WHERE OUR YOUTH MENTORSHIP HAS BEEN AND WHERE IT’S GOING

teen black girl smiling at camera

MEET THE TEAM THAT MAKES IT HAPPEN

You may know us as Real Men Real Heroes. We’ve served more than 5,000 kids and issued $1.6 million in scholarships since our founding in 2008. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished through youth mentorship, but want to do more. That includes broadening our vision to include girls. That led to our name change: Heroes Academy.

Today, our nonprofit 501(C)(3) serves kids from 3rd through 8th grades in the USD 259 school district. Currently, we’re in six schools. We help kids find purpose through service to others, access to meaningful life events and changes in their life circumstances.

Kyle Ellison isn’t your typical executive. He was never meant to be.

Ellison was born and raised in Wichita’s neglected southside. He graduated from Northeast Magnet High School and learned grassroots organizing, community-building and social justice strategies as the 16-year-old president of Hope Street Youth Development.

Ellison earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and media studies at Wichita State University. He then took his voice and mind to Wichita area boardrooms. He served in management roles for a telecommunications firm, an app startup and then returned to his roots in youth leadership, serving as the first executive director of Real Men Real Heroes. He took the organization through an expansion and rebranding in 2022 as Heroes Academy.

He values young people and wants to make opportunities for them to see and make life bigger than they ever imagined – and to be themselves doing it. It’s the blueprint he’s living as he shakes up the status quo. And others have taken notice. Recognition includes the Wichita Business Journal 40 Under 40, Wichita Urban Professionals Professional of the Year, Wichita State University Alumni Association Young Alumni Award and the Kansas Nonprofit Chamber 2019 Emerge and Lead Class. He serves as vice chair of talent for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Whether bringing innovation and creativity to organizational development, social entrepreneurship or community service, Ellison measures his impact by the change he is bringing to Wichita and beyond.

Staff

Bobby Bell

HERO Programming VISTA

Joshua Jackson

HERO Programming VISTA

Board of Directors

Courtney Bengtson

Chair

Chief Strategy Officer

Wichita Community Foundation

Joel Davis

Treasurer

National Account Success Manager

SurePrep

Akeam Ashford

Secretary

Director of Strategic Communications

Sedgwick County

Board Members

Melissa Knoeber

Fidelity Bank

EVP, Director of Culture and Talent

Careem Gladney

Cargill

Business Manager

Tasha Parker

Tasha Parker Therapy & Consultation Services

Owner and Operator

Corinthian Kelly

Sedgwick County Manager's Office

Management Intern

Jonathan McRoy

Textron Aviation

Sr. Organization & Talent Development Partner