7 Sep, 2023

Empowering Youth

with Shawn Duncan, Michelle Witherspoon, Mikayla Santos, & Joel Barber
Season 2,
  Episode 5
Place Matters
Place Matters
Empowering Youth

Some of the most significant work that we do at FCS is small, quiet, and often goes unnoticed outside of the neighborhood. One of those crucial works is walking alongside children and teenagers. In this episode, we’ll talk with three people engaged in youth development at FCS: Michelle Witherspoon, Mikayla Santos, and Joel Barber. Their passion for building community among youth in South Atlanta inspires us each day, and we hope it does the same for you.

Show notes

Shawn Duncan, Director of The Lupton Center
Dr. Shawn Duncan is the Director of FCS’s Training and Consulting Division, The Lupton Center. Shawn comes to FCS from the nonprofit leadership sector with research and writing focused on pedagogies for social impact. In his previous careers he has focused on multi-sector coalition building for community impact, content and curriculum design, group facilitation, leadership development, and immigration reform advocacy. As the leader of The Lupton Center team, Shawn brings a visionary voice for innovation, a strategic mind for resource development, and the leadership acumen to support and equip the team for success. He loves being a part of a mission-driven team that finds joy in one another while doing such important work.

Mikayla Santos, Neighborhood Engagement Coordinator at FCS
Mikayla’s family hails from Brazil! In her previous role as a Community Health intern with the Associação Betel de Assistência Social in Belo Horizonte, she focused on curriculum development for their youth music program. Her unwavering passion for her hometown and her love for big cities intersect in her role at FCS, where she finds inspiration in place-based work. As the Neighborhood Engagement Coordinator, Mikayla actively supports FCS programs, forges partnerships, and fosters essential community connections. Her journey reflects the fusion of her cultural heritage and commitment to meaningful progress.

Michelle Witherspoon, Youth Engagement Coordinator at FCS
Michelle Witherspoon is a resident of South Atlanta since 2011. She works as the Youth Engagement Coordinator at FCS. She enjoys her full life here in the neighborhood with her husband and two young girls. Michelle is a passionate soul, she brings a lot of vulnerability and connectedness to the community around her.

Joel Barber, Haven Community Coordinator and Youth Leader
Growing up In Historic South Atlanta since he was 9, Joel is no stranger to both the environment he serves and the work that he actively does with Focused Community Strategies. Joel currently serves as a Community Coordinator for the Haven apartment community as well as a volunteer in youth engagement with the South Atlanta youth group. Outside of being “Awesome,” Joel leads with his core values of community, family, faith and relationships as the pillars of what makes him who he is.


Special thanks to our podcast editor, Tim Rhodes, for making this episode possible. If you are interested in working with Tim, you can contact him via email at tim@whistlingblue.com, or through his website, whistlingblue.com. If you have questions, feedback, or wish to contact us, please email Bekah Klein at bekah@fcsministries.org.