Each week, #SpanningtheNeed will present an “Inspirational Person of the Week’ and have a “Q & A” with one of its many gifted individuals and/or groups who are willing to go out of their own way to help others. This week’s featured is William “Guy” Burney from Community Initiative to Reduce Violence.
Name: William “Guy” Burney
Position: Executive Director
Organization: CIRV-Community Initiative to Reduce Violence
William “Guy” Burney serves as the Executive Director of the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence for the City of Youngstown. The Community Initiative to Reduce Violence, better known as (C.I.R.V.), is a partnership of law enforcement, social service agencies, and the community to reduce Violence in the city. Its mission is to create an effective delivery system to offer individuals a circle of support, enabling them to choose a non-violent path in life.He was born in Youngstown, Ohio. His education includes majors in Criminal Justice and a dual major in Organizational Leadership and Project Management.
While at the helm of C.I.R.V., Burney’s accomplishments have been vast. He has hosted preventative interventions with thousands of young men who have previously been involved in gun-related Violence. He founded The Hope Conference, which assists returning citizens in maintaining a life free of crime. He was instrumental in creating The Women of Worth Academy. This program provides women with barriers to a pathway to self-sustainable and successful living. He has taken over 2000 young people on camps, college, and exposure trips around the United States.
He is a diversity trainer for the Ohio Supreme Judicial College and a faculty member of Kent State University. He has been acknowledged by The Vice President of the United States for his work in Police and Community Relations.
Burney lives in Liberty, Ohio, with his proudest accomplishment, his family. He has been married for 22 years and has four wonderful children.
What made you want to go into this field? I had some amazing mentors from High School who began with me on my journey while in college. They took me under their wing and introduced me to the world of prevention and training. Penny Senyak, Linda Bohannon White, Cliff Johnson, and George Serrano.
What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful? My faith and the genuine desire to see people do better. I believe people have the things in them to succeed and meet their purpose. Our jobs are to assist them in tapping into those strengths and connect them to resources they may need to learn about.
What is the biggest professional mistake you made along the way? So many… Not slowing down and taking care of myself first. It caused me to become ill, and I had to recover.
What is the hardest decision you ever had to make in this field? Letting people go when they are not ready to change. I realized this work is seed planting; you don’t always see the outcomes.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently regarding your profession? No change. I believe every experience was necessary.
What inspires you to do good in our community? My faith and the love I have for people. I understand belief without action is nothing.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering in our community? I am most proud that my children and the mentees I have worked with over the years are volunteering. I have had the opportunity to pass on the servant leadership mindset to the next generation.
What song best describes you or is the soundtrack to your life?
“Blessed” by Fred Hammond.
What is your best accomplishment/experience in life?
My family. My wife of 22 years and my four children. My son has just graduated from High School this year and is attending college to play collegiate football and be a Pre-Med Student.
Who is your role model and Why?
My Dad. He has been there for me and guides me to this day. He is a Bishop of our Church Organization and travels the world helping people.
A favorite quote that you live by?
Choices are long Lasting and Life Changing.