West works to make a difference

File Under: Academic Excellence

Jerome West ’08 (M212) strives to be a role model in every area of his life, particularly in the Canton community where he lives and works.

In recent months, West was recognized with Malone University’s Degree Completion Leadership Excellence Award, and was named to Stark’s Twenty under 40 Class of 2016.

“I am grateful for my colleagues, mentors, and coaches who nominated me for this award and invested in my success,” said West. “This award is not for me but for individuals I serve who endure mental illness, substance abuse, and other social challenges. They allow me to live out my ordained purpose of empowering people to maximize their recovery and have a fulfilling life.”

West is program manager of The GRACE Initiative at CommQuest, Inc. GRACE is an acronym for “Giving, Recovery, Access through Community services that Empower individuals to be emotionally healthy” with the goal of, said West, “being culturally relevant, respectful, and real.”

His innovative programs are designed to serve minorities with culturally sensitive mental health services.

Once reticent to pursue higher education, the Timken High School graduate first began college by earning an associate’s degree in human social services from Stark State College in 2006. He completed his management degree in 2008 from Malone, and then went on to earn two master’s degrees from Liberty University.

“My deep faith guides my development and purpose,” West said. Active in church, he has served as a youth pastor and lay leader at Dueber United Methodist Church and is a member of the Stark County Pastoral Association Committee.

In Stark County, he is the head wresting coach at Hartford Middle School, a mentor for Malone’s African American Alumni Male Mentoring program and the YMCA Young Father’s program. He is a member of the Stark County Family Council Committee and Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery Cultural Competency Committee.