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Noelle Ayoka Mota Samuels

Noelle Ayoka Mota Samuels, affectionately and simply called Ayoka, serves as the Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. In her role, she is responsible for the administration and leadership of all aspects of the commission. This responsibility includes oversight of the federal service programs, volunteering (including volunteering for disaster preparedness), community service program support, intergenerational initiatives, and social innovation.

Noelle Ayoka previously served as the Director of the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago’s Grand Crossing community, providing support and opportunities for over 4,000 youths and their families annually since 2006. A native Chicagoan, Mrs. Mota Samuels studied 

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at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Agricultural Communications & Education. She then later received a Master of Non-Profit Management degree from Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies.

In addition to her academic accomplishments, Ayoka has served in the nonprofit sector professionally since 1993. The organizations where she has served include Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, BR&R Communications, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, New Concept Development Center, and as a consultant for Malcolm X College’s Kwanzaa Committee. Additionally, Ayoka has been a contributor to several organizations, initiatives, and coalitions over the years at community, city, national and international levels working to improve the quality of life for children and families. She also provided professional development training for various agencies such as After School Matters, the Chicago Park District, the Illinois Afterschool Network, and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. She is a member of the Chicago Community Chorus, The Chicago Peace Hub, and a founding member of Antonio’s Response for Victims of Gun Violence.  

Additionally, she is a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, The Allstate Greater Good Nonprofit Leadership Program, and the UBS Nonprofit Leadership Program at Northwestern University. Ayoka also serves as a board member of the Leadership Fellows Association of Leadership Greater Chicago, advisory board member for the Trauma Center at the University of Chicago Medicine, and president of the Wright Connection (a family unity organization). She and her husband Miguel reside in Chicago with their son Eriks, currently on campus at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. 

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