Born and raised in Walton County, GA, I grew up in the typical everyday middle class family with my parents and older sister. After high school, I left Social Circle to pursue a college career at West GA and from that point on, never returned home to live again, but would visit every weekend, being that family and church ties were strong. Two additional sisters were later adopted into the family as well.
In my third year of college, I was blessed to intern at an agency named SBC Group as entry level sales and marketing representative of electronics including high end projectors and plasma screen televisions. This is when I started to take graphic design, that I’d done since high school, a bit more seriously, as I was responsible for developing their newsletters and flyers for trade shows. From then on, I started to do freelance work and started event planning as well.
In early 2000’s I found an unexpected career path, working at Covenant House with homeless and at risk youth. I was hired in their Career Center as their adult education Instructor. Helmed the title, Mr Tray, I was able to increase the graduation rate from initially three students annually, to 34 students by the time I left. The students also graduated in full ceremonies with cap and gowns and their families in attendance. I believe my secret ingredient was merely showing students how to believe in themselves...In 2010, unfortunately due to political red tape the program was closed. In 2011, I was able to pick back up on education through Clayton Center’s newly formed Paula Crane Life Enrichment Center.
With this program, I was responsible for both education and employment services and had leeway to create the curriculum and design events for the program from scratch.
Being me, though, I couldn’t just do the minimum, and ended up moving solely into adult education as well as developing marketing strategies for the Community Service Board. On top of those two highly demanding positions, also came the opportunity to Chair the Cultural Diversity /Staff Development Committee in which I successfully chaired for five years before stepping down due to work load demands.
Currently, I serve as Operations Manager for The Paula Crane Center and daily serve Individuals in recovery in showing them healthy alternatives to living including Holiday celebrations, cooking and nutrition classes, computer classes and ZUMBA/line dancing classes to name a few. I also create all graphic correspondence for the center, moderate the social media and website accounts, and represent the center at trade shows and other community events.
For the past nine years, it has never felt like I ever left home to ‘go to work.’ Instead, it feels like I’m leaving my home family to merely go be with other family members. The bond between staff is unbreakable and it helps us to serve our stakeholders with a genuine heart and empathy that surpasses understanding. I couldn’t dream of another position or agency that could come close to having the same crane magic!!