Build My Life Partners

Roy Barker, Co-Curriculum Developer, Seminar Leader

Roy barker grew up in the slums of Chicago's south side, the eldest of 11 children of a very poor family.

"I got into street life early, but successfully avoided gang membership and the nearly inevitable prison time. Ultimately it was the incessant pressures of the street and its inherent violence that opened my eyes."

Roy came to the Twin Cities in the early 90's and since then has become a strong and conscientious leader in the Twin Cities Black American community and a respected and loved memtor to young Black men.

Most recently, Roy was a founder and served as the first Executive Director of Ujamax Place, a non-profit focusing on the "lost generation" of young Black Men, who have grown up economically and educationally impoverished, and all to often involved in drugs and violence and crime.

John Mihelic, Co-Curriculum Developer, Writer

John Mihelic has worked more then three decades as a writer, education designer, and producer

Recently he was Executive-Producer and Designer-Writer for the U.S. Department fo Labor's million-dollar program Focus on Ability, which explored the topic of employment for people with disability. This program is now available online at

John is also a published photographer, a travel and fiction writer, book reviewer, and poet. His photographs have been exhibited at the Minnesota State Fair, in the Minnesota Center for Photography, and the Minneapolis Photo Center. His fiction has been presented on National Public Radio.

"i can't think of any effort more challenging, complex, or worthwhile than addressing the problem "Build My Life" is aimed at. My heart, my mind, and all my personal resources as a writer and teacher has been called into action."