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FunTimes Magazine

Juwan Bennett

Reverend Dr. Juwan Bennett is a Criminal Justice Professor at Temple University, an ordained
minister and an accomplished musician. At the age of 19, Dr. Bennett was sought after by universities throughout the U.S. for his intellectual talent. He ended up staying local and attending Temple University, where he received a doctorate in criminal justice. Since then Dr. Bennett has researched how alternative education programs can decrease youth delinquency. He also founded the Urban Youth Leadership Academy at Temple. In addition, he serves as the co-Founder and Assistant Pastor at the New Life Christian Fellowship Baptist Church.

How did you figure out what your passion is?

I first discovered my passion for social and criminal justice from my parents Antonio and Martha Bennett. My father worked as a correctional officer for the City of Philadelphia for over three decades and my mother worked as an administrator for a behavioral non-profit agency— Resources for Human Development (RHD).

My passion was also fostered by my elementary school teacher, Ms. Jennifer Arevalo who told me I could go to college. This eventually led to my participation in the Ronald E. McNair scholar program (founded by an African American Astronaut), which is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies.

Through the generous support of the McNair program, I learned that I could combine my passion for criminal justice and sociology to conduct research and become a University Professor.

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

The most rewarding part of my journey was founding the New Life Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in 2015, which is in the Germantown section of Philadelphia (5701 Magnolia Street) with my brother, Antonio R. Bennett II who is a Philadelphia Police officer and my sister, Shania S. Bennett who is the youngest elected official in the State of Pennsylvania.

I also have had the privileged of founding the Urban Youth Leadership Academy in 2016, which is a premier mentoring program for middle school youth in the College of Education at Temple University alongside my colleagues, Dr. James Earl Davis and Dr. Meghan Raisch.

What else would you like to accomplish?

One of my goals is to become the President of a University. It would be a tremendous honor and privilege to engage with faculty and external constituencies to create an institution of higher learning that provides students with a holistic education to tackle some of society’s most complex problems.

What advice would you give to other young people beginning their careers?

The advice I would give to young people beginning their careers is to ALWAYS finish what they start no matter how complicated the task is. In life, you will have adversity, but you must defy the urge to quit because when quitting is not an option, the only option is a success!

What does being a part of the African Diaspora mean to you?

Being a part of the Diaspora means that although I have never been to Africa, I am still connected to the culture, traditions, and spirit of African people all over the world. The Diaspora represents that the great legacy of Kings and Queens are still embodied within me.

Nominated by Lisa Parks