Our Team

Angela Patton

Angela Patton
Chief Executive Officer

As the leader of Girls For A Change, Angela has been recognized in the local Richmond, VA press as Top 40 Under 40 (2010), by a coalition of girl serving groups in 2015 identifying Girls For A Change as one of five programs to note, establish a long-term partnership with the NoVo Foundation, by President Obama as a White House Champion of Change (2016), received the Nonprofit Partner of the Year (2018) from the Metropolitan Business League, and Richmond Times-Dispatch 2019 Person of the Year Honoree. Angela is an Ambassador for who she calls “at-promise” (as opposed to “at-risk”) girls and a serial innovator. Angela is committed to “Preparing Black girls for the World …and the World for Black Girls."

In 2004, Angela founded Camp Diva to honor Diva Mstadi Smith-Roan, a five-year-old who died in a firearm accident earlier that year. That summer, Angela planned a two- week summer experience that gave Diva’s mother an opportunity to share her motherly love with girls in need of a support system. In 2013, the program expanded nationally when Camp Diva merged with California-based Girls For A Change (GFAC), a nonprofit through which 100 girls’ groups throughout nation work together to envision and execute lasting change in their neighborhoods, cities, or schools.

In 2016, Patton lead her national Board of Directors and staff retool the focus and build a program structure and provide space for girls to more accurately reflect GFAC’s goal to work with Black girls and to disseminate our programs using a specific, replicable approach.

Angela’s TEDWomen talk describing a father-daughter dance for incarcerated dads and their “at-promise” girls has been viewed over 980,000 times to date. Following its release, Angela’s work was featured on ABC's World News, Inside Edition, NPR's TED Radio Hour, and CNN's This Is Life with Lisa Ling. She has been in demand from corporations, at conferences on girls, as well as colleges and universities throughout the country.

Angela is a contributing author to the book Finding Her Voice: How black girls in white spaces can speak up & live their truth , co-authored by Faye Z. Belgrave, PhD and Ivy Belgrave. The book is available on Amazon, and you can read more about the book here.

When she isn’t inspiring change, advocating gender equality, and promoting opportunities and empowering girls, she is hanging with her family in Richmond, VA, enjoying festivals and concerts with her husband and motivator, Raymond Patton and their loving children, Imhotep and Asani. Her interests include, spending a day at the spa, visiting the Caribbean islands, cardio kickboxing, watching documentaries, and attending dinner parties with close friends.

 

My Reason to Build
Black women are often portrayed as too much. We do too much, we are too much, and we take up too much space. Because of these societal beliefs, when Black girls and women decide to speak up for themselves, it’s construed as loud, sassy, and negative. This feeling of always having to be aware of one’s own behavior to make others comfortable can create feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, and unhealthy choices.

Navigating the world with a mindset that you cannot take up space robs you of the ability to be yourself, love yourself, or do for yourself. As a leader, organizer, and activator for Black girls, I want to offer a space for girls to be bold, to be loud, and most importantly to be seen. Girls For A Change encourages girls to be honest and respected, and love themselves and others.

It's about time we had a sacred and brave space where we can gather and be free from the mainstream stereotypes and marginalization that permeate every other societal space we occupy. Within our four walls, we work on and address cultural issues that others would not understand or feel comfortable discussing. We have to have the space to work through issues like colorism, racism, sexism - all the isms - because a lot of times Black girls don’t get that chance. Not in their schools, communities, and for some not even at home. It is important to find communities for Black women and girls while we are on our personal development journey because the ultimate purpose of personal growth is to ripple through the collective and raise consciousness.

quote

At Girls For A Change, we are preparing Black girls for the world, and the world for Black girls.

– Angela Patton, Chief Executive Officer

Girls For A Change Staff Members

Na'Kera Richardson, Director of Operations

Na'Kera Richardson
Director of Operations

My Reason to Build
“Every girl deserves a space that is beautiful, safe, and feels like home”

Chelsea Vicente, Program Director

Chelsea Vicente
Program Director

My Reason to Build
“Before I knew who I wished to be, there was a village of women who helped nourish my mind and spirit.”

Coach Nickey McMullen

Coach Nickey McMullen 
Girl Action Team National Trainer

My Reason to Build
“sing the song of her possibilities
sing a righteous gospel
let her be born
& handled warmly."

Support Staff

Field Instructor and Grant Writer Freida Ann Mcneil

Freida Ann Mcneil
Field Instructor and Grant Writer

My Reason to Build
"When a Black Girl is loved, watered and nourished, the world benefits greatly."

Ashley Ray, Communications Director

Ashley Ray
Communications Director

My Reason to Build
"Because we understand it is imperative to teach Black Girls that they have the right to take up space, be heard, and respected in all spaces."

Rachel Stanton Peer Ambassador 

Rachel Stanton
Peer Ambassador 

My Reason to Build
"Plato says that courage is recognizing the need to better yourself. At Girls For A Change we have been faced with a challenge to better ourselves through ownership of a space where courage is promoted and uplifted. One of my one million reasons to build is to continue to have the courage to grow and expand our fight for young Black girls."

Iyana-Hardin-GirlsForAChange-2021

Iyanna Hardin
Brand Ambassador

My Reason to Build
"We want to continue to give girls a space to explore, flourish, and live up to their fullest self!"

Devon White Technical Support

Devon White
Technical Support

My Reason to Build
"Because we believe in building an environment for girls to express excellence, companionship and achieve self-growth."

Jolinda Smithson, Web Designer

Jolinda Smithson
Website Designer

My Reason to Build
"Black girls are amazing and deserve the opportunity to own their own space where they can learn, grow, thrive and build identity-affirming community."

If you are interested in working with Girls For A Change,
visit our Careers Opportunities page to check for open positions.