As my regular readers know, I always try to keep you informed about things going on to empower the community. Recently someone brought to my attention a newer non-profit organization which operates out of Maryland and its focus services are geared towards the Fatherhood Initiative which is in place in many states. If you are unfamiliar with the Fatherhood Initiative although the specifics vary from state to state and program to program, the basis of the initiative is to support the role of the father in the lives of children, because the role of the father is irreplaceable to a child’s emotional and spiritual development. I was able to speak with Nakia Johnson (Founder/ Executive Director) of Leo’s Love and hopefully after learning more about this organization, you will consider supporting its efforts and help bring awareness to agencies like this one in your community.
QTP: What is Leo’s Love? What kind of organization is it & what do they do?
NJ: Leo’s Love is a nonprofit, 501(c) 3 seeking organization based in Bowie, Maryland. The organization has been around for almost two years. We service individuals that suffer from fatherlessness through mentoring, counseling and community service projects.
QTP: How and when did Leo’s Love get started?
NJ: Leo’s Love was started in June of 2014. Leo’s Love was started because the founder and Executive Director is a direct product of a fatherless home and has experienced firsthand the debilitating emotional, mental and forged spiritual effects of being fatherless.
QTP: How does someone get services or help from Leo’s love? (Do they have to be referred by a State agency? What are the qualifying requirements? Are there income guidelines?)
NJ: All individuals are welcome to participate starting at age 7. Seven has a very personal meaning to me. That’s the number of instances of my father that I have, it was the first time I spoke to him on the phone, it was also the age I was when I felt my first emotion — rejection. We have not yet connected to state agencies, but that is a goal of ours by 2018. Our individual participants and families mainly come from area schools and by referrals. There has to be a need and a want to overcome the challenges that can set us back based on our past. There aren’t any income guidelines as this social issue can affect anyone regardless of your race, religion, or socioeconomically status.
QTP: What can we do to support Leo’s Love? Where would someone send a monetary donation? What kinds of things can people donate? Are you looking for volunteers? What are the volunteer requirements?
NJ: Leo’s Love is still very young and new, so it needs support as much as a newly established nonprofit would. Getting information out about what we do and who we are is a great start for support. In addition to supporting us by spreading the word of what we do, of course, monetary support is always appreciated and welcomed. Monetary donations can be made via bit.ly/supportleoslove.
Leo’s Love, in the future, has plans to build three very specific initiatives that will definitely assist us with assisting the community, Leo’s Closet, Leo’s Library and Leo’s Pantry.
Leo’s Closet will be a place where gently used clothing items (including school uniforms) and shoes can be donated and made available to families in need.
Leo’s Library will be used for an in-house library that our participants will be able to use as an effort to increase literacy amongst themselves, their families and within their communities.
Leo’s Pantry will serve as an initiative to provide food to individuals and families that need help during and outside the holidays. As the leader of an organization, I understand the importance of volunteers and their commitment to service to the organization and the community. We are always looking for individuals to assist us with our outreach efforts. Leo’s Love has a volunteer packet that goes into great detail about what we expect from our volunteers, what they should expect from us and the requirements for becoming a volunteer.
QTP: Where can someone contact for more information?
NJ: Leo’s Love has adapted to the ever-growing world of social media and can be followed on the following outlets:
For volunteer opportunities: please contact us at email@example.com
to complete the volunteer application visit: bit.ly/leoslovevolunteer