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Paradise in the sky, Youth Motivational Services, Inc.

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Providing an outdoor Facility for youth of all diversities and challenges unlocking their Potential and teaching leadership skills and focus on ethical decision making along with empowering and motivating their future success.

Paradise in the sky, Youth motivational Services, Inc. provides an environment where youth of all diversities and challenges learn and practice leadership skills and focus on ethical decision making.  This outside facility provides affordable, educational, and outdoor recreational activities in a safe, clean, and inviting environment through sound business and management practice.

Mission Statement:
A facility that provides outdoor activities to empower and motivate challenged youth by promoting respect for all cultural diversity through outdoor recreational and educational opportunities to unlock each youth’s potential for future success.

Board Members:

President – Richard (Rich) Stephens and founder has more than 25 years as an executive manager and engineer in a variety of industries, including consumer durables, heavy equipment, automotive, building products, and agriculture as well as retail services. His understanding of both domestic and international manufacturing and distribution channels encompasses retail sales, wholesale, OEM, direct sales, and government markets.

Rich is a graduate of Maynard Management Institute, University of North Carolina Charlotte and is a certified Methods Engineer and Six Sigma Black Belt.  Rich also attended Tusculum College in pursuit of his masters in Business Management.
Rich is a father of a multiple handicapped/autistic child and has devoted his personal life around providing equine and motivational events on his beautiful “Paradise in the Sky” property to handicapped and challenged youth.  His goal is to motivate these children in reaching their potential life goals.

Vice President – Paula Kyle and founder is the Author of “On the Edge of Unthinkable” and Founder of Edge of Unthinkable, LLC. Today she offers herself as a published author, releasing her memoir in 2010, detailing her voyage through the separation from her siblings and being placed into the Ohio foster care system. Along her path she has become a youth motivational speaker focusing on overcoming adversity, in addition an established key note speaker concentrating on foster care training. In 2010, the  Public Childrens Service of Ohio  recognized Kyle with an award for her outstanding volunteer services.

Kyle is an alumnus of Mt. Vernon Sr. High School while also attending the Knox County Career Center during her later years of high school in High Skilled Stenography. Kyle has lived in Mt. Vernon Ohio since 1972 and raised two children and now is a grandmother of three.  Kyle was the original Knox County Ohio Coordinator and Director of the Kokosing Valley Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team, Inc. in 1994. She was also a Nationally Registered EMT-D and Ohio Fire Fighter 1-A under the State of Ohio. Kyle was an instructor with the American Red Cross and American Heart Association in CPR and First Aid training through the state of Ohio as well as a volunteer instructor.  Her professional career is in Sales, Marketing and Executive Administrative Positions.

Treasurer – Mike Smith has local roots graduating from Clear Fork High and living in Mount Vernon the past 28 years with Ellen and their 3 children.  Mike earned a B.S. in Education from Bowling Green State University and was commissioned into the U.S. Army where he served 6 ½ years as an Armor (tanks) officer and was a two time recipient of the Army Commendation Medal.  Mike then earned a M.S. in Education from Western Kentucky University and began his career in serving abused, neglected and dependent children and their families.  Teaching and coaching in the public school setting was Mike’s career vision, but he found his niche in children’s protective services for over 18 years.  In 1983 Mike and his young family had been “away from home” for several years and reconnecting with the family at large become increasingly important, so he secured a supervisory position with Knox County Children’s Services under the mentoring of Judith Goodhand.  For 15 years he directed all on-going services to families in home, as well as, foster and adoptive settings. Mike also has over 9 years manufacturing experience where he became a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and for the past 3 years partnered with his wife in her local printing business.  I believe “Paradise in the Sky” is going to be a turning point in lots of kids lives and I count it an honor to have a part in it.

Secretary – Mary Bogner, has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Ashland University. She has over 20 years of experience in business. Mary owned her own business for several years, has spent a number of years in the area of human resources and is currently the Manager, Retirement Plans for a prominent U. S. based company. During this time, she had an opportunity to direct company educational programs which received the Ohio State Governor’s Workplace Literacy Award and the U. S. Department of Labor’s Labor Investing for Tomorrow Award. Her research for outside funding opportunities and grant requests for company educational programs resulted in awards for thousands of literacy training dollars. Mary resides in Wooster, Ohio with her husband, David, and their 10 year old son, Brandt. They also have two grown children, Nina and Steven, and four grandchildren.

I believe that children are the future. All children, no matter what their background or diversity, should have the same opportunity to see and learn ethical and interpersonal behaviors to empower them to develop functional skills which they can carry with them and have throughout their lives. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of an organization like Paradise In The Sky which seeks to support these types of essential fundamentals.


Board Member – Ben Staats – a lifelong resident of Knox County, growing up on a large family farm learned family core values, dedication & team work. Ben and his wife Beth reside in Mount Vernon.  Ben is an alumnus ofMount VernonHigh School and later high school years attended theKnoxCountyCareerCenter in Machine Trades.  After graduation, he has been employed at Ariel Corporation for the last 32 years.  He has also taught CNC & Mastercam at the Knox County Career Center and Central Ohio Technical College and is also certified by the State of Ohio for the instruction of Motorcycle Safety courses.

Ben’s strong attributes that he will lend to Paradise in the Sky, Youth Motivational Services would be his strong organizational skills, people skills,   while still in collaboration and dedication as a volunteer for the Dan Emmett Festival and is the Chairperson for the Festivals’ Annual Car Show.  Other interests consist of an active involvement in The Tickin T’s of Central Ohio/Model T club, the Kokosing Valley Antique Tractor Club. Ben is an active member ofGrace Community Church,Mount Vernon,Ohio.

Board Member – Tina Cockrell is the Program Coordinator for the Knox County Chamber of Commerce. She has held this position for two years. Tina currently serves on the Knox County Head Start Policy Council, Paradise in the Sky Board, School Advisory Committee, and the Knox County Safety Council. She has volunteered in her daughters 2nd grade classroom assisting the teacher with students. Tina resides in Fredericktown with her three children; Mark, 13; Samantha, 8 and Nevaeh, 3.