LaTonya Smith, affectionately known to her kids as "Sister or Miss LT", is known for her love, passion and dedication of helping youth and children in finding their purpose in life. She desires to teach, develop, motivate, encourage and empower youth to become productive and successful adults in their lives, families and communities. LaTonya is also passionate in helping ministries and communities to develop youth programs.
LaTonya was born in Quincy, Florida and graduated from James A. Shanks High School. While in high school, she planned on becoming an educator after having Miss Shirlean Thomas as one of her teachers. However, this changed after she began attending Florida State University (FSU). There LaTonya met four professors: Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell, Dr. C. Christy Baker, Dr. Brenda Jarmon and Dr. Maxine Jones, who were very inspirational and influential to her, putting her on the path to recognizing her passion and purpose of helping youth, children and families. “These ladies poured knowledge and their passion into me” states LaTonya. LaTonya also learned about Dr. Marian Wright Edelman of the Children Defense Fund during this time and at that moment she decided that she wanted to make a big difference in the lives of children, youth and young adults.
LaTonya began her career as an intern with the One Church, One Child Program under the supervision of Mrs. Arie Sailor and graduated from FSU with her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. After graduation, she worked as a Healthy Start Social worker, School-Based Specialist, Transitional Youth Mental Health Counselor and a Juvenile Probation Officer.
LaTonya is a Master Certified Life Coach, Certified Youth Coach and Certified Spiritual Life Coach. She is the recipient of the 2021 Community Excellence Award from the Midwife Lizzie Bell Ward Wilson Foundation.
LaTonya is an ordained pastor at Fire and Hammer International Training Center (Tallahassee, FL) and is developing the youth ministry at New Canaan Baptist Church in Temple, Ga. She has served as a youth pastor and leader at several ministries.