Meet Our Team
Joy Nelson Thomas
Founder & Executive Director
Read Joy's Bio
Joy holds a B.A. from Salem College and is a certified Life Coach through an ICF (International Coach Federation) recognized institution. She also is certified in safe-talk and suicide prevention. Joy’s ‘why’ in life is: “impact every girl that comes in her life in some way.” Joy feels it’s our responsibility to be the change we want to see in our community, not just talk about it.
Joy has been selected as a 2021 Triad Business Journal C-Suite winner, 2018 Women of the Year through ABWA (American Business Women’s Assoc.), a 2019 Wonder Woman of the Year through Yes! Weekly, given “Hidden Figure Recognition” by The Acey Group and featured in many publications. She serves on boards/committees of the African American Leadership Society; the Clinical Translational Science Institution at WFU School of Medicine; Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods; Association of Fundraising Professionals; and Winston-Salem Fashion week.
When Joy is not working to change a girl, a community and the world, she’s spending time with he husband Jasper and her son JT.
Director of Programs
Read Britney's Bio
Britney is a teacher, life coach, mother, and pastor’s wife. She grew up in the small town of Selma, North Carolina as a preacher’s kid and earned a degree in Sociology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A public school teacher since 2011, Britney is also life coach for teens and parents of teens, coaching them to make the best choices for their health, academics, and relationships. Britney enjoys meeting new people and encouraging people to keep going even when the going gets tough.
AmeriCorps VISTA Program
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Jes received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Wake Forest University in 2016 and received a lot of attention for her scientific contributions, including nomination as Chair for the international Gordon Research Seminar on her research topic and a pre-doctoral research grant from the American Heart Association. As she pursued a scientific career, there was always a simultaneous passion for community building and outreach, which motivated her to initiate several different grassroots endeavors. She started FosterBox, a community-driven fundraising effort focused on teens in foster care around the winter holidays.
Jes conceived and co-produced The Traumedy Show, a monthly pop-up comedy/storytelling show that raised money for local trauma recovery services. While living abroad in Brussels, Belgium for one of her postdoctoral fellowship appointments, she started a Food not Bombs chapter mobilizing a network for food recuperation and redistribution. During this time, she also began working alongside “Sans Papiers”, or people in Belgium without legal papers, to meet practical needs and organize for legislative change. In her free time, she loves spending time with her two children, having thoughtful conversations with friends around a lovely meal, creating art, or spending time outdoors.
Karen Harris, LCMHCS, LCAS-A
LEAD Facilitator & Family Liaison
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Karen has more than thirty years of experience working with teens and families. She is passionate about helping others overcome their challenges and realize their full potential. Karen holds a master of arts degree in public affairs, a master of science in counseling and a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She is a licensed clinical mental health counselor supervisor, a licensed clinical addiction specialist and she holds a National Boards certification in school counseling.
Director of Resource Development
Read Ginger's Bio
Ginger has 20 years of experience working with nonprofits and in higher education. As the Executive Director of Bookmarks for nearly 11 years, she oversaw the fundraising and expansion of Bookmarks’ offices and the opening of their independent bookstore. She also spearheaded Book Build, which provided 25,000 new and relevant books into Forsyth County public school libraries. As the Director of Salem College’s Center for Women Writer, she taught English and creative writing and hosted such activists and writers as Naomi Shihab Nye, Paul Rusesabagina, and Gloria Steinem. She has a MFA in Writing from Vermont College and is a graduate of Salem College, where she was awarded the Young Alumna Award in 2010. She is also a 2015 winner of the Winston Under 40 Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce. In her free time, she is either swimming, reading, or spending time with her husband and their two elementary aged sons.