Mikelange Olbel

Ellen Richardson | May 21st, 2021
Mikelange Olbel

Mikelange Olbel

While some may pursue a career path based on salary or notoriety, there are those who chase their dream based on a desire to help others. Growing up watching his family struggle, after migrating from Haiti to the United States, Mikelange Olbel has made it his life’s mission to help families realize that there is always hope and an opportunity for success.

The current Chief Executive Officer of Community Based Connections, Inc (CBCI) started his life growing up among a family of seven who were living in a van for years following their arrival to Pompano Beach, Florida. Although growing up without a settled home or indoor plumbing, the youngest of five boys found a sense of strength and inspiration as his dream to break the cycle of poverty and crime that plagued his family would begin to take shape.

Staying focused on obtaining a good education the boy who was once labeled an underdog, after failing the first grade, would use this label to push himself to graduate from Pompano Beach High School and even become the first person in his family to graduate from college. After becoming an honor graduate with a degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice from the University of Dubuque, in Dubuque, Iowa in 2008, Olbel would continue to see just how important a good education is to a successful future.

“After watching my parents struggle so much as both immigrants and as those who didn’t have the opportunity to become well educated, I began to realize that it was important for me to learn as much as I could if I was going to take up the mantle of serving those who are underserved or are being oppressed,” said a very heartfelt Olbel.

As this born to be servant continued to take up his cross and follow along the path that he was given as a young child, it would eventually lead him to pursuing a Master of Business Administration in Public Administration and Psychology from Iowa State University. After receiving this prestigious degree in 2010, Olbel would once again find himself between a rock and a hard place.

“After graduation I was too scared to go back home because my father had a philosophy that once a man leaves his home, he needed to earn his own way,” said Olbel. “Although it was difficult to once again find myself living in my car, taking showers at my local gym and even brushing my teeth on the job this challenge gave me the resiliency to do whatever it took to do what God had asked me to do.”

The fortitude of this born leader would eventually lead him towards a career in youth development. During his time vehemently serving as a youth worker and mentor, Olbel would begin to explore the wide world of entrepreneurship. This would eventually help the impassioned social worker to found Team Saving Our Youth Incorporated (Team SOY), a nonprofit organization aimed at early childhood education and eradicating juvenile delinquency in South Florida, in 2012.

While running this organization, Olbel also became the Director of Programs at another non-profit called Community Based Connections, Inc. Founded by fraternity brother Brian Johnson, this human service organization focuses on helping children in and around southeastern Florida become socially and academically successful despite the many challenges that they face.

Before long, this classmate and Olbel would decide to merge their similar non-profits to assure continued growth and assistance for youth in need in their local community.

“After Brian and I realized that both of our organizations were founded around the same ideals of empowering our local youth to become successful regardless of the many negative influences around them, we decided to combine our efforts to grow one organization into the success that it is today.”

Following this merger over 10 years ago, the two passionate servants of the Lord have developed a strong history of implementing and evaluating programs and services that stimulate positive youth development from the cradle to college, provide family strengthening and support services to enhance youth development and provide community programs that are “making connections that improve the odds of youth success”.

“Some of these programs include free parenting skills courses for families of youth who are at-risk of abuse/neglect and/or juvenile delinquency, our Safety Management Action Response Team (S.M.A.R.T. Team) that provides intensive services to at-risk families, STEM enrichment, character development, our Learning Together program that provides students experiencing risk of academic under-performance with character development, extra-curricular activities and other support services that target satisfactory classroom performance, improved school conduct, and exposure to enrichment activities, and so many more” explained Olbel.

Thanks to programs like these, this large agency with a grassroots touch has yielded results like 97 percent of families seeing improved family functioning, no abuse findings in 100 percent of participating families post program completion, 98 percent of youth at risk for juvenile delinquency remaining crime free while participating in Community Based Connection programs, as well as six months following program completion 100 percent of participating students have showed improvement in school behavioral evaluations or maintained zero external suspensions.

“We have also helped families during the trying times of the last year or so. Along with partnering with local food banks to provide food and give away gas cards to families in need, we also raised over $120,000 to provide support such as paying rent, providing materials for home school education, tutoring and so much more,” said Olbel.

Thanks to these efforts, CBCI was recently awarded the 211 Youth Collective Impact Award, which is like the Oscars of non-profits in South Florida. Olbel was also nominated as one of Legacy South Florida Magazine’s Top Most Influential and Powerful Individuals in South Florida.

Following all this success, what is next for CBCI and its fearless leader? Along with the continuous growth of this organization, which includes a new mental health and substance abuse department, Olbel and those who serve Community Based Connections, Inc. would also like to see programs like this expand into other communities.

“There will always be families and children who need our help, especially in the black and brown community,” stated the hopeful visionary. “As a result, it is my goal to advance the mission and vision of this agency in order to propel us to the next level and help others throughout our community and those surrounding.”

In order to assure to the future growth and success of this life-altering organization philanthropic supporters and donors are critical. To find out more about Community Based Connections, Inc. or to support its mission visit their website today.

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