Rainbow Village recently announced the addition of Cheryl Deluca-Johnson, LPC, to its team as Special Projects Coordinator. Her resume includes turns as CEO of Street Grace, Women’s Program Supervisor at MARR Addiction Treatment Center, and Consultant with World Hope International. She has also served on the board of the Community Foundation for Northeast GA and the strategic planning committee for Annandale Village. Bringing Deluca-Johnson to the team committed to ending homelessness – one family at a time – is the latest strategic move to expand the nonprofit’s scope beyond its 2.5-acre campus in Duluth with an outreach model geared toward homelessness prevention. An estimated 10,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Gwinnett County alone.
In 2022, the nonprofit dedicated to bringing Help, Hope, Housing, and Healing to families experiencing homelessness announced the addition of Randy Redner to its leadership team as Chief Strategy & Philanthropy Officer. Before joining the Rainbow Village team, Redner earned his stripes in the nonprofit space as President & CEO for the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia (CFNEG). In a momentous turn of events, it was Redner who first introduced Deluca-Johnson to Rainbow Village and its CEO, Melanie Conner. After learning about her wealth of experience in the nonprofit sector, Conner told Deluca-Johnson she could make an impactful addition to the team.
“Having Cheryl on our team is a godsend,” said Conner. “I knew from the moment that I met her that I had to have her here. Randy introduced us and didn’t get another word in during our conversation. God took over from there. She has already made an impact on the organization, and she will be a tremendous help to me and the entire staff as we plan our Next Big Thing.”
“I want to begin telling the story differently in the public arena, so homelessness is less of a stigma,” said Deluca-Johnson. “Many parents who come to Rainbow Village have full-time jobs but, due to unforeseen circumstances, find themselves unable to support their families completely and need help. I love that Rainbow Village is not merely addressing homelessness as housing. Simply giving them a place to live may not break the cycle. Instead, they address the circumstances that led them here holistically, including income, education, family, health… all of it. They focus on teaching the families they serve how NOT to get into that situation again. When they leave Rainbow Village, they will have the tools they need to avoid being homeless in the future.”
In her new role as Special Projects Coordinator, Deluca-Johnson will compile data and work toward enhancing existing programs like Rainbow Village’s mentoring program and involving the alums as much as possible. She is perhaps most excited about the nonprofit’s homelessness prevention capabilities, believing it’s far easier to bolster at-risk families before they become homeless than it is to help them after the fact. Once that program is off the ground and as successful as they hope it will be, Deluca-Johnson also wants to help get the Rainbow Village story out there so other organizations can adopt their model, believing that’s the key to actually ending homelessness.
“Rainbow Village’s approach can sustain families and break the cycle of homelessness,” added Deluca-Johnson. “One of the best ways we can share this organization’s story is to discover practical ways for ordinary people to experience it firsthand by getting involved and making a difference.”
A longtime fan of former President Jimmy Carter and his model of service, she considers one of his most emblematic quotes her personal mantra: “My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I can, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.” She encourages others to do the same.
To learn more about Rainbow Village and its programs, make a donation, or register as a volunteer, visit www.RainbowVillage.org.