TraVonn Jones is the Illinois State CSSJ Program Manager. Having grown up in East St. Louis, IL, during the height of the crack epidemic, TraVonn is familiar with every angle of the trauma associated with poverty, substance abuse, gun violence, and mass incarceration. That familiarity has shaped his leadership philosophy: Service with empathy, and fuels the hallmark passion that he pours into his work and daily lifestyle. TraVonn has designed, implemented, and led highly impactful direct action service social service programs and program teams in and around the Greater St. Louis/Metro East area from grassroots to region level since 2017. Having built tremendous relationships and leaving lasting positive gains across several agencies in the area, TraVonn is well recognized as a subject matter expert on area workforce development, re-entry integration, violence prevention, small business development, community advocacy, and youth engagement.
Prior to directing his efforts to social justice, TraVonn devoted 14 years of faithful and honorable service on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. TraVonn studied at Eastern Illinois University for several years prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps shortly after September 11th. Having served initially as an Airframes Structural Mechanic, TraVonn completed three combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with famed Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 252, amassing numerous unit and individual commendations in route. TraVonn was later hand selected and served nine more years on special duty assignment as a Career Planner. While doing so, Staff Sergeant Jones deployed another three times in support of Marine Expeditionary Units with prestigious units like 1st Marine Division, traveled to over 30 countries, and built a diverse and well maintained global network.
TraVonn continues to serve outside of uniform, as 2022 will be his 20th season as a football coach, now serving at Cahokia High School (Cahokia Heights, IL). Service is a lasting lifestyle lineage in the Jones family. TraVonn comes from a long line of educators, clergy, social service professionals, coaches, activists, organizers, and missionaries; TraVonn continues that tradition with honor and pride while instilling it in the next generation of Jones. TraVonn’s bride of 19 years, Maria was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Medal from President Obama and his five children (Derek, Deandre, TraVonn Jr, Alanah, and Adonis) often participate in service projects to include community food distributions at the onset of COVID-19. The Jones family lives in Belleville, IL and are proud to be leaders at New Life Community Church in East St. Louis, IL. Friends and family know TraVonn to be an excellent cook, detailed storyteller, and an uncompromising competitor.