Nafes Johnson, Wharton MYEP
On Friday night April 20, Nafes Johnson was shot and killed by a stray bullet while coming home from church in South Philadelphia. Nafes was a graduate of the Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program at Wharton in 1996, and has worked on staff in the Wharton MYEP office ever since. This tragic and untimely death is a shock and a tremendous loss to the hundreds of young people who he worked with throughout his several years on the Penn campus.
The Young Entrepreneurs Program has been funded by the Foundations of the Milken Families since its inception in 1988. It is an educational enrichment program that matches urban youth with Wharton MBA student mentors in a pursuit of business education and youth development.
As a young adult in high school, Nafes was offered a paid part-time position in the MYEP office. He started out as a junior teacher and then was eventually promoted to senior program coordinator at an exceptionally young age. Nafes Johnson had an exceptional ability to inspire the many young people who entered the program with personal challenges. He was always supportive and compassionate and a true role model for all of those around him. He was a special individual who cared deeply for his fellow human being.
Despite growing up in some truly challenging circustances, Nafes had chosen a focused, meaningful and productive path, and wanted to make the most out of himself, while helping and inspiring others as muich as he could--and he did--along the way. He had so many gifts coupled with a tremendous desire to do good. The Penn campus was fortunate to have had Nafes as part of our community. His death at the age of 19 was a tragic loss.
He is survived by his grandmother, his mother, and his daughter.
The Wharton studentbody, so moved by his spirit, has launched a campaign for a scholarship fund in his name, to benefit neighborhood high school students in the Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program. For more information about this fund call the program office at (215) 898-9993.
--Lisa S. Hoffstein, National Executive Director, Milken Young Entrepreneurs Program
Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 32, May 1, 2001