Lakeeta’s motivation for creating Keeta’s Place was to fulfill her life’s purpose, which is and has always been to be a source of resources that will guide and motivate youth on their journey through life. Over the past 15 years Lakeeta has opened her home to many youth providing them mentoring, counseling, and sometimes even shelter. She has always provide the youth that she came in contact with a safe and healthy environment to learn and grown in.
Her strengths include the ability to quickly build and maintain trust and rapport, establish environments where people feel safe to talk, and most importantly, actively listen while providing warmth and acceptance. Lakeeta graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Applied Behavioral Science from National Louis University. She began her undergraduate studies with the intention of establishing a fundamental knowledge/skill base that she could utilize to help youth in need.
Due to their distinctive experiences, earning the trust and establishing credibility with youth in low-income and under-served communities can be challenging. As someone who comes from those same communities Lakeeta is able to relate to many of the youth and is able to connect with them on a level that someone without her prior experience may not be able to achieve. Therefore, allowing her to gain the desired level of trust and credibility early on in the relationship building process while maintaining professionalism and boundaries.
Lakeeta’s other relevant experiences include serving as a mentor and a life coach for various organizations. She also served as a mentor and cheer-leading coach for a group of twenty-five girls in the Chicago-land area for eight years. They worked on self-esteem, coping mechanisms, building healthy relationships, and goal planning. During this time Lakeeta worked as a paraprofessional in Chicago Public Schools, where she mentored and trained incoming paraprofessionals on how to perform their duties and accommodate students with special needs with compassion and respect while focusing on social-emotional growth. While in that roll she also served as a liaison between parents and students to provide feedback on the student’s growth and well-being.
Lakeeta also serves as a Non Commissioned Officer in the Army National Guard as an Avionic Mechanic. While severing in the military she has helped to increase the overall awareness of resources that are available for service members through the states behavioral health programs. She also volunteered to become her Units Assist (Suicide Prevention) NCO to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health by engaging with soldiers at every level to help decrease the rate of service members who turn to substance abuse and/or suicide.
“My calling in life is to serve others and I can think of no better way to fulfill that calling than a career in which I service girls in communities like the very community that made me the woman I am today”