Each February, United Ways across the U.S. celebrate 211 Day. First introduced in 1997, 211 is a free, nationwide information and referral helpline that provides individuals in need with help in times of crisis and beyond. Our local 211 Helpline is staffed by trained specialists who serve 42 Middle Tennessee counties.
LaKelia started out as a 211 resource specialist who was passionate about public service. Today, she is the manager of United Way’s 211 program and a certified resource specialist. She also manages our SNAP Outreach Grant. “The best part about my job is knowing that I am helping individuals in the community get the resources that they need,” she says.
LaKelia joined the United Way team in November 2016. Since then, she has learned a lot about service delivery and operations. Over the course of the pandemic, the 211 program has navigated an influx of calls and community needs. Thousands of Middle Tennesseans have called our helpline for food, rent and utilities assistance, and LaKelia is committed to providing information about essential resources to anyone who needs direction. If she had the power to do so, “I would create equitable opportunities for the entire community,” she says.
This year, LaKelia looks forward to growing in her position and becoming a more effective leader as she helps our neighbors overcome barriers and address life’s challenges.
Outside of the work, LaKelia is most proud of her seven-year-old son, Alexander.
Favorite quote: “Growth and comfort cannot coexist.” –Ginni Rometty