Itonya Conner, Founder
Itonya Conner established Our Youth Matter in 2008. She has an anointed passion for youth development and believes that our youth are the future of TODAY, not tomorrow. Itonya received her B.A. in Youth Ministry from Patten University in Oakland, CA, in 2008. She received her A.A. degrees in Property Management/Real Estate, Behavioral Science and Liberal Studies from Merritt College, in Oakland, CA, in 2003. She also attended California State University, Hayward (now Cal-State East Bay) where she majored in Accounting. Itonya grew up in Oakland, CA and graduated from Fremont High School in Oakland, CA in 1990.
Itonya Conner accepted the Holy Spirit in her life at Union Baptist in Oakland, CA under the direction of Pastor Ed Nation at the age of 12. She was involved in many youth activities and sang in the choir.
In 1994, she changed her membership to Acts Full Gospel in Oakland, CA under the direction of Bishop Bob Jackson. At Acts is where Itonya began hearing that God had something else for her life. She began listening to the Holy Spirit.
In 2002, Itonya was lead to the House of Prayer Evangelistic Center in Oakland, CA under the direction of Pastor Erik Nation where she was an active member for six years. For five years, she worked in a leadership role in the youth ministry. Over the years she wore many hats; she was a Vacation Bible School (VBS) teacher, VBS Director and Co-Director, VBS fundraiser, donation, advertising, snack and decorator coordinator and lead VBS community outreach. Itonya was also a Sunday school teacher for the 1st – 5th graders, Bible Study teacher for grades 1st – 6th and 7th -12th. She also dedicated her time on the Planning Committee, served as a Commitment Counselor, and also as a Back-to-School Coordinator where free school supplies were given out. Itonya enjoyed coordinating the Visual Arts for PowerPoint announcements, being apart of Women of Distinguish and Virtuous Women Ministries. Itonya also wrote and directed several youth plays, planned many youth activities, events, and youth outreach programs. Itonya definitely understands what it is like to work as a Youth Leader with no mentoring and limited resources as well as the challenges our youth are facing in the community.
Growing up in a single-parent home with an alcoholic parent, Itonya has an in-tune ability to place herself in the youth’s shoes and relate to them with an abundance of compassion and love.
Itonya started working at the age of 14 and has not stopped yet! The Lord has been preparing her for Our Youth Matter since seventh grade where she supervised her peers at Oakland’s Bret Harte Jr. High’s Seven-Eleven store and has been planning, coordinating and executing events ever since.
Itonya Conner has a sixteen-year-old son named Jamal who is the joy of her life. She often test and run her ideas by him and he has no problem giving his honest opinion.