Gwendolyn Rodgers is a Community Development Specialist, Civic and Government Relations for EMQ FamiliesFirst and the President/Founder of Young Women’s Empowerment Foundation (YWE). Mrs. Rodgers earned her BS degree in Social Work at California Baptist University in Riverside California; she also holds a Masters is Human Resource and Management.
After years of seeing and encountering young girls who had given up on there dreams because they had no one to mentor them. She decided that it was time to take an active role of instilling into the lives of other young women what she had experienced growing up which was positive family and friends that shared the importance of embracing God while taking advantage of the resources within the community and not being afraid to ask for help.
Her passion and ministry has been to work with young girls at risk of destructive behaviors that limit their desire for a higher education. She has made it a life goal to lend her services to those that are in need of a positive role model by volunteering her time in the community in which she resides. As the driving force for YWE she has worked numerous hours with the board of directors of YWE to develop partnerships that will meet the needs of young women in the community. Her goal for YWE is to get local governments and political action groups to support YWE’s mission to get established and recognized on a national level.
Tiffany James is a Residency Program Administrator for Kaiser Permanente. She received her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of West Georgia and holds a Master’s in Human Resource Management. Throughout her career, Tiffany has worked as a Training & Curriculum Design Specialist for non-profit organizations and collegiate entities.
Tiffany esteems herself as an easygoing, passionate, and dedicated woman who thrives on witnessing young ladies exude their inner and outer beauty. Once being a teenage girl herself, she remembered how she struggled with finding her own self-worth and fighting to be held as beautiful in the eyes of society. She decided to transfer her learnings by beginning volunteer work as a Mentor Coordinator with a non-profit organization in Atlanta, Georgia. She encountered so many girls with varying common challenges that she vowed to make working with teenage girls a part of her mission. This led her to become a co-founder of a Young Women’s Ministry (ages 18-25) at The Rock Church in San Diego. During this time, Tiffany used her talents to develop training curriculum for young women ministry leaders. Her passion is to help young ladies evolve into the woman they were designed to be.
Chief Executive Officer
Devona Robertson is the mother of three beautiful children. Out of her role as a mother developed a passion for seeing all children reach their full potential. Understanding that allowing a child to have their voice as well as encouragement pushes them further; also encouraging parent’s to be their child’s advocate and cheerleader. Devona also has the pleasure of supporting mothers and fathers as a Lactation Consultant for the Riverside County Department of Public Health. She facilitates parenting, prenatal and breastfeeding support groups. Devona prides herself on being a parent, community member and a voice for the voiceless. Every individual changed equals generations changed.
Whikesha (Kesha) Vann is a proud mother of 2 wonderful children. She has been dedicated to the social service mental health field for over 20 years including residential treatment, therapeutic behavioral therapy and for the past 13 years the wraparound program as a community development specialist. She has used her talents for volunteer work in the community working with various community partners and also giving back by organizing social events for women to raise awareness for breast cancer, fibroids, and the importance of self care. Raised by a single father, Kesha prides herself in making a difference by working with young women and promoting sisterhood amongst all women!
Advisory Board Member
The focus of her Ph.D. studies at UCLA was HIV/AIDS and for three years she was the recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health AIDS Trainee Fellowship. Her dissertation was on power differences between females and males in negotiating sexual activities. Her current research projects include studying the well-being of foster care youth who age out of the foster care system and risk behavior among persons who are HIV positive.
Advisory Board Member
Brenda Dowdy is the Homeless Education Program Specialist for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. Her job is to ensure that homeless children are enrolled in school without any barriers. She has been challenged with the task to provide goods and services for homeless students in the city of San Bernardino. Brenda transformed her program to service school districts throughout the county. She volunteers time on weekends visiting countless churches countywide to secure school supplies and daily necessities, such as food and clothing before the start of the school year.
She has now collaborated with the United Way agencies to identify homeless families and provide additional resources to homeless students countywide. She has visited, assisted, and trained various community-based agencies in Lucerne Valley, Helendale, Victorville, Barstow, and San Bernardino on the drastic needs of homeless families and students. It is her tenacity, strong desire, and hard work ethic that have allowed her to stretch the original limited program resources. Homeless students and families countywide are benefiting from her countless volunteer hours that were beyond the scope of her professional responsibilities.
She gives her personal time to ensure the families in our community receive all of the resources to aid in their becoming self-sufficient, as well as meeting the educational needs of their children. She is diligently providing support, and gives confidence to those she has helped to become successful in their lives.
Ariana Frazier, California Baptist University
Carmenita Gay, Cal State Los Angeles