, my platform is leading by example.  I make it a point to be transparent about my own mental health struggles.  Having had my own struggles, I am able to relate and empathize with those that may be suffering, and my belief in being transparent has opened the doors to those suffering in silence to feel more comfortable seeking help.  By working to decrease the stigma around mental illness and help-seeking behaviors, especially in the minority community, I strive to empower individuals to seek help and not be ashamed.  I pray that being a leader in my community, and without fear of wearing my emotions on my sleeve, I will continue to be successful in reminding people they are worthy.  I want to continually reinforce that having a mental illness, whether short-term or long-term, does not define a person.” 

Beyond all her professional accomplishments and awards, Jordan-Miles states her greatest accomplishment is her family.  “I've been married to my husband Brian for almost 25 years and we have three children: Ross, Emilia and Gabrielle.  I love being a Wella (grandma) to my granddaughters Audrina, Sophia and Myla. In my spare time I enjoy reading and working out and, during the warmer months, attending outside concerts and sporting events.”  

And, beyond all of that, she somehow also managed to find time to win her annual neighborhood beautiful yard contest.  

Please join the YWCA of Northeast Indiana in recognizing Alice Jordan-Miles as an empowering leader!  She truly is a mentor who walks the talk.