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. 

Rainbow Village Staff Photo

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 with her 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.

William Caraway

Operations & Compliance Manager

William’s career in social services spans 10 years. During this time, he has served in leadership roles coaching, mentoring, and educating future social workers dedicated to empowering youth and families. He also has experience working with the homeless veteran population in the metro area. William holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!)

The Rainbow Village mission of “transforming lives” resonated with William. He is passionate about building a team that is knowledgeable and possesses the tools needed to help families sustain financially and having their well-being needs met beyond their stay at Rainbow Village. William believes in being solution focused and will lead families and staff toward sustainable goals.

When William is not “transforming lives” at Rainbow Village, he is spending quality time with family and friends!

Program Team

Rachelle Dowell

Program Manager

Rachelle’s passion and gift from God is helping others. She has worked with homeless families for over 20 years and believes that having a place to live significantly impacts a person’s mental and physical health as well as the community at large.

Rachelle is excited to be part of the Rainbow Village team to guide homeless families to permanent affordable housing and employment opportunities that will sustain them on their life journey.

Rachelle is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, enjoys Zumba and hiking in beautiful parks.

Tracy Turner

ASPIRE Success Coach

Tracy was drawn to Rainbow Village because the job description for the position of Success Coach matches his life’s purpose which is to help others attain their personal goals. 

Tracy is passionate about helping families heal from the trauma of homelessness while assisting them in reaching their goals.  His passion allows him to be real and relatable while respectfully holding them accountable on their journey toward self-sufficiency.

Outside of supporting residents at Rainbow Village, Tracy enjoys attending dog shows, traveling to nice beaches and cheering on the Atlanta Falcons and University of Georgia football teams!

Tracy graduated cum laude from Fort Valley State University, Tracy has worked for non-profit organizations primarily serving youth in foster care as an advisor and life coach.  He has also worked in the mental health arena counseling youth.

Latoya McLennon

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

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.

Rachelle is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, enjoys Zumba and hiking in beautiful parks.

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. 

Lanie George

Executive & Office Assistant

Seeing lives transform from a place of hopelessness to a place of hope is Lanie’s passion. She is inspired by our mission because Rainbow Village offers hope in empowering tangible ways. She considers it a great honor to work in a place that offers hope to someone else until they have a hope of their own.   

Lanie’s previous work experience includes serving as the Founder and Executive Director for Redeeming Joy, a Restoration Housing Program for Sexually Trafficked women. Her passion, drive for excellence and servant heart along with an intimate understanding of our mission allows her to support the staff to make it easier for the staff to focus on the needs of the families we serve. 

Lanie has been married to her best friend for 28 years! She is mother to 4 awesome children, grandmother to 2 adorable grandbabies, and has one wild and crazy furball.  She enjoys working out, painting, sushi, and game nights with family and friends.

 

Rainbow Village ACADEMY Team

Peter Otim

Children and Youth Coordinator

Job Summary:

The Children & Youth Coordinator (CYC) is responsible for the oversight and execution of the day-to-day operations of the Rainbow Village Academy (RVA). The Academy provides support for our children through our afterschool program, summer program, Gwinnett County Digital Learning Days and all GCPS breaks.

 

The CYC identifies, develops, and trains teachers, tutors, and volunteers to ensure the effective student comprehension of the Gwinnett County digital curriculum. The CYC creates a positive environment to promote strong academic achievement, social-emotional development, and health and well being. The CYC also works collaboratively with the Gwinnett County school system to bridge the communication gap between teachers, the administration, families, and students. As an Ambassador for the RVA, the CYC will represent the Academy in the Greater Gwinnett Community.

Curtis Allen

Children and Youth Coordinator

Job Summary:

The Children & Youth Coordinator (CYC) is responsible for the oversight and execution of the day-to-day operations of the Rainbow Village Academy (RVA). The Academy provides support for our children through our afterschool program, summer program, Gwinnett County Digital Learning Days and all GCPS breaks.

 

The CYC identifies, develops, and trains teachers, tutors, and volunteers to ensure the effective student comprehension of the Gwinnett County digital curriculum. The CYC creates a positive environment to promote strong academic achievement, social-emotional development, and health and well being. The CYC also works collaboratively with the Gwinnett County school system to bridge the communication gap between teachers, the administration, families, and students. As an Ambassador for the RVA, the CYC will represent the Academy in the Greater Gwinnett Community.

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. 

Open Position

ACADEMY Staff

Rainbow Village is seeking experienced After School Program Instructors. The Instructor will be responsible for maintaining the implementation and administration of all arts, enrichment, and academic programs. Our goal is to help students to graduate while equipping them with the tools they need to become self-sufficient adults. The candidate will provide a safe, nurturing, and well-supervised After School Program; be the liaison with parents, collaborators, volunteers, and visitors to display the site and the program positively. This position is responsible for planning and development of the creative learning environment and preparation of needed materials and supplies. The Instructor’s ability to establish authority through leadership, communication, and most importantly patience, will be required in giving our students the stability and nurturing atmosphere they need to succeed. The Instructor is directly responsible for creating a positive, fun, and educational atmosphere. 

Open Position

ACADEMY Staff

Rainbow Village is seeking experienced After School Program Instructors. The Instructor will be responsible for maintaining the implementation and administration of all arts, enrichment, and academic programs. Our goal is to help students to graduate while equipping them with the tools they need to become self-sufficient adults. The candidate will provide a safe, nurturing, and well-supervised After School Program; be the liaison with parents, collaborators, volunteers, and visitors to display the site and the program positively. This position is responsible for planning and development of the creative learning environment and preparation of needed materials and supplies. The Instructor’s ability to establish authority through leadership, communication, and most importantly patience, will be required in giving our students the stability and nurturing atmosphere they need to succeed. The Instructor is directly responsible for creating a positive, fun, and educational atmosphere. 

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