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LaToya Reed, MHS – Director, SC Youth ChalleNGe Academy

LaToya Reed currently serves as the Director of the South Carolina National Guard Youth Challenge Academy under the Adjutant General’s Office. The first female and first Black American Director that has led the program in the last 5 years since its inception of 1998. She previously served as the State Coordinator for the Independent Living Program at the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS). She is also a former employee of the Department of Juvenile Justice, which she served almost 10 years in several different capacities; Assistant Chaplain, Youth Specialist, Spiritual Development Volunteer Coordinator, and Director of Volunteer Services. She completed her undergrad studies at Columbia International University (CIU) in Youth Ministry & Bible and truly enjoyed her experience as an undergrad student. She obtained her master’s degree from Liberty University in Human Services – Marriage & Family.

LaToya enjoys working with youth and has over 25 years of experience. She has developed, assisted, and worked with youth in various settings, such as, mentoring programs, at-risk youth in communities, juvenile justice system, foster care system, churches, dance ministries, and after-school programs. She has approximately 20 years of public speaking experience, and has performed trainings on many topics such as “breaking bad habits, self-esteem, and why faith matters.”

She currently serves on the Advisory Committee for the Town of Lexington, a board member on Katrina’s Kids (a non-profit organization that serves youth in foster care), and a board member at Emmaus Church.

Her mission is to inspire and motivate others to become better than their circumstances, recognize their greatness, and make the impossible possible. LaToya believes there are two decisions in life: Allow your strengths to become your weaknesses; or your weaknesses to become your strengths.

Emotional Intelligence – Assisting Youth to Understand and Manage their Emotions

In working with youth for approximately 25 years, when it comes to their emotions, I find that many have little understanding and are limited on managing their emotions. Have they ever been taught?  As adults, have we ever been taught about understanding and managing our emotions?  The answer to that is probably “NO”.  What if every youth were taught Emotional Intelligence?  Emotional Intelligence can change anyone’s life and the earlier we can gain emotional intelligence the better our quality and success of life.



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