Meet The Team

It Takes a Village

Without the dedicated support of our team, we wouldn’t be able to transform the lives of our residents, alumni and children here at Rainbow Village. Our team comes from all backgrounds, each bringing a unique passion for the work we’re doing. Learn more below about each member of this team and how they move the needle for our residents. 

Administration

Rev. Melanie Conner

Chief Executive Officer

Coming to Rainbow Village in 2017 truly was a “God thing.” Melanie has always had a passion for doing work that empowers women. As CEO, Melanie wants to ensure that families experiencing homelessness have the confidence to take the first step on their journey to self-sufficiency. But that’s not all she wants. Melanie wants all families to have access to affordable childcare, health care, and economic independence to break free from poverty and pursue their dreams. Her focus is on helping the families and the organization evolve and be purpose-driven. Drawing on her extensive experience obtained through her work with corporations, government, and nonprofits, Melanie brings a broad perspective to the table and works to impact lives by providing a safe place to live, a caring, supportive, and qualified staff, and the resources and training that they need to improve their quality of life.

Melanie values spending time wither family and is keenly aware it is a privilege she should never take for granted. She has been married to the love of her life for 30 years. She is the mother to two tall, dark and handsome adult sons and her fur baby, Jack Jack.

Melanie has previously served as the Social Services Program Manager at the Governer’s Office of Transition, Support & Reentry as well as as the Executive Director of the Zion Hill Community Development Corporation.

Rachel Berhannan

Chief Financial Officer & Human Resources

Rachel Berhannan has three decade long connection with Rainbow Village. She was an active member of the Christ Church where Rainbow Village was founded, and the first CEO, Nancy Yancey was her Sunday School teacher. Rachel first served as a member of the Finance Committee before transitioning into the role of CFO in 2016. Though she is the woman behind the curtain, Rachel’s maintenance of the internal financial structure is vital so Rainbow Village can continue to support residents and alumni. 

Outside of her time at Rainbow Village, Rachel spends time with her children and three marvelous grandchildren. If she’s not spending time with family, she’s likely traveling to the next place on her bucket list. 

Rachel received her Bachelor of Business Administration-Accounting from Georgia State in 1983. In 1994, she received her Certified Public Accountant Designation. 

Justice French

Development Director

Justice French has been building relationships between the community and Rainbow Village since 2018. He focuses on building relationships that support the mission and vision of Rainbow Village. Without those connections, we truly couldn’t serve the families we serve. Justice’s inspiration comes from changing the trajectory of children’s lives by providing them a stable environment while they are at Rainbow Village. 

Rainbow Village has been a part of Justice’s life for over 15 years, with his mother serving as a volunteer in partnership with 12Stone Church. He currently lives in Flowery Branch with his wife, Tiffany, and cool cats, Tobie and Little. 

Justice graduated from Mercer University with degrees in Psychology and Communications. He’s previously worked in Marketing and Development at In Touch Ministries and was the Director of Advancement at Hebron Christian Academy.

Program Team

Cheryl Carter

Program Team Lead

Cheryl Carter’s passion for sustainable solutions to the issues of homeless families led her to Rainbow Village in 2019. With over 35 years of planning, development and program evaluation, she works to ensure that Rainbow Village is meeting clients’ needs. 

Cheryl is married with 4 amazing daughters and spends her free time traveling with her husband and enjoying being a soccer mom. She is a Veteran of the US Army. 

Cheryl began her journey of working with families experiencing homelessness in 2016 as an Intern with Family Promise, and progressing through the roles of Case Manager and finally to Program Director. She is a graduate of University of Phoenix, earning a Management degree in Human Services.

Raven Gonsalves

ASPIRE Success Coach

After completing an internship with Family Promise and graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree, Raven knew she wanted to do more in the Human Service field helping people, and learned of an opening at Rainbow Village. As a Success Coach, she works diligently to provide resources to the residents and give them the necessary tools they will need to transform families from homelessness to a self-sufficient life earning living wage.

Outside of supporting residents at Rainbow Village, Raven loves to dance and her favorite restaurant is Carraba’s.

Raven has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services with a concentration in Family & Children. Prior to coming to Rainbow Village, Raven worked in several Georgia school districts for over 20 yars.

Open Position

ASPIRE Success Coach

JOB SUMMARY:

Working closely with the Community Integration Coordinator, the Success Coach is responsible for providing case coaching services to ASPIRE Program participants. The Success Coach will ensure participants receive ethical, timely, and consistent services to balance support and accountability, employing strategies that support growth and life skills development. The end goal for the Success Coach is to ensure participants move closer to economic self-sufficiency.

Open Position

Community Integration Coordinator

JOB SUMMARY: 

Working closely with the Success Coaches, the CIC is responsible for administering case coaching services to THRIVE Program participants and providing housing acquisition services for ASPIRE program participants. The CIC will ensure participants receive ethical, timely, and consistent services, providing a balance between support and accountability; employing strategies that promote housing sustainability. The end goal for the CIC is to ensure clients, once re-housed, have the resources necessary to remain housed. The level of case coaching may vary. 

Community Engagement

Michelle Alcorn

Community Engagement Director

Michelle first began her journey with Rainbow Village as the Liason between Rainbow Village and Perimeter Church. In this role, Michelle organized service projects, co-chaired fundraising event committees, organized faith partner serving efforts. She was recognized as Volunteer of the Year in 2010. 

Since joining the Rainbow Village Team in 2016, Michelle has continued to focused on engaging the community to provide the support and resources needed to fund the Rainbow Village programming that gives these families stability, safety, and second chances. As a member of the team, Michelle gets to see first hand how that programming can equip, teach and coach residents to give them a hand up!

Michelle previously worked for 11 years with Charter Behavioral Health Services in Marketing and Business Development. She spent 5 years consulting in the behavioral health field before entering her second career as a full time Mom in 1997! 

Brittany Lowe

Community Engagement Coordinator

Brittany joined the Rainbow Village team in January 2021 in part because their mission resonates with her. Growing up her story has been similar to some of the families at Rainbow Village and she is proud to be a part of the change and growth for the families in our community.

Brittany focuses on increasing awareness of the Rainbow Village message and activating volunteers from the community to become more involved not only by donating financially, but by donating their time to the Rainbow Village families. Outside of her time at Rainbow Village, Brittany loves to travel and spend time with family– especially her son!

Brittany completed her Hospitality Management Degree from Gwinnett Technical College. Before joining Rainbow Village, Brittany lent her talents at The River Club, Suwanee Towne Florist and Chateau Elan Winery & Resort specializing in Weddings and Private Events.

Support Services

Holly Moore

CRM Data Manager

Holly, a member of Christ Church, first came to Rainbow Village as a volunteer grant writer in 1995. She served as an employee from 2000 to 2004 and happily returned to Rainbow Village in 2013. Upon her return, she was astounded by the growth in the facilities, the expansion of the program and most importantly, the transformations occurring in the lives of the Rainbow Village residents both adults and children alike. She confesses that she continues to be astounded each day. It is above all a blessing to be both a witness and a recipient of the transformation that occurs within this village.

Holly is a University of Florida graduate with a degree in Journalism and Communications. She has worked as a technical librarian/writer for the helicopter aviation industry and for the Gwinnett County Public Schools. She and her husband have two adult children and enjoy traveling and gardening. 

Sondra Blue

Facilities Manager

Sondra Blue first came to Rainbow Village as a resident in 2002. Following her time on campus she stayed involved through volunteering, then part-time employment, and finally joining the team full-time. Sondra has been a full-time staff member for over 14 years.

As the Facilities Manager, Sondra makes sure that each apartment is not just “ready” for move in but up to the standards of most upper crest apartments on the market. She strives to make Rainbow Village a stable community that’s more than a place for families to move into to get out of homelessness but also a place they can be proud to call home while getting themselves together. 

Sondra spent 11 years in the military before getting her Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate. 

Rainbow Village ACADEMY Team

Iman Abdur-Rahman

Family Engagement Coordinator

Inspired by a passion for working on sustainable ways to grant equal access to housing, education, and healthcare for all people, Iman Abdur-Rahman joined Rainbow Village in 2020. In her current position, she has been able to work towards creating family and youth programs that are filling the academic and social gap that many homeless students face. Iman has worked as a liaison and advocate for residents navigating the Gwinnett County Public School System. 

When she is not working with students and parents at Rainbow Village, she enjoys hiking, exploring other cultures, and spending time with her large extended family.

Iman received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Georgia State University. She has previously served with Americorps, the International Rescue Committee, and Peace Corp Zambia.

Alexis Haynes

ACADEMY Staff

After graduating, Alexis Haynes knew she wanted to focus on her passions for working with children and families. She was inspired by Rainbow Village’s approach to community, with both the staff and the residents working collaboratively to help students overcome barriers and challenges they may face.

As an Instructional Coach, her goal is to build our students up from the inside out. Alexis believes that speaking life into our children can change their perceptions of themselves, life circumstances and future endeavors.

Alexis obtained her Master of Social Work from Savannah State University. During her time in school, she served as a group leader at the YMCA supporting youth and adolescent children, as well as interned at Kindred Hospice where she focused on bereavement with children and families.

Darrius Arnold

ACADEMY Staff

Darrius Arnold was first drawn to Rainbow Village because he loved the mission statement. He saw the opportunity to be a part of something that could positively impact the community and jumped into action. He also  liked that Rainbow Village is faith-based.

As an Academic Accountability Coach, Darrius builds connections with parents and their children to develop the most positive environment for the children. With ACADEMY students, he works to implement plans that focus on team building, confidence, character building and lifelong skills so that students will grow to be successful outside of the program. 

Darrius has a degree in Healthcare Management. Most of his educational background was spent working with Children at multiple childcare centers. He has interned at an adult day center assisting with mentally disabled adults, Interned with disabled center for children, and shadowed case workers. Darrius has also worked as a paraprofessional certified Pre-K teacher.

Jeffelyn Baltazar-Martinez

ACADEMY Staff

Jeffelyn Baltazar-Martinez was first drawn to Rainbow Village in 2020 due to Rainbow Village’s focus on helping the whole family. She was inspired by the way Rainbow Villages embraces the need for so much community support as families are continuing their journey to self sufficiency.

In her current role, she is encouraging students to reach beyond the stars, to always do everything in excellence and to be self-sufficient. She is ensuring that they know, it’s not about how many times you fall, it’s about how you get up and what you do next. 

Jeffelyn has an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. She was previously employed in the healthcare field. 

Sandra Hua

ACADEMY Staff

With over 25 years of education experience, Sandra Hua has a passion for working with children. Sandra joined the team in 2020 to assist digital learning students.

Sandra is making lasting impressions on ACADEMY students and works to make sure that they feel loved and valued no matter their circumstances, that they know they have the power to reach their God given gifts, and that hard work pays off. 

When she is not working with Rainbow Village students, Sandra is an avid gardener and hiker. 

Sandra has a M.S. Education, with School Counselor emphasis, from California State University, East Bay. She has worked with children from Kindergarten to high school ages, using play therapy to help younger students express their feelings to graduation and career planning. 

2021 Board Members

The Reverend Joel P. Hudson, Chairman Emeritus

Jacqueline Neilson, (Chair) Executive and Leadership Coach, Owner, Jackie Neilson Coaching

Kelly Kelkenberg, (Vice Chair) Duluth City Council Member

Carrie Chaney, (Secretary) Rainbow Village Graduate

Marshall Burke Barton, Vice President, Animal Health Business Law 
Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corporation

Paul Culbreth, Certified Financial Planner, Your Wealth Partners

Jill Edwards, Senior Vice President, United Community Bank

Wayne Ellison, Ellison Insurance Agency

Indran Indrakrishnan, MD, CEO & Founder Gwinnett Digestive Clinic PC and Endoscopy Center LLC, Clinical Professor Of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine

Dr. Jann L. Joseph, President, Georgia Gwinnett College

Michelle Livingstone, Vice President -Transportation, The Home Depot

C.G. McBride, Vitalysys Technologies, Owner

Debbie Mitcham, President and CEO Northside Hospital- Gwinnett

Eleanor Morgan, President and CEO, MD&E Clarity Principal

Scott Phelan, Executive Vice President, Janney

Jan Trantham, EVP Operations Administration, Primerica