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The R.E.A.C.H Program Founder

Latonia Hicks Oakley

Fully cognizant of what she wanted for her life, she expanded her education past her 1998 cosmetology license from Vance-Granville Community College and enrolled at North Carolina Central University. In 2004, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and later, her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology in 2016. As a survivor of domestic abuse and one who has experienced the struggles deep insecurities can bring, she utilized her knowledge of psychology and love of children to create her organization, Un-Rappin’ the G.I.F.T. (UTG) in 2012 to combat the similar insecurities she saw in the youth around her. A teen-based non-profit 501c3 organization, UTG strives to empower teens ages 13 to 18 by assisting them in the growth of their self-esteem and skills relating to relationships, employment, self-evaluation, education, etc. In 2014, the brother organization, He-Matters (HM) was founded to help young men of the same age range with self-identity, counseling, etc. Her newest program, R.E.A.C.H launched in 2020. The R.E.A.C.H program is an out of school time program that includes both an afterschool and summer learning component. The program is designed to help students form meaningful Relationships with peers and adults, become Empowered to excel both academically and socially, and achieve Academic success, develop positive Character traits which helps to cultivate a caring family structure, and establish Hope for a brighter future.

Through these programs, Mrs. Oakley broadened the experiences and mindsets of every child that enrolled, embarking on fun, but educational trips to New York, Atlanta, Nassau Bahamas, Los Angeles CA and Washington DC as well as participating in college tours, community service projects such as food and coat drives, care package drives, voter polls assistants, and assisting the disabled and elderly. In addition, Mrs. Oakley encouraged her kids to discover their God-given gifts whether it be through music, writing, performance, etc. and from this goal the organizations published two books, two CDs, starred in an organized play and concerts, and operated their own t-shirt and event décor services. Through UTG and He-Matters, Mrs. Oakley has gained an even greater gift than the pleasure of providing kids with the support she offers them. For almost a decade, Mrs. Oakley has known that she is not able to have children; however, she has helped to raise the children of her husband Dennis Oakley and their grandchildren. She has acted as the mother of every child that has come through her program and continues to remain in contact with those who have graduated from the program today. As of date the program has served over 168 youth and of those 31% attended a university - 20% Community College – 9% completed College – 3% Graduate School – 2% Military – 3% GED – 3% Trade School - 15% Workforce

Despite her heavy schedule, Mrs. Oakley has managed to do an incredible job, earning a plethora of awards and the respect of her community. Among her greatest acknowledgements is her recognition as the 2018 Hometown Hero Award from Coastal Federal Credit Union for outstanding community service, Professional Woman of the Year by the Women’s Economic Equity Council in 2014, the Lamplight’s nomination sponsored by the 103.9 The Light Gospel Radio Station, Impact Church’s Hidden Figure Award and the Delta Sigma Theta’s Community Service Award given to her by her sorority in 2014. When she is not operating her programs, UTG and HM, or acting as the Student Support Specialist with Communities in Schools of North Carolina, she is the associate minister of Mount Zion United Holy Church in Oxford, NC,  and also working tirelessly to help men and women through abuse, both sexual and domestic abuse.

About the Founder: Welcome
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