Tawana Pope currently serves as a Case Manager at Deborah’s Place in Chicago, IL, where she provides resources to women who are in need of affordable housing. She formerly worked with incarcerated men and women at St. Leonard’s Adult HS in Chicago, IL. At Sankofa Safe Child Initiative, she was a Social Worker helping to provide resources for low-income individuals, families, communities, and grandparents that are raising children, whose parents are incarcerated. She has mentored youth at Marillac Social Center and Tabitha House for Women who are released from prison. She has helped them by setting goals through the 120-day transformation goal program, which helps women integrate back into society.
In 2007, at the age of 37, Tawana decided to change her life course, and enrolled into an adult high school program for ex-offenders at St. Leonard’s Ministries. This was a major turning point in her life and the life of her children. She wanted to break the vicious cycle of illiteracy for herself, her children and her bloodline. At Harold Washington College, she obtained a degree in Applied Science, also received her certification as a youth advocate in 2012 and a certificate in the Encore Program for Gerontology working with Seniors in 2011. She graduated from Harold Washington, and enrolled in Northeastern Illinois University to obtain her BA degree in Social Work in May 2015. In 2016 Tawana received her MSW from Dominican University and has worked in the social services field since 2008.
Tawana's passion for social justice comes from having lived and overcome many of the same barriers and experiences of the people she encounters, who live in poverty. These included some of the following (high school drop out, teen mom, ex-offender, homeless, drug addict, prostitution and suicidal ideation). As a Social Worker, her passion is to utilize her experience and knowledge to enhance opportunities for those that have been impacted by trauma. The lessons in which Tawana as learned throughout the course of her journey, has taught her skills and has provided her the opportunity to understand and relate to the hardships in which many face. Diamonds in The Making Outreach was birthed through having to advocate for herself and her family, based on the resources that were needed to become stable. Tawana continues to be a beacon of light to those who need to be pulled out of the darkness, as God has been her source of hope, and is now using her to draw all men into His Kingdom.
Successfully engage with at-risk and low-income "Diamonds" within our society; providing hot meals and a listening ear, to ensure that each person feels loved, valued and provided for. I have had the opportunity to feed this population for over 3 years without any grant money, only donations. God has been the source of our provision as my team and I continue to move forward believing in the mission to serve the undeserved.
Despite the many resources, people are still hungry and need housing and employment in order to live a successful and stable life. There is always a need for funding to further the mission and reach more people. Also, to help one person at a time obtain the resources needed to be self-sufficient.