Happy Black History Month! This month, we want to celebrate just a few of the many Black colleagues and partners who are shaping our history as an organization and fighting to address disparities in their work ending child trafficking and helping support children in their vulnerabilities.
Marlena King brings steady perseverance.
Marlena manages Love146’s Employment and Education program, and has nearly a decade of experience helping people achieve their vocational goals, particularly those affected by mental health issues. Marlena is always cultivating a long-term vision and naming the next steps – for youth in our care, for Love146, and for herself! Marlena joined our team weeks before the pandemic struck – and if it weren’t her, we don’t know if Love146 would have the successful Employment and Education program that she built today. She sees that the needs of youth aren’t siloed and tenaciously collaborates with her colleagues and partner organizations. Marlena brings life experience to her work, as a first-generation college graduate and someone whose life was changed by vocational support.. She sees the potential of every single young person in our care, and is passionate about seeing them fulfill it, celebrating each step forward. She always wants to know what a child’s dreams are, and is convinced that children belong in the driver’s seat of their own lives.
LaNaria Barnes brings deliberate collaboration.
You may not think about someone in the field of finance as “mission-driven,” but for 5 years LaNaria has shown up each day at Love146 with purpose. She is in constant collaboration with each stakeholder’s needs, and she leads us away from a sense of scarcity and competitiveness around resources (which is hard work at any nonprofit!). LaNaria helps us balance the health of the organization with the real needs of children impacted by trafficking. She is committed to the ethical handling of each dollar that passes through our organization, and she knows the ability to be there for children over the long-haul means financial stability and planning — and every bill paid matters. At Love146, we know when LaNaria speaks, something important needs to be asked or addressed – and it’s always done with intentionality, gentleness, and power.
Jessica Stewart brings relentless advocacy.
Jessica trains and supports the many professionals who implement our Prevention curriculum, Not a Number. Her role has a specific focus on expanding prevention programming in the Atlanta area. Jessica’s background as a mental health clinician gives her vision for how unique individuals matter within systems, and helps her coach professionals within our communities to respond to children’s vulnerabilities. Jessica is passionate about communities being included in the solutions to their problems. Jessica is shaping Love146 to be increasingly inclusive. She challenges our team to think about increasing access to prevention work, especially for vulnerable populations of youth, and is actively recruiting leaders in those communities. She helps us name the voices missing from the table, and is proactive about finding ways to bring those valuable perspectives in.