YNTO Board of Director Biographies

Kathryn Garcia - Chair 

Mrs. Garcia has a BA in Psychology and an MA in Education, twenty years teaching experience, ten years writing curricula for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in California, and seven years as a coach of an outrigger canoe team. She knows the value and the personal rewards of working in a community, whether that be with a classroom, a team or a county. Currently she serves on the Board of the PCDRC (Pamlico County Disaster Recovery Coalition) which helps to rebuild homes and provide other assistance to those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Kathryn volunteers as the lead Network Coordinator with the CCTF (COVID-19 Community Task Force), which helps disseminate information to churches and other civic organizations in the county. She has two grandsons who inspire her to explore and experience life with new eyes.

Ruzalia Davis

Ms. Davis is a native of Pamlico County, raised in the Florence/Whortonsville community. After moving away because her mother was in the Air Force, she returned to Pamlico County and studied for an Associates Degree in Office System Technology at Pamlico Community College.  Her education continued at the University of Mount Olive where she earned a BS in Business Management and Organizational Development with a minor in Human Resources. 

“My heart is here in Pamlico County where I sing with the choir of my church, West Branch Missionary Baptist Church.”  She enjoys gathering with family and friends and taking photos. She is inspired by her son and values his way of seeing the world: “He is my reason for continuing to push.”

For the past four years she has been the Pamlico County Domestic Violence Advocate for the Coastal Women’s Shelter. Currently she is Treasurer and a member of the Executive Board of Directors for Coastal Community Action (CCA), a nationwide nonprofit begun in 1965 with the goal of enabling low income persons to achieve self-sufficiency. Since 2016 she has been on the CCA Board in different capacities. Her employment and her volunteering has taken her all over the county and shown her the need for outlets that inspire youth to reach for positive personal goals. She has joined the YNTO Board of Directors because she believes in their vision.

Carolyn Jones

You will often hear Carolyn say, "I am wealthy because God has blessed me favorably with a wonderful family”.

Mrs. Jones is married with four children and twelve grandchildren. So how does she have the time to do everything? She cares and she makes time for all, encouraging talent and giving support where needed. This has led her to wear many hats over time. Currently, in her community of Vandemere, she is a Town Commissioner.  She is very involved in St. Peters Missionary Baptist Church and leads the lyrical praise and dance team. After receiving an Associate Degree in Biblical Studies from Anchor Bible College she decided to continue her education and is now pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Biblical Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Mrs. Jones has an Early Childhood Associate Degree from Pamlico Community College and has thirteen years of experience in education as a Teacher Assistant and Bus Driver.  Carolyn is also known in her family and in her community for her hobbies of floral/wedding design and making sweet chocolate treats. 

In the past she headed a mentor program for African American girls ages 12 through 18 in the Vandemere and Maribel Communities. For two years she was a Cheerleading Coach for the Pamlico County Recreation Department. 

Ellen Blackmon - Board Secretary

Ellen Blackmon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Technical and Vocational Education after completing six years of active service with the US Navy. She continued her service with the Florida Army National Guard and the North Carolina Army National Guard for a total of twenty eight years, twenty two of those years on active duty including a combat tour in Iraq.   Commitment and teamwork are two attributes that Ellen has brought to the many organizations she has been involved with upon moving to Pamlico County in 1994.  She has taught math and science in 5th, 6th and 7th grade in Pensacola FL and basic adult education at the Pamlico Community College as well as refresher math classes.  “I believe education and mentoring are key to helping our future leaders succeed.”  Her four children were educated in the Pamlico County schools.  Upon retirement, Ellen has been a member of the Oriental Woman’s Club serving as Chair of the Ladies of the Neuse program, Girls on the Run, Disabled American Veterans  Chapter 26 as a Chapter Service Officer, Mask Coordinator for the PC Community Covid Task Force by managing volunteer sewers and distributing over 5,000 fabric masks to the needy recipients and is currently secretary of Youth Navigating Toward Opportunity She was awarded Pamlico County Volunteer of the year for 2020.