#DontWriteMeOff is a 501(c)3 non-profit youth mentoring organization that is designed to empower, encourage, and redirect “at risk” youth (middle and high school students) based in Smyrna, Georgia. This organization will be stretching across the southern region of the nation in states such as Georgia, Texas, and Mississippi; this organization is designed to be an accountability system beyond the classroom.
Some of our youth are seen as having bad behavior, low academic performance, and unmotivated. We know that our youth experience issues on a day to day due to their environment, childhood trauma, lack of exposure, and much more, but more importantly we know that ALL our youth, regardless of their backgrounds (ethnicity or socioeconomic status) are all created on purpose and for a purpose. As we are raising up our youth within the community, we must adopt a village mentality to bridge this “Achievement Gap.” This organization is rooted in love, tenacity, faith, and youth-development focus.
It is our mission to encourage, empower, and equip our young people with the tools to enhance their community, create their success, and become growth-minded.
The vision of this organization is to develop youth across the nation into successful servant-leaders, critical thinkers, visionaries, and change agents within their communities through building relationships, mentoring, discovering their purpose, setting life goals, creating career pathways, community service projects, and partnerships.
The Birth of #DontWriteMeOff, Inc.
In 2015, Executive Director, Andrea Bracey, entered into the secondary classroom and the educational system; she saw the lack of compassion, relationships, and empowerment for youth that were seen as at-risk. It did not take long to see a pattern of how these students were seen as the ‘worst students.’ Andrea saw something much more profound. She saw the lack of rapport between teachers and students. She made it her mission to get to know all of her students to understand their behavior and redirect their path through sharing her story and being transparent with her students.
In 2016, she had the vision to form The Educator’s Call, LLC. in hopes of providing professional development and educational resources to fellow educators as well as families on the importance of building relationships with minority students through empowerment and engagement. This vision would soon come to life in July 2017; shortly after, the idea of “Don’t Write Me Off” manifested itself in a dream that she had during the summer of 2017. What she saw in the school system, was happening everywhere. The difference is #DontWriteMeOff was more greater than The Educator’s Call, the mission was on a larger scale that scared her. However, she understood that it takes a village to raise a child. She began paying attention to the people she was connected to as well as their passion, purpose, and actions. These people would soon become the Board of Directors for #DontWriteMeOff, Inc.
Meet the Board of Directors
Andrea S. Bracey
Andrea S. Bracey is a native of Vicksburg, MS currently residing in Atlanta, GA.
Andrea completed her Bachelors of Science in Biology at Jackson State University, May of 2013. She is also a December 2018 candidate for a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree from Texas A&M Commerce, finishing Summa Cum Laude. She started her career as an Educator in Dallas, TX in 2015.
She is the CEO/Educational Consultant of The Educator’s Call, LLC, an Edupreneur, Health/Wellness Business Coach for Total Life Changes, and the Author of “When I Decided to Follow the Call: My Discoveries Along The Way.”
Andrea is currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA, State Chapter Leader for ForBrownGirls, Inc., a member of Interfaith Children’s Movement, and volunteer at YELLS, Inc.
Andrea spent most of her childhood in Kings, MS and Bernard Acres; it did not take her long to recognize how some of her peers and community members either conformed to their environment or rose above their circumstances and lack. She developed a servant-heart and wanted to simply serve others in the greatest capacity she knew how, which was through love, laughter, and being used by God as a vessel. She understood the importance of building relationships with others in order to break down mental and emotional barriers. She believes that everyone has a purpose, our life experiences help us to tap into that purpose and sometimes we just need confirmation that we are on track.
Jonnequia Cavett is a native of Jackson, MS. She is a proud product of Jackson Public Schools, Provine High School.
“I am a finer woman of the illustrious sorority Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. I am Bachelor of Science in Biology degree candidate at Thee Jackson State University.”
She is a firefighter in the United States Air Force. Jonnequia is also an honored veteran of campaign Inherent Resolve. She is a vast community advocate; she also loves reading, researching Biology, shopping, and traveling the world.
She lives by the quote by Mahatma Gandhi “In order to find yourself you have to lose yourself in the service of others”. That has tremendously sculpted my perception on life and revealed my divine purpose in life.
Brittany is an Application Security Engineer in Atlanta, GA. She was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She always knew she wanted to help people. “To this day, I’m still not sure what that looks like, but wherever I am needed, I tend to go.”
Brittany wanted to be a lawyer most of her life, then she began to learn more about computers and decided to take that route in college.
Being raised in a single parent home, she knew how important it was for her to be the best that she could be. She wanted to make her mom proud and to live better than she did. Her mother always instilled that in her.
“I went to college and graduated with honors. To be in the first in my family to go to college and graduate was an amazing feeling, but I knew Jackson wasn’t the place for me. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Atlanta to begin my career. I had to learn my way and quickly adapt. Life has treated me well in Atlanta. I have met some amazing people and done some amazing things as well. I have always wanted to serve and will continue to do that. Finding my purpose is so important to me, and I’m on the search for that. I know that God has a vision for me and I’m just looking for that light.”
LaKisha Edwards Grant is the founder and owner of WATER The Heart, LLC, SMILES support group, and she hosts an annual WATER Her Heart Women’s empowerment event. She is the author of an inspirational book about her journey, “Flawed but Fabulous: A Seed of Hope” and a self-development workbook “Heart Decisions.”
Grant is a Licensed Professional Counselor and experienced educator She is certified in EC-4, ELR 4-8, EC-12 Special Education, and School Counseling.
She has worked for the following non-profit agencies: Project SAVE, Adult Literacy, and Even Start where she received Mentor and WAIT relationship training.
Her passion is assisting others on their journey to success with mental and emotional strength.
Antonia is an Educator and Entrepreneur. She graduated in the Fall of 2012 from the University of Texas at Dallas with a direction to go into the medical field, but a heart to go into education. Shortly after, she enrolled in the graduate program of Dallas Baptist University to get her Master’s in education.
Around the same time, she started teaching preschool-aged children and realized that not only did she have a passion for it, but that it was her calling.
Although she thoroughly enjoys teaching, she knows that she is called to do much more in the education field. Educators are one of the first people in a child’s life to have an impact on them by being their teacher, mentor, therapist, coach, etc.
“My mission is to transform the minds and hearts of our future generation through the field of education because of the impact I know others like myself can have.”
“One of the ways in doing so is by being part of this great organization and what it stands for (#DontWriteMeOff). Within the next couple of years, I also plan to transform lives across the United States by opening schools that are completely different than mainstream education, that does not focus on the test, but the student development as a whole.”
Ana-Lisa graduated from Callaway High School located in Jackson, MS, in 2008. She received a Bachelors of Science in Pre-Veterinary Medicine from Jackson State University in 2012. She also has a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management from Jackson State University in 2014. She is currently enrolled in a Practical Nursing Program at Hinds Community College.
Her story: “On September 5, 2009, I experienced the scariest moment in my Life. I went to the doctor and was prescribed medications for a bad sinus infection. That night a few moments after I took the medication, I began to feel really hot and couldn’t feel the air from the fan I turned on. So I went to the restroom, and it went downhill from there.”
“I remember yelling for my mother, and next thing I know everything around me is white, her face is a blur with tears, her voice mumbled, and my body was gone as she lifted me off the floor. I woke up with my head in the refrigerator, gaining breath as my insides flush out and the ambulance arrives. I get to the hospital, and the doctor tells me and my family that I was 10% away from dying. Back then I didn’t take it seriously and was just glad to be alive. Now I look back and say but God! There has to be a reason I’m still here.”
“I know that I’m here to live the Life that God planned for me! I believe that I am here to help others be the “Best You” that they can be! I’ve lost a couple of friends along the way by trying to teach them about gratefulness and positivity, but you can only do your part.”
“I’ve had the desire to mentor young children and teens on self-esteem and loving themselves. I believe that self-motivation is a huge part of succeeding. You have to believe in yourself. You have to realize that YOUR LIFE IS LIT. Everyone’s Life has its own time frame. I thank God for every little thing that happens, and when it happens, because I know that it’s for a reason that I may or may not see.”
Rickeal is a native of Webb, MS. She has a Bachelors of Science Degree in Computer Science from Jackson State University. She is a graduate candidate for a Masters of Business Administration from Belhaven University.
Rickeal is a Software Test Engineer in Austin, TX. She has served in the following areas Central of Texas Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Susan Komen Breast Cancer Run – Annually Dell’s Children hospital – Toy Drive, and Church Office Administrative Team – Sweet Home Pinnacle of Praise.
Her mission as a Christian is to use her platform as an African American female Engineer and to let God use her to motivate and inspire the minds of diverse females in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math while serving those who are less fortunate.
Shandell is a native of Vicksburg, MS. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Tougaloo College, and she is a candidate for Master of Arts in Counselor Education with an emphasis in School Counseling from the University of Mississippi.
“I am a committed lifelong learner. I was put on this earth to give back. Being a School Counselor gives me that opportunity, daily. I pour into my students what others poured into me.”
“God allowed my setbacks to be my strength to push forward and be a light of encouragement for others. As an advocate for educating the whole child, I am committed and excited about continuing my passion for education with #DontWriteMeOff.”
Hello, I am Terrol McElroy, a fifth-year public school educator. I have done all of my formal teachings in inner-city schools that serve economically disadvantaged students. I have taught both second and fourth grade and specialized in English Language Arts. In the public school setting, I have served as a grade level chair, hosted professional developments, served on the textbook committee, and served on the school’s literacy team.
In addition to public school education, I have done some work in the private sector as well. I have served as an after-school tutor for Little Ambassadors Developmental Learning Center, as well as a Sunday school teacher at Jackson Revival Center Church. Also, I have served as a prevention specialist for Tougaloo College’s national dropout prevention program.
While teaching has been a profession, I have also served as a mentor in the community. While serving in my fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, I have served as a Sigma Beta Advisor (Ages 8-18), as well as a graduate advisor at Tougaloo College to undergraduate students.
While all of those accolades are special to me, it also a replication of my life’s mission. My mission is to serve, not to be served. My goal in education is to be a teacher that is a servant leader.
Hello, my is Donovan F. Mitchell and I am a native of Durant, MS, and a graduate of Durant High School. After graduating high school, I attended Jackson State University (JSU) receiving my B.A. In Political Science.
While attending JSU, I was also a graduate of Princeton’s Junior Summer Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA). Harboring a burning passion for helping others and my community, I then attended the University of Mississippi School of Law where I received my Juris Doctor degree.
I am currently admitted to the Mississippi Bar Association, Magnolia Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. I work as a Law Clerk II in the Mississippi Twenty-First Circuit Court District serving Holmes, Humphreys, and Yazoo counties.
My life’s mission has always been to help others achieve their dreams and to have a meaningful impact on the lives of others. I was raised in a small town in Mississippi where the opportunities for success were few and far between.
Fortunately, my parents stressed the importance of education to me from an early age. Academically, I’ve always pushed myself to perform to the best of my abilities and to always be prepared for whatever may lie ahead. This work ethic allowed me to achieve my dream of becoming an attorney and I have vowed that I will do everything in my power to reach back to those behind me and guide them to succeed in whatever way I can. I hope to show the youth behind me that anything you dream to achieve is possible through hard work and faith!
Meco R. Shoulders is a native of Jackson, MS. He graduated from Jackson State University with a BBA in Entrepreneurship & Professional Development, December 2015.
He is currently a Legislative Correspondent and Co-Founder of Remington and Ra, LLC. Meco R. Shoulders is a guardian of profound ideas. “The ability to create a reality is definite when accompanied with execution.”
His goal is to create paths for aspiring leaders to follow. Positivity must remain present with all that’s going on around the globe; especially regarding the youth.
Meco’s display of exuberant behavior along with lifestyle hacks sets him apart from most. Impecunious instances have shifted his overall outlook on life. Failure has played its role, but persistence kept its trajectory. The quote he lives by is “See yourself as surrounded by the things you wish to produce.”-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.
The Law of Attraction along with the Three D’s of Success (Discipline, Desire, and Dedication) have guided Meco’s life to an abundance of favorable, limitless opportunities. With experience in start-ups, overseeing mobile application development, creative/prolific idea revitalization, marching percussion, poetic construct, etc…
Meco’s ultimate goal is to unlock the greatness within each individual he encounters, regardless of their background.
Darius D. Pickens
Darius is a native of Memphis, TN. He is an Entrepreneur, Licensed Sales Agent, Musician, and Producer currently residing in Atlanta, GA.
Darius began a sales career at the age of 18 and worked aspects of sales for 10 years. That sales history consists of Warranty and Insurance which afforded him the opportunity to learn a lot about different trades.
During that time frame, he had the opportunity to grow in the world of Corporate America. Something was missing, and he knew that he wanted more. Over time his passion continually grew to pursue a career as a music producer and in the creative arts.
He currently owns a production company and plans to own other businesses in the future. Darius believes that it is important to encourage the youth to go after their passion. “Make whatever you love/like to do in life your career.” He encourages youth to pursue the career of entrepreneurship because the reward is much greater.