Melinda Williams is the Executive Director of the Self Determination Initiative. SDI is a reentry leadership training program designed to prepare incarcerated men and women to successfully transition back into society as determined individuals to overcome their past and become self sufficient. SDI provides training to develop both their personal and professional skills to equip each individual for the workforce marketplace. SDI has provided services to over 1,120 inmate participants in California State Prisons. Melinda serves as the Regional Director over the Alpha Prison Reentry Ministries for Southern California. Providing reentry prison ministry training to volunteer facilitators. She also provides seminar training's to bring awareness and educate the church about the true challenges of ex-offenders; the importance for effective prison ministry; and the importance of community organizing. Melinda is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Responder who works with at-risk youth through inner city schools to address the issues of substance abuse, violence, truancy and, incarceration. She provides training workshops for school administration, parents, and their children. She is a transformational coach and motivational speaker in Los Angeles and San Bernardino school districts to empower students to continue their education and the importance of staying out of the criminal justice system. She has 15 years of experience working with at-risk youth. She once served as the Director of the Collegiate Junior Golf Program that provided youth leadership life skills taught through the game of golf. Her passion to work with at-risk youth and those incarcerated stems from her past incarceration. Upon release she faced many reentry challenges. Overcoming every sting of adversity, she prepared to enter the corrections institution with a message of hope for a second chance. And with hope creating precise plans to make that second chance a great come back to transform from failure to success. Melinda also serves as a board member for the Pomona Valley Reentry Coalition (PVRC) an organization of different agencies that share a commitment to successful reentry and reintegration of men and women into society after release from incarceration. Melinda also serves on the board of SLA Now (South LA National Organization for Women). A chapter of professional women dedicated to leveraging the power and history of South Los Angeles to create a more inclusive and rich environment for women and girls. To advocate for issues that affect women, their families and the communities they live in. Melinda is a graduate of the Joseph School of Business (founded by Pastor Bill Winston). JBS is a world class, state of the art business school that uses practical and biblical principles to empower and develop indispensable skills as entrepreneurs and business leaders thus equipping them to eradicate poverty in their lives and communities which will glorify God. She is also an alumnus of the USC Passing the Mantle Clergy and Lay Leadership Institute (founded by Rev. Eugene Williams). She received training for civic engagement and community development with insight for better mission conceptualization, civic engagement models, strategic planning, and partnership building with the public and private sector.
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