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 began her career working as a Healthy Start Social worker. Later she moved on to work as a School-Based Specialist and a Transitional Counselor for a mental health agency. From there she worked as a Juvenile Probation Officer and a Certified Mentor with the AIM program. LaTonya has served as a youth leader/pastor in several ministries, developed youth programs and mentoring groups.
LaTonya was born in Quincy, Florida and graduated from Shanks High School. While in high school, LaTonya planned on becoming an educator after having Miss Shirlean Thomas as a teacher. However, this changed after she began attending Florida State University (FSU). There she 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 interned 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.
LaTonya is a Master Certified Life Coach, Certified Youth Coach and Certified Spiritual Life Coach. She is an ordained pastor at Fire and Hammer International Training Center (Tallahassee, FL) and former Youth Pastor at a local church in Villa Rica, GA. She desires to teach, develop, motivate, encourage and empower youth to become productive and successful adults in their lives, families and communities. LaTonya has a passion to assist ministries and communities in developing youth programs.
Pictured: Some of our Executive Board Members celebrating after our first Youth Awareness and Safety (YAS) class at the Villa Rica Library on February 22nd of 2020.