***Duties of the board of directors include, but are not limited to, governing the organization by establishing policies and procedures, selecting, appointing, supporting and reviewing the performance of the President/CEO, recruiting new board members, making financial donations to the organizations, ensuring the availability of adequate financial resources, securing funds through fundraisers and donations, overseeing all revenues and expenses, strategic planning, and approve annual budgets.

 

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                       2019-2020 Board Directors

Waleisah Wilson- President & Treasurer

Waleisah Wilson is the founder of Newlife-Second Chance Outreach, Inc. and serves as the organization's President. She founded the organization after her release from prison in 2011 as a way to address the lack of reentry focused resources needed to assist the formerly incarcerated in the Columbus, GA and Phenix City, AL areas with job readiness skills AND job referral services needed to assist the special population with becoming productive, self-sufficient and successful within their communities.

 

Despite an unstable childhood that included abuse, neglect, housing instability, parental addiction, homelessness and foster care, she overcame the odds and graduated in the top of her high school's graduating class, receiving a full academic scholarship to Stillman College where she later graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. She later attended Capella University where, after her incarceration and a brief struggle with housing instability due to having a felony, she overcame the odds again by obtaining a Master's degree in Human Services specializing in Social and Community Services. She later persued and obtained a second graduate degree. She obtained a Master's in Nonprofit Management and Leadership in 2014 from Walden University and in 2015, supplemented it with a post graduate certificate in Criminal Justice. She later plans to pursue her doctorate in either Community Organizing & Advocacy or Public Policy.

 

Due to feeling the need that there needed to be local AND statewide awareness of reentry and its barriers to self-sufficiency for those with criminal records, in 2016, Waleisah initiated and requested from the city of Columbus and the state of Georgia that July be recognized as Reentry Awareness Month. She and the organization received proclamations from both the city of Columbus and from Georgia's governor, Nathan Deal, solidifying the request, the first of its kind on the local and statewide level. 

 

Because of her humanitarian efforts and outstanding commitment to her community, her advocacy and her efforts to reduce crime in her community, bring awareness on issues that affect her community such as poverty, homelessness, political education, voter registration, equity and equality, she has been the recipient of many awards and recognitions including Metropolitan Baptist Church's annual MLK, Jr. Humanitarian Award (2017), the Dr. Ophelia DeVore Unsung Heroes Award (2017) and AARP's Unsung Heroes Award (2017). She has even received statewide recognition by Georgia Senator, Ed Harbison, by having a Georgia Senate Resolution named in her honor (SR-121). In February 2017, she was also invited to Justice Day 2017 by Georgia Justice Project to speak to Georgia legislators at the capital about the critical need for Georgia to eliminate barriers to self-sufficiency for individuals with criminal records. She has worked on and organized to support local, statewide and national campaigns that supported bail and prison reform, Black Mamas Bailouts, dignity for incarcerated women, the unshackling of pregnant prisoners, poll access and ending voter suppression, reducing mass incarceration, community policing and police accountability. She is often invited to be a guest and panel speaker and regularly facilitates job readiness workshops and coordinates abd organizes reentry focused community events and campaigns. Through her organization, she has been instrumental in assistand hundreds of ex-offenders in finding employment with background friendly employers. In July 2019, she was distinguished with the honor of receiving a proclamation from the Mayor for her persistence and direct involvement in the city of Columbus, GA establishing its first every reentry commission which will operate under the Mayor's office. 

 

She is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., The Offender Alumni Association (OAA), The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls (NCIFIWG), the National Incarceration Association, All of Us or None, JustLeadershipUSA (2017 Cohort), Southerners On New Ground, The National Network for Justice (NJJ), the Georgia Justice Reform Partnership, The End Mass Incarceration (EMI) Network, ADAPT GA, Metro Atlanta Reentry Coalition and the Family Equality Council's National Network of LGBTQ Families Group.

 

She also currently serves on the board of directors of H.O.P.E. (a tiny houses for the homeless project), the Offender Alumni Association (OAA is a Birmingham, AL based organization that is a network of former offenders who inspire each other to reduce recidivism, develop healthy relationships within their communities, and provide opportunities for social, economic, and civic empowerment, RestoreHER and Re:Store Georgia (an advocacy organization whose mission is to serve as a collective voice for those impacted by sexual offense laws in the State of Georgia). She enjoys going to church, preparing meals and socializing with those who are unsheltered through outreach, playing board games and trivia, traveling, volunteering, youth and adult mentoring, watching movies, cooking and singing karaoke. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA. 

 

Tier Walker- Secretary

Tier is a native of Louisiana where she attended Grambling State University. She is self employed and is in the process of opening a second business. Tier has a soft spot for the elderly, disabled and children and often enjoys volunteering her time at nursing homes and mentoring at risk youth. She enjoys listening to music, playing games and fashion.

 
 

Denise Thomas- Director

Denise is a wife and and mother of 3 beautiful children aged 24, 20 and 15. Although a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native and having grown up in Phenix City, Alabama (where she graduated from Central High School in 1995), she currently calls Columbus home. 

 
Most of her professional experience revolved around working with children in childcare. He most recent work experience included working in quality control at Buffalo Rock. However, due to being diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 2007, she later resigned in 2008. She is the Founder & CEO of Baby Fetish Infant & Beyond, Inc., a community clothing bank for the tri city area. 
 
Volunteering and paying it forward is Denise's natural born calling the inspiration for her organization stemmed from acts of kindness that Denise and her daughter did while here daughter was in high school. Her oldest daughter would come home to tell Denise about different friends being pregnant or dealing with misfortunes they'd had because of their pregnancies so in order to make it a little easier on the teens and their families, Denise and daughter made up care packages for the teens. Seeing the need within her community, Denise created Baby Fetish Infant & Beyond, Inc. to give back, pay it forward and assist those in need by providing clothing and other essential items to pregnant women, infants, and teens for their children aged newborn to 18 all for FREE! It is because of her big heart and dedication to her community that makes Denise an asset to our board of directors.  

Andez Jones- Director

Andez Jones is a native of the Phenix City/Columbus area. He regularly boasts of the motivation he receives from his beautiful family of a loving wife and two precious daughters. He holds a degree in Psychology and has worked in several government roles including inpatient mental health settings, facilitated probationer/parolee post-release classes, and served pre-adjudicated youth as an alternative to detention with the Dept. of Juvenile Justice and the Dept. of Family and Children Services. He also assists several local grassroots organizations in crime prevention, urban empowerment, and a myriad of issues affecting our community. 

 

Andez states that his dedication to the mission of NewLife-Second Chance is “rooted in my own struggles with the legal system when I was 17 years old, and the lengthy battle of transitioning back into society”. He believes that his personal life experience enables him to find common ground with those he serves as well as proof that a productive life can be achieved post-release. He asserts that with the exception of his family, one of his top goals is to “reach back and help those navigate a path that I’ve already crossed”.  

Kelton Biggs- Director

Kelton is a tax and marketing professional. He resides in Columbus, GA. He loves helping people and enjoys fashion.