We had the good fortune of connecting with Latanya Sherman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Latanya, how does your business help the community?
Project Educate helps the community by not only serving those who are underserved and often not seen or heard, but also by bringing together a community of people who have a passion for service and are motivated by values of compassion, fairness, integrity, and respect. Project Educate has 5 flagship programs (TAG – Toiletries And Grooming, HOPE – Homeless Opportunities to Pursue Education, BLOOM – Bringing Love Optimism and Opportunities to Moms, FED – Food Education and Diet, and SWAP – Social Wellness Action Plan) which all seek to uplift our unhoused community and advance them in areas of health education and social wellness. Our ultimate goal is to emphasize the “unity” in community, as we recognize that the ladder cannot exist in absence of the former.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The incredible board of directors has really gotten Project Educate where it is today. They’re a highly motivated group of people with diverse talents who are constantly bringing forth innovative ideals to serve the community and advance our mission. Everyone shows up and shows out, and without them the entire infrastructure of the organization would cease to exist. It definitely hasn’t been easy, and funding has been our biggest challenge. Funding, rather it be cash, gift cards, grants, donated items, sponsorship’s, or fundraising activities are always a challenge for a new non-profit because individuals and companies alike want to donate their time or money to organizations that have a proven track record with results and that in itself takes time. That coupled with the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 and the ultimate shutdown and stay at home mandates made it extremely difficult to secure volunteers for projects and service initiatives. Throughout all of this, I’ve learned to be patient, flexible, and diligent in working towards our goal of eradicating homelessness and advocating on the unhoused community’s behalf. All of these challenges have further built the resilience of Project Educate and strengthened our relationship with the community we serve.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Eat/Drink – Flavor Table in Inglewood, Fixin’s in Downtown, Ten Ten Wine Bar in Inglewood, Court Cafe in Ladera Heights, Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach, and Taco Pete in South Central
Visit/Hang Out – Farmer’s Market, Black Flea Market, Venice Beach, California African American Museum, and the Walk of Fame
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My son Orlance Shirley! He inspired the ideal of the non-profit through selfless acts of his own and created the name for Project Educate. The Educate stands for “Empowering Disadvantaged Underserved Communities All Through Education”, and this served as the foundation for how we went about naming our 5 flagship programs. He volunteers often, does photography for the events, produces content, and also works with the Board and Advisors as he continues to pour ideas into our projects and programs. Also, my Board of Directors (Evynn Davis, LaTonya Reliford, Miracle Wilber, Trenece Crawford, Kim Jackson-Matthews, and Sherrie Thomas) who support the infrastructure and protect the vision of Project Educate and contribute immensely to the organization. There would be no Project Educate without all of them!