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MEET

THE

TEAM

A Way Out's team of dedicated volunteers and staff has made our organization an integral pillar in the community. We are pleased to introduce you to the team.

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Eva Miles, Founder 

eva@awayoutproject.org

Eva Miles is all of the following, a mother, grandmother, businesswoman, mentor, and woman of God. She is an amazing entrepreneur who has served the community through her ministry for over 35 years.  Her dedication and commitment to helping the disadvantaged have motivated Ms. Miles to become super resourceful with the donations and sponsorships that she acquires throughout the years.  Presently the director for A Way Out Project®, which is the hub organization for other programs that help families, teens, and senior citizens.  This is a non-profit philanthropic organization based out of North Texas that creates opportunities in the community by promoting self-help, self –worth and self-determination.


The organization empowers underserved people in need of resources to change.  Her expertise in managing non-profit organizations, her energy and efforts have helped thousands of homeless women re-enter the workplace and go on to live fruitful lives. As the founder of Anna’s House, Eva provides shelter and resources for women and children who have experienced domestic violence and need help to begin again. Eva Miles is also the founder of Texas Teen Summit, a program is designed to recognize students that have achieved outstanding accomplishments academically as well as in their communities. She awards scholarships and mentorship to selected High School graduates looking to further their education. 


As the days go by Eva never forgets those who can’t help themselves. With a collective of like-minded volunteers, she is able to provide essential items such as food, household, and personal hygiene items for the elderly, low-income families, and the homeless. Her organization also partners with other non-profits around the Metroplex to supply Health Screenings, Covid testing, Thanksgiving dinners, and multiple Christmas Toy Drives. Her tireless efforts are not overlooked. 
Eva is known for always giving to others.   Eva is the recipient of numerous awards for her outstanding work and dedication some of which include over 25 years with  Black United Fund of Texas, For more information please visit:  www.awayOutProject.org

 

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Kendrick Robinson, Director of Operations

kendrick@awayoutproject.org

Kendrick Robinson is the Director of Operations for Anna‘s House Domestic Violence Shelter. A board member for Communities of Tomorrow Economic Redevelopment Corporation. Public Relations Officer for Harambe Festival Dallas 2021. Business consultant to various businesses and nonprofit organizations building their brands, creating financial structure, membership/participation retention. Creating valuable social media content to promote businesses and organizations. Kendrick knows the importance of providing a way out for victims and being of service to underprivileged communities.

For over a decade Kendrick has been driven by his passion and pursues careers in education, youth development, personal development, business consulting, public speaking, life coach, and spiritual leadership.

In addition to his primary responsibilities, Kendrick is diligently building his village through his nonprofit Royal Kourt. Providing life skills and resources to build and maintain general wealth in our communities. 

Kendrick also enjoys reading, writing, singing, horseback riding, motorcycle riding, freelance photography, and spending time with family and friends alike.

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Keita Kelly, Administrative Director

keita@awayoutproject.org

Keita Kelly serves as the Administrative Director for Anna’s House/Communities of Tomorrow. 

Her background in non-profit includes serving on the board for Life Impact Fellowship, where she was also the Special Events coordinator.  She has also served as Church Administrator for the ministry and was responsible for bringing the church into 501c(3) compliance.  Keita’s professional career includes 26 years in management for Verizon Communications where her current role is Sr. Manager-Training & Development.  Her desire to help those in need and improve her community led her to move from a sponsor to taking an active role in Communities of Tomorrow.

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Veda Loca

Her first career was as a hairstylist. After seeing that most of her clientele didn’t just book her because of her skills but because of her infectious personality. Those same customers had their own brands, companies, and labels. So the nightlife was everything for Veda.  Regular invites to VIPs and access to celebrities gave her another passion, MEDIA!

“If Troy Aikman can be the Quarterback of America’s Team, then I can be on the Radio!” –Veda Loca

2001 Veda made her official debut on air with 97.9 The Beat, an Urban One Station.  This transition eventually became her calling. Now the troubled teen and single mom had a purpose and a platform.  The radio personality was now able to share her light and energy with the same celebs she had recently been in VIP as a stylist. Life had come 360. Eventually, Veda gained her own Morning show with her own team. She had access to Presidents and other political affiliates, Oscar winners, Grammy winners, and all of the local DFW small business owners. Her morning show had original segments like, “Hustle Hard Thursdays,” “Mental Health Wednesdays with Dr. Jeff” and the always infamous “Veda’s Hot Topics”. Being humble and honest has always been her foundation and how she built her fan base.

Then 19 years later, after being on a “high”, the rug was pulled out from under her. The station decided they were going to “go in another direction.” Like that, she was fired and had to say goodbye to her mentors like Rickey Smiley and Tom Joyner. But God never gave up on his child. She used her past to create her next path.

At-Risk Youth have always had a place in her heart. As a member of The Rolling Crips Gang, Veda was kicked out of multiple schools. Her mother had to move in order to give Veda a new start. And that’s what she is all about, giving others a fresh start. Mentoring at the Boys & Girls Club and speaking at local alternative schools, Veda teaches the teens about making positive choices and how making the wrong choice has crucial consequences. Every Action Has A Reaction!

During a routine visit to a Dallas Homeless Shelter, Veda Loca had an epiphany. She remembered her electric personality and position in the community could bring smiles to those families.   And Veda Loca’s Smiling Faces Foundation was born. Her mission is to “Change the World One Smile At a Time”, Understanding Small Celebrations will Equal Big Changes. But why stop there?

Being an at-risk youth and a young single mom, Veda had her share of obstacles. She has always been open about her struggle with balancing mental, emotional, and physical health. What does a true hustler do, they find the next best product. Veda studied a popular health care brand, found out not only will it help her refocusing on her physical health but eventually give her benefits for her mental state; then as a brand ambassador, it became a source of income.  Because again, Veda never promotes anything she doesn’t believe in. She found a way to control her depression through dieting and her Instagram posts. Veda saw how her journey influenced others to get back on the right track.  She reclaimed her trust and a new fan base.

 

Now in her rebirth and new beginning. Back On Air with the same station that let her go, Veda finally found her new inspiration. Allowing her pain to become her purpose. A new podcast that she has total control over. A different outlet on a new platform. “OUR STORIES” the next conversation amongst survivors. Veda will host this online broadcast that will allow her guest to express their true unfiltered feelings about current and past issues. A new platform for today’s testimonies.

 

Veda Loca has always had electric energy since forever. She knew at such a young age that her surroundings will never define her state of mind.   As a teen in D.C. to a young Mom in Dallas, her understanding of unconditional love has been the bridge to her success.  She wants to thank everyone who has been a part of her growth. Stay Tuned!

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Carol J. Hecht

Carol J. Hecht is a renowned Executive and Consultant in the business and education arenas. Carol has demonstrated her commitment to organizational leadership and innovative administration by performing Business Process Evaluations and Analysis and the design and implementation of electronic document management systems.  Carol is the author of white papers and the presenter at numerous TASA/TASB, TASBO, and TCASE conventions.

Carol’s career began when she was tasked to investigate, research, evaluate and analyze complex legal issues.  She consulted with counsel on existing challenges and prepared Strategic Plans of Action designed to implement solutions.  This extensive expertise in analyzing issues and implementing resolutions led her to enter the educational arena.  Carol then began conducting numerous seminars and workshops to educate administrators on the Business of Education, the use of technology in the storage, location, and management of documentation, and the development of teaching methodologies focusing on leadership.

She has served as the Secretary of the City of DeSoto Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees providing insight into leadership, regulations, policies, and procedures, and growth.  She also serves as a mentor to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and individuals by coaching them to comprehend and resolve the diverse challenges each faces, resulting in significant growth.

Carol brings a unique approach to her consulting clientele through her extensive knowledge of business and education.  The formation of a strong organizational infrastructure is required to enhance leadership skills and implement a culture and mindset of success.  

Her clients include Square Business Security, Stephanie Love, Grateful Fellowship Community Church, Priority Charter Academies; Longview ISD; DeSoto ISD, Gregory Portland ISD, Royse City ISD, A+ Charter Academy; Global Learning Village; Hays Consolidated ISD; and Pine Tree ISD.   For Longview ISD, she prepared and gained Board and TEA approval of four (4) internal district STEAM charters and 1 internal Montessori charter school; and assisted in the completion of documentation for and procurement of two (2) start-up grants each in the amount of $800,000.  

Carol’s professionalism combined with her ability to show empathy make her a powerful component in the achievement and implementation of her clients’ goals.

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Tonya “ElBoogie” Hill

I never arrived to be the popular girl. In fact, I love being incognito. You can move better that way. 

Born Eltonya Laverne in Dallas in the early 80s, to Willie and Ann Minor. Spent my early years in dance classes, at the theater, and volunteering in the community. 

At Skyline high school, I was in drill team, the fashion program, and DECA. 

I took the next step and enrolled at Prairie View A&M. The caterpillar definitely turned into a butterfly.  In college, I learned a whole lot about myself and other personalities. After only three years at the university, I chose to come home and start a new life with my soon-to-be husband. 

I became a Mom and full-time employee still in school taking a class here and there. Until I stumbled across American Broadcasting School and Elboogie was born. 

With this new persona and purpose, I began to network within the underground music scene. 

Later I would partner with a few artists and promoters. Not as successful as I thought but it never broke me. My Mother’s untimely death took a toll on my spirit. I decided to re-enroll in school and I finally received my bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Public Relations From Ashford University. 

I would continue to work a regular job when I met a great spirit that will eventually give me a great challenge.

 

Joseph Holmes had this hunger as a young MMA fighter and he said he wanted to become a  household name. So we collaborated and he took the fighting name UglyManJoe. The brand was developed and we were off. 

 

All the while the Harambee Festival has been a part of my legacy. My Dad called on me to come in and officially join the planning committee. Five years later, the 45th Harambee Festival was a success!  Different organizations with fundraising and event planning. 

 

Finding my voice is still a struggle.

My Mom’s death in 2013 never gets easier. She was my sounding board and would always give me unbiased honesty. 

Keeping motivated during downtimes. Balancing family and business can be difficult but my husband is my rock. 

As a marketing and Public Relations manager for a nonprofit is very satisfying. 

Developing a brand, creating a rapport, and building a relationship with media outlets and the public is so crucial. 

I’m most proud of being able to convey the organization’s /client’s message. 

Past projects: 

  • Texas Artists Premier Showcase 

  • HIGO Media “How I Got Over” Documentary Interview series 

  • RD Hickman Young Photographers Workshop 

  • Author Cheryl Waiters 

  • Current projects: 

  • Harambee Dallas 

  • Communities of Tomorrow & Anna’s House 

  • Citizens Committee to Save Our Children Inc. 

  • Author Brandi Brown 

  • Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business? 

  • I believe in Jesus Christ and his love is better than any luck. 

  • To quote Drake, “God’s Plan”. 

Contact Info: 

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Samuel l. Allen

02/2009 – Present  Police Community Liaison Officer, and Parks & Recreation Director, City of Balch Springs, Texas
   

  • Assist the City Manager in daily operations, budget preparation and management, strategic planning, and accomplishment of short and long-term goals.

  • Serve as the Public Information Officer.

  • Coordinate Crime Prevention Program, Neighborhood Watch Program, and Citizens on Patrol Academy.

  • Serve as Parks and Recreation Director overseeing operations, facilities, and tourism through the management of  7 employees

 

POLICE EXECUTIVE AND COMMAND SUMMARY

  • Chief of Police  - Lancaster District    

  • 2005 – 2008 Patrol Commander - Dallas District

  • 2004 – 2005 Chief of Police - City Texas

  • 2001 – 2003 Chief Deputy - Dallas Office

EDUCATION, CERTIFICATIONS & SPECIALIZED TRAINING

 

  • Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice -- Abilene Christian University, 1973

  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice -- Abilene Christian University, 1975

  • Fire Science Management Studies Certificate -- El Centro College, Dallas, 1989

  • Fire Technology Studies Certificate -- Collin County Community College, Plano, 1989

  • Graduate of the Law Enforcement Management Institute -- Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas 1990

  • Continuing Education in Police/Fire Management -- 5200 hours

  • Graduate of Leadership Command College, 2004

  • Graduate of New Chief Development Program, 2002 

  • Master Peace Officers Certification in Law Enforcement

  • Master Certificate in Fire Suppression

  • Master Certificate in Arson Investigation

  • Certified Law Enforcement Instructor

  • Certified Fire Instructor

  • National Incident Management System Certifications ICS 100, ICS 200,

  • ICS 300, ICS 400, and ICS 700

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

 

  • Officer of the Month, Garland Optimist Club, 1975, 1976, 1978

  • Officer of the Year, Garland Masonic Lodge, 1975 

  • President Of Buffalo Soldiers of North Texas over  25 years

  • Recognized for Exemplary Community Outreach Program by the Governor of the State Texas, 1977

  • Top Arson Investigator, Texas Fire Marshal Association, 1982

  • Crystal Award received for co-producing and co-starring in the anti-drug dramatic film Stoned Cold, 1986

  • City of Balch Springs Employee of the Year, 2011 and 2014

  • Recipient Jefferson Davis Gold Medallion Certificate  UDC

  • Recipient of Bronze Cross Award by the Texas Division SCV

  • Recognize by Texas Order Of St. George for contribution to Confederate History and Heritage.

  • Other awards 
     

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Shefik Macauley

Celebrating over 20 years in the entertainment and technology industries, Shefik is an accomplished industry insider, who has appeared on MTV, SiriusXM, PBS, BET, network television, and in print media, as well as internationally on TRT World (Turkey). He has held senior-level positions at many Fortune 500 companies and celebrated brands, including IBM, NBCUniversal, MTV World, Merck, Merriam-Webster, and Wolters Kluwer. A seasoned pro in social media with a career background as a Lead Architect and Senior Web Developer, Shefik is on the cutting edge of new media, as he currently serves as a Technical Lead at NBC Sports, as well as an Official Member of the Forbes Technology Council. As a videographer and producer, his work has been featured in television broadcasts and video productions for TIME magazine (where he also served as Technical Producer), The Washington Center, "Unsung" (TV One), Broadway World, and a major television station in New York City. Additionally, his photography has been featured in print and online publications, such as Daily Mail (United Kingdom), Harvard Kennedy School Magazine, Playbill, and China Press, as well as over 100 other websites in China. He is currently the Executive Producer and Host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Shefik presents Invocation" (https://invocation.co), which is broadcast on 23 terrestrial radio stations and frequencies throughout the United States, as well as the internationally syndicated video show of the same name. The radio show currently has a total of over half a million dedicated listeners per month.


Over the years, Shefik has been very active in the community. He served as a judge for a local Miss America competition, aiding in the 2018 crowning of Miss Northern Highlands, Miss Northern Lakes, and Miss North Jersey. The winners moved to compete for the state title of Miss New Jersey 2018. Shefik also served as moderator at a panel discussion on "Equity & Diversity: Community Dialogue", held in Washington, D.C., and he was named Master of Ceremonies for various charitable events to benefit Autism New Jersey, and Eastern Shore Self-Advocacy Project (Chestertown, Maryland), as well as industry-leading events Maarkah New York Fashion Week SS18 (Manhattan, New York), and Lehigh Valley Fashion Week (Pennsylvania).


Additionally, Shefik appeared as a guest speaker at various uplifting events, such as a holiday fundraiser for YWCA Yonkers (Yonkers, New York), the 2018 Conference for National African American Drug Policy Coalition (Dallas, Texas), the 7th Annual Broadway Sings for Pride (Manhattan, New York), and Global Tech Meets Fashion Affair Fundraiser (Brooklyn, New York).


"Shefik presents Invocation" is multiple award-winning shows (currently over 40 awards). It is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking journey through musical discovery and appreciation that spans decades. Each episode, executive-produced and hosted by media personality Shefik, highlights one relatable focal point, along with an accompanying playlist of songs, encompassing a unique thematic concept that invigorates the audience with creative impact. Top recording artists, actors, business executives, politicians, community leaders, and other special guests are invited to offer their own commentary on the topic, as a supplement to Shefik's engaging mindset. The journey continues right here and everywhere.

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Tara McClinton 

tara@awayoutproject.org