Today we’d like to introduce you to LaTeesha Hollis. Them and their team share their story with us below:
Touching Lives Totally, Inc. may be a new official nonprofit in 2020, but the Touching Lives team and who they have impacted have been over 20 years in the making.
TLT seeks to provide experiences that positively impact the lives of black girls of all economic backgrounds, emphasizing five pillars — service, leadership, enlightenment, mental health, and the arts (performing and literary). It began as an informal organization when founder LaTeesha Hollis, having just graduated from North Carolina A&T State University, returned to Charlotte to pursue a master’s degree and used dance to lift the spirits of three young girls who had just lost their aunt. Soon, more girls wanted to join the TLT dance troupe and what started as a healing process for three turned into a team-building staple for 20.
Supporting her community was a family value instilled in LaTeesha at such an early age that it is simply her nature to do so. LaTeesha credits the strong women in her life who modeled and inspired this type of outreach, her late grandmother Corrine Tolbert, and her mother, Theodora Allen, who is a recently retired educator of 40 years with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Schools. LaTeesha’s mother gave birth to the original TLT vision over 20 years ago. The vision then focused on educational services for youth, a memorial concert honoring children that passed away, a free community carnival, and more.
Even as LaTeesha went off to pursue her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University, she found ways to rally her college buddies and organize her first independent project of feeding the homeless during Thanksgiving over 10 years ago in Greensboro, NC. In their first year, they passed out 50 plates; the following year, they doubled it and continued to break their record each year. The Homeless Project has fed over 2,000 homeless men and women, low-income families, Title I After school programs, Senior Living Homes (tax credit facilities), and Low Income/Inner-City Neighborhoods. The Homeless Project is now a staple in the TLT, Inc. curriculum.
“It’s ingrained in my mother’s children.” We love kids, and we love connecting with kids; giving back was always there’” LaTeesha said. An African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child. TLT is committed to being an important asset in that village. The new nonprofit structure should help the organization grow and develop more programs to teach the values it seeks to instill and inspire kids toward college and beyond.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
If anyone tells you that having a nonprofit is a smooth ride, is not telling the full truth. It can be smooth, but there are bumps along the way. Some of the struggles that I have faced over the past 10 years have been:
-Funding the Mission – Having an idea to serve others is only a part of it. You then have to find the resources and funding to support pushing that mission forward.
-Finding committed team members/ volunteers – There are some people who like the idea of what you are doing, but aren’t committed to what it takes to get there. Finding the right folks is key to pushing the mission forward.
-Empowering the Village – Trying to empower the girls is only one part. We have learned the importance of empowering parents and families to support the program, so that they understand that they play a vital role in the village. Our program is more than a babysitting service, but we want families to be engaged and supportive and that can present challenges for families that are more hands off.
-Re -engaging the community to be empowered and to come together by sharing their gifts, talents, resources or money is crucial. We all have a role that pushes past our own circle. It takes a village!
-Serving during a pandemic was a challenge, but I loved rebranding and finding creative ways to step outside the box to serve and connect with others
-Rebranding because as you grow, leaders should become reflective and intentional with the services that they provide. We had to do that.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
LaTeesha Hollis currently works with the University Center for Academic Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She believes it takes a village to impact the lives of young people and adults and is committed to being an intentional asset in that village.
LaTeesha is a native of Charlotte. She graduated from Harding University High School and pursued her education at North Carolina A&T State University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications and her Master’s degree in Health Care Administration and Gerontology. She worked in healthcare for 10 years in various areas such as onboarding and development, administration, Medicaid, Medicare, Enrollment, Certified Dementia Practitioner, Certified Nursing Assistant, Geriatric Services, transitional services, Nursing Assistant, End of Life Care, and as a Geriatric Consultant providing geriatric support and assistance to families going through transitions with their aging family members.
Aside from her professional career, LaTeesha is the CEO of a local 501(c)(3) service-based nonprofit, Touching Lives Totally, Inc. LaTeesha also serves on the Grove Park Neighborhood Association as Vice President and is one of the featured columnists in The Grove Park Gazette. LaTeesha has always been passionate about providing safe spaces, mentoring the arts, the elderly, and the community, and helping people.
LaTeesha loves hosting family and friends with her husband, being outdoors with nature, reading, caring, and rewarding her dog-child Sasha Marie for being “a good dog.”
What do I do? Currently working under academic affairs at our local University and I have over 10 years of healthcare experience with a focus on geriatric services.
What am I known for? I am passionate about all things youth, community, and the elderly
What am I most proud of? I am most proud of the services that I have provided through my home care company, especially the support we were able to provide for families during end-of-life transitions
What sets me apart from others? My heart, passion for serving with a spirit of excellence
Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
GET INVOLVED | It takes a village.
I encourage you to find organizations or opportunities that you, your family, and your friends can connect to. You are a valuable part of the village.
How do I know that?
Look at yourself. God uniquely crafted you with gifts, talents, passion, expertise, experiences, and a powerful story.
Let’s impact our community TOGETHER.
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/invites/contact/?i=1nl5pg98krlpp&utm_content=321f6m
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tlt.touchinglivestotally/