Community / Individual

Tyra Owens - Gary Comer Youth Center

Tyra was born in the city and raised by a strong grandmother and community elders. I earned my Bachelors in English from Denison University; and my Master of Arts in Sociology from Roosevelt University while working two jobs at an elementary and a high school. My interest in youth development has taken me from tutoring to assistant teaching to youth organizing and mentoring. As an organizer, I often experienced my community expanding farther than the streets of Southside Chicago. I have chaired a few organizations while studying at Denison University and the Black Student Union awarded me with the “Legends and Legacy Dedication Award” two years in a row. I received a nomination for a GLOW Award for my dedication to youth work and youth violence prevention.

My interest in sociology and service learning efforts reach as far as the small towns of Gottenheim, Germany and Asmara, Eritrea to Cape Town, South Africa and Cairo, Egypt. My love for the community has even trickled onto the stage: I starred in two stage plays while at Denison. Those plays, “For Colored Girls” and “Vagina Monologues,” inspires much of my writing. I am a connoisseur of the arts and enjoy singing (in the shower, of course) and dancing. You can find my first book of written rhyme, A Smothered Scripture on Amazon or Kindle. I frequently tell my youth to follow their dreams and create realistic goals to achieve them. With one book complete, my next goal is to release my newest projects Soul Fed and Queen Things by summer 2019. For more information, connect with me on my blog: