In honor of Black History Month, Family Promise is spotlighting Black Family Promise staff members, board members, volunteers, and clergy who are making an impact in their respective communities.
We all have that one teacher we’ll never forget. For Latoya Hardman, it was Professor White. He introduced her to Family Promise of Augusta (GA) in 2011. Shortly thereafter, she became an intern.
“Seeing the work at Family Promise firsthand made me realize that social workers do so much work in the community,” Hardman said.
Two years later, while Hardman was getting her master’s in social work, she returned to Family Promise to intern once more. One year after that, she returned for a second time, this time as an AmeriCorps Vista.
“I always wanted to help people in some type of way,” Hardman said. “I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Incredibly, the day after she finished her service as a Vista, Hardman became a part-time executive director at Family Promise. Today, she is the full-time executive director, and the passion for service that was lit in 2011 is just as bright a decade later. However, the health pandemic has forced her to innovate on the fly.
“COVID has increased the need for services in our community,” Hardman said. “Housing is limited, and a lot of people are not able to maintain their rent. We want to bridge that gap.”
Like so many other Family Promise Affiliates across the country, Hardman is leaning on shelter diversion services. Her priority for the past two years has been racing to stabilize housing-insecure families before they fall into homelessness. However, despite dealing with the daily struggles brought upon by the pandemic, Hardman still has an eye looking toward the future.
“Our biggest goal is to find a static shelter site,” Hardman said. “I want to be able to house families in one place so they don’t have to go to volunteers, but volunteers can come to them.”
Hardman hopes to achieve this goal in the next three years, and if her long-term commitment to Family Promise is any indication, Hardman will manifest her static site dreams into reality.