Duluth-based Rainbow Village recently announced it has hired three new staff members to help families who are struggling to make ends meet or are trying to get away from domestic violence situations.
Suzzette Miller-Blackmon was brought on board at the organization to serve as a family engagement coordinator, while Crystal Johnson and Janelle Lawson have been hired to be success coaches.
“In addition to working to maintain our campus, we’ve turned our focus to improving the quality of service we provide to the families we serve,” said Melanie Conner, CEO of Rainbow Village.
Miller-Blackmon received her associate degree in early childhood education from Borough of Manhattan Community College and a bachelor’s degree in social science and educational studies from SUNY Empire State College. She previously worked for Five Towns Head Start in New York, the Apostles Learning Center in Sandy Springs and ran Fresh Start Services in Lawrenceville.
“It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day to day demands of life,” Conner said. “Suzzette will help the parents take a beat and really see what their child is doing, what their interests are, and how to help them achieve their dreams. To support that effort, she will develop and implement family engagement events and activities, as well as manage family communications, including newsletters and social media, to keep everyone connected.”
Johnson received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from San Francisco State University and her patient advocate certification from the University of California-Los Angeles. Her past experience includes work at Tri-City Health Care and Community Violence Solutions in California, AID Atlanta and Lost-N-Found Youth Center in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Lawson received her bachelor’s degree in family studies from Mississippi University for Women and master’s degree in post-secondary education from Troy University. She previously worked with multiple Head Start centers in Mississippi and various organizations dealing with groups ranging from veterans to homeless families.
“Above and beyond giving our families the tools they need to succeed; we want to give them more of a voice and the affirmation that they’re being heard,” Conner said. “Our new success coaches — Janelle and Crystal — will do that for them. Their relationships with Rainbow Village families will be special and empowering. They will help the families we serve build smart and attainable goals, while holding them accountable to see them through and celebrate the little victories with them all along the way.”