In 1981 along with his wife Veatrice (Drue), Leroy A. Mitchell moved to DeKalb, IL and became the Director of the CHANCE program at Northern Illinois University. In this role, Leroy touched and impacted the lives of thousands of students as he instilled the importance of education. His commitment to education shows through his engagement as a life-long-learner.  He attended Buffalo State University where he earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education. Later he received a Masters of Divinity from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Then graduated from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University with a Doctorate of Ministry.    

Their family expanded beyond their own four children: George Joseph, Maurice, Nyleesha, and Lavetta as the Mitchell's opened their home to foster children. According to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), more than 50 children passed through their home while their parents got their lives back on track.  

During the early 80’s he served as a deacon at Bethel Baptist Church in Rockford, IL.and announced his call to ministry. Dr. Mitchell was licensed in December 1985 as a minister by Rev. Andrew Latchison and ordained in October 1986 by Rev. Derwood Hunter. Shortly after accepting his call to ministry he was called to pastor the North Ave Baptist church in Sycamore in 1986. In 1987 North Ave gave birth to New Hope Missionary Baptist Church were Pastor Mitchell would serve as its’ founding pastor.  It would be the first predominately African-American congregation established and sustained in DeKalb.  The first two years were spend worshiping in the Mitchell’s living room, University Village Rec Center, Judson Campus Ministry, and The Holiday Inn. The following 11 years were spend at the Seventh Day Adventist church. Under his faithful leadership, New Hope purchased 10 acres of land and construction of their own place of worship began in 1998. On the first Sunday in July 2000, New Hope gathered for the first time in its’ our house of worship.  

Dr. Mitchell has been a pillar and leader in the DeKalb community for over 35 years and after more than 30 years of faithful servant-leadership, he retired on July 2, 2017. To honor his leadership, loyalty, and love Dr. Mitchell was named Pastor Emeritus of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.