Saleem El-Amin is the President and CEO of The New Horizon Center, Inc. The New Horizon Center, Inc. which has become the gold standard for social service agencies has successfully served thousands of youth and nurtured a brighter more productive future. With more than 40 distinguished years of service in the social welfare field, El-Amin has become the quintessential role model and advisor for others in the industry.
Much like the social service agency he has nurtured for more than 25 years, El-Amin comes from humble beginnings. Born Jeff Crawford, Jr. in Aliceville Alabama, El-Amin moved to Milwaukee with his family at the age of 6, to follow his father’s job opportunities and a better way of life for his family.
El-Amin excelled in baseball at North Division High School where he won all-city honors as a third base player and eventually was the first African American to be offered a baseball scholarship to the University of Minnesota. Because of the racial inequality of the 60’s, El-Amin was unable to pursue his childhood dream of playing Major League Baseball, but channeled his athletic talents into becoming a Big Ten runner-up in the Triple Jump.
After graduating with a degree in sociology, El-Amin was employed by the Department of Health and Human Services as a social worker. El-Amin obtained a Masters Degree from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and, during this time he began his second career with the Clara Muhammad School as a volunteer principal. As the humble leader for more than 25 years of the small religious school located in the heart of Milwaukee’s inner city, El-Amin’s talents for multitasking were well utilized. He developed curriculum, hired teachers, taught classes, fundraised and swept and mopped floors. No job was too big or small for him. He set a stellar example of hard work, leadership and dedication to the school for others to follow. His commitment resulted in many successful college graduates including four of his own children. Under the tutelage of Naim Muhammad, the first African American to own a residential treatment center in the state of Wisconsin, El-Amin became the Director of the Martin Center- Residential facility for males. There he learned to manage, direct and conduct operations for a social service agency. After honing his skills there for three years and securing a loan from his parents, El-Amin co-founded The New Horizon Center in 1985, along with the late Opal Veal on North 12th Street.
The New Horizon Center began as a residential facility for delinquent males in need of discipline, structure and guidance. With the success of this first endeavor and a decade of service under his belt the agency branched out and soon had three agencies. El-Amin currently operates seven thriving business ventures that include; a day care center, a child placing agency, a female shelter care center, an assessment center for males, a crisis stabilization and mentoring program and two group homes for males and females.
The community lauds the efforts of El-Amin for taking bold and proactive steps to address the needs of our youth in this community. His courageous, valiant and compassionate spirit has transformed the lives of thousands. He is an unsung hero to many and a local treasure to all who know him. El-Amin exemplifies a true community leader and he is legendary.
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