Latoya Washington

Jackson Squad

Toya currently works with the OurJPS Coalition as the Community Schools Team Coordinator and also works with IDEA as the Mississippi Program Associate in Jackson, MS. As Community Schools Team Coordinator, Toya structures community engagement around the Community Schools model, that involves schools in any particular school district serving as a hub of community resources for educators and families. As the Mississippi Program Associate for IDEA, she examines different forms of community programming throughout the state. Toya recently graduated from Belhaven University with a Bachelors? Degree in Classical Education with minors in Psychology and Biblical Studies. In her undergraduate, Toya learned about educational structure and programming through her classes at Belhaven and her different jobs. In 2018, Toya earned her first Program Director job at Central Community Church of God, where she learned how to develop intentional programming. She also presided over three student organizations: Belhaven United ( Mental Health Group), Intervarsity ( Ministry), and the Black Student Association. Toya first received her training for community work through an organization called Operation Shoestring in Jackson,MS where she interned for 2 years as a youth programmer. At Operation Shoestring, Toya facilitated sessions around social injustice and personal development for 20+ students throughout the school year ranging from middle school to high school age. During this time, Toya became a part of the OurJPS Coalition which was formed in response to the potential state takeover of the Jackson Public School district in 2018 .Toya was introduced to Operation Shoestring in 2015 as a student ambassador for Provine High School. Her and the other students attended retreats and different learning sessions around community and identity. These sessions impacted Toya largely, because while growing up she moved often because of unstable housing and family struggles. While maturing, Toya desired to have a stable and empowering environment but often saw many broken social systems. Mental Health and Identity were the major areas of struggle for Toya. Even extremely young, Toya would speak against any form of injustice. Toya understood that the hurt she had to grow up with was preventable and the more she found ways to help people, the more she healed. Still passionate, Toya wishes to create empathetic community programming that provides families with the resources and abilities to articulate and achieve their dreams.

Latoya Washington