LEAD Program

Our girls leadership program is a structured, multi-session series for middle school girls ages 11 to 15.

Summer Fashion Camp

Girls learn to craft their designs, launch a fashion business, and rip the runway at Winston-Salem Fashion Week!

Girls Rising Expo

Girls and their parents/guardians gather for a fun-filled day of learning, sharing and future planning.

Sponsor LEAD

Your opportunity to help middle school girls build brighter futures.


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.

Britney Dent

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.

Karen Harris, LCMHCS, LCAS-A

LEAD Facilitator & Family Liaison

Read Karen's Bio

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.

Caprina Rogers

Volunteer Coordinator & Administrative Support

Read Caprina's Bio

Caprina has worked as a leader and trainer in customer relations for an eminent utility company; coaching mentoring and encouraging teams to perform at their best. Her involvement in community service opportunities as a child sparked her passion for helping others. She strives to be a person that advocates for others while inspiring them to live their most authentic life. In her free time, Caprina enjoys photography, supporting local arts, learning about wellness, and being in nature.

Shonette Lewis, Ed.S.

LEAD Facilitator

Read Shonette's Bio
Shonette is an educator, literacy facilitator, and mother from Winston Salem, North Carolina. She began her career as a teacher in 2005 and has worked in a variety of roles including Parent Educator, Training Specialist, Mentor Teacher, and Program Coordinator. Her educational background includes a master’s degree in Family Life and Youth Development, and an education specialist degree in Early Childhood Education. Shonette takes pride in making genuine, lifelong connections with the children and families she serves. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, walking nature trails, and dancing.

Denise W. McCoy

LEAD Facilitator

Read Denise's Bio

Denise has called Winston-Salem home since relocating from Iredell County in 1997. She has a passion for advocating and empowering others. After working in law enforcement, Denise made a career change to education. She now has more than 36 years of experience as a facilitator, trainer, parent educator, mentor and program coordinator. Denise is committed to working with families, children, and communities to achieve a goal of moving “Forward together, not one step backwards.”