Nominee: Janiell Tyus

AGE: 24

Life Directions proudly nominates Janiell Tyus to be considered as a recipient of the 20 Black Detroiters Making History campaign of 2022. Janiell received the Life Directions Peer Leadership Award for three years of involvement in peer-to-peer programs while attending Western International High School (Western), Detroit Public School Community District.

Initially, Janiell completed Life Directions’ Peer Motivation Program. This program based on the vision of “peers inspiring peers” gathers cohorts of students for group interaction. Janiell, along with her peers explored issues confronted by youth, internalized Social Emotional Learning, learned ways to be responsible for their futures, and reflected on the implications of their actions. Upon completion of the Peer Motivation Program, Janiell’s leadership abilities were noted by her teachers. They recommended her to become a Peer Mentor. She was trained by Life Directions to mentor eighth-graders from Amelia Earhart Middle School. As a Peer Mentor, Janiell received support, encouragement, and guidance from trained Adult Mentors from both neighborhood and business communities.

Janiell graduated from Western in 2016. She went on to complete her post-secondary education at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Janiell received an Associate’s Degree in Human Resources in 2019 and graduated in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences.

While in her final year, at UM-Dearborn, Janiell was inspired to share her gifts with Western youth through an internship with Life Directions. As a college Animator, Janiell returned to where it started for her to coach Peer Motivation and Peer Mentor Leaders. She managed groups who were part of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent – a summer youth employment program.

Life Directions sees Janiell as an ambassador of hope to her community. Her hope is for all young people to complete high school and be college or career ready. Janiell’s leadership qualities inspire her to wake up the next generation to inspire each other; sustain attendance, reduce youth violence; and to ensure the roots of a people’s culture and faith stay strong. She found her “spark,” her Life Direction in Peer Motivation, and desires the same for future students “sitting in the seat where I sat.”

Janiell currently provides one on one therapy to autistic children. She is looking to go back to earn a Master’s Degree. While doing so, she says “I will help others, especially children in the community who may have mental health challenges to cope and express themselves in a healthy way”.


Annette Howard,

Life Directions

Director of Training

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