Community Success Initiative
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dennis Gaddy - Executive Director
Dennis Gaddy is the Executive Director of the Community Success Initiative (CSI), a non profit organization that was created out of a desire to fill a need to see personal growth and development, and leadership principles become a recognized strategy for achieving success in the lives of everyday people, with an emphasis on men and women transitioning from prison, or those who find themselves entangled in the criminal justice system.
A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and the Campbell University School of Law, Dennis had a successful career in sales and marketing for 20 years. However after that, due to some poor financial decisions he experienced the pain of bankruptcy, the loss of his law license, and prison. Dennis was incarcerated for five years, eight months in the NC Department of Corrections. Rather than being overcome by either success or failure, Dennis studied both, and learned valuable and positive insights from the past. He learned the value of using the past as a place of reference, but not residence, and designed and teaches a 15-Step leadership course on "How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be".
Along with his duties at CSI, Dennis currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Triangle Lost Generation Task Force, a organization helping to stem the tide of African-American and Latino youth from going to prison, and also serves as the Criminal Justice Chair for the North Carolina NAACP.
Dennis also serves on a national reentry sub-committee, for the Center for State Government's National Reentry Resource Center; most recently, Dennis was selected as a Goodman Award from Leadership Triangle--- the award is named after Jim Goodman, Pres/CEO of Capital Broadcasting and parent company of WRAL-TV, Raleigh, NC.
Dennis is an entrepreneur and is a partner with Gaddy Success Enterprises, consisting of personal development training, online businesses in travel, nutrition, and others.
Dennis has been married to Jackie for 29 years and they have two adult daughters, Ashley and April.
Dennis can be reached at 919-834-7626, ext. 11 or by email at email@example.com.
Rhoda Bruington - CSI Administrative Support
Rhoda was born and raised in Philadelphia, but left home early on to “see the world”. During her travels, she earned an AA in Applied Science in Nursing in Florida and worked as a Medical Assistant, Certified Radiation Technician, and medical billing specialist.
After roaming up and down the East Coast, Rhoda found herself at the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women for 13 years because of some poor choices she made. While there, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Behavioral Science from Shaw University. She was active in the prison, social, and academic community, receiving accolades from officials and others.
In 2006, Rhoda joined the CSI team, first as a volunteer and then as a part-time consultant. She continues to utilize her communications and networking skills with formerly incarcerated and homeless populations. Rhoda has also been very active in the Kairos Prison Ministry since 1994.
Gracie the Cat is her favorite companion. Rhoda enjoys public speaking, assisting and mentoring the homeless, dancing, and cross-stitching. She keeps many “irons in the fire” as she looks forward to passing the blessings she has received to others.
William Burton - Personal Development/CSI Administrative Support
William D. Burton attended the University Without Walls, Capital University, Columbus,Ohio. for two years before he was arrested for being delinquent in his child support! William was delinquent because of a prior conviction years ago. William then attempted to work 40 hrs per week, while carrying 18 credit hrs. per semester. While his GPA remained high, burnout set in causing a negative impact by what he calls an ' The Injustice System'. This led Wm to drop out and become a consultant for Criminal Justice Systems in three states, Ohio, California as well as the Dept Of Youth Services in both Ca. and Ohio! William believes that he got the inspiration to contribute, as opposed to becoming negative and giving up, from his Mother, COGIC State Supervisor- Missionary For The West Indies and West Africa.
In his own words, Wm. states that "The beautiful part of this story is that in some states formerly incarcerated persons, who have paid their debt to society, are actually treated like their debt has been paid in full! While in many other states they are treated like that debt is a life sentence!"
"I had also created two powerful 'PERKSHOPs' called 'FORGIVING FOR A LIVING' and 'LIVING LIKE THE CHILDREN ARE WATCHING!" I applied the tools from these seminars to my own life, and decided that my past was truly not my potential!
#1. I Made a list of the characteristics which I wanted the people in my life to have!
#2. I became the list! Like Jim Rohn stated, we get what we deserve, not what we need!
#3. I learned how to stop looking at people & situations to see what they could do for me. I began to see how I could contribute! Win/Win + Pure Intent! Someone called this 'Enlightened Self Interest!'
#4. I created an 'Eternal Journal Process' in which I wrote my goals, prayers, affirmations, visualizations and aspirations and regularly updated them! This was a Quantum Leap toward managing my Internal Dialogue, my ID, the conversation which each of us have with ourselves every minute of every day!
WDB has gone on to lecture in 16 universities. Serve on UNC's summer faculty 3 summers in a row! He was chosen to present a 3 hr. workshop at the Teaching Fellows Conference help at Elon College! Without a college degree, Wm. was a Development Consultant and a Counselor at Shaw University, and became the National Director Of Marketing for the Black WallStreet Journal!
Wonis Davis - Mentor, Community Outreach and CSI Caterer
Wonis spent most of his childhood and impressionable years in Brooklyn, New York. His outgoing nature and the desire to have the “finer” things in life were instrumental in his decision to earn some “fast” money as a drug dealer.
After serving 9 years, 6 months, and 22days in prison on drug charges, Wonis was determined to make a positive change in his life. He is currently co-partner of Love Life Catering & Food Management Company, in Durham, NC; has an on-line marketing business featuring men’s clothing; and hopes to one day open a barber shop in the Raleigh Triangle Area. Wonis views his businesses not only as a means of self support; but also, an opportunity for others to gain employment and possibly define career goals.
A member of Community Success Initiative’s Speaker’s Bureau, Wonis shares his experiences with many formerly incarcerated, those incarcerated, youth, and the community. The sole purpose of his dynamic, gutreaching, and thought provoking presentations is to inform, influence, enlighten, and promote positive life decisions. Wonis is also a mentor to several formerly incarcerated persons in the North Carolina area.
Veronica Hardy-Everette' - Mentoring and Housing Coordinator
Veronica Everette’ holds a degree in education from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has taught in the Philadelphia school system, been an independent training consultant winning numerous training contracts with the Washington, DC, local government and with several federal agencies, and has worked for 16 years with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Financial Management Service as a training specialist.
A dramatic change in her career led Veronica to the Alderson Federal Women’s Camp in Alderson, WV for 9 months where she worked in the Education Department helping inmates earn their GED. Currently, Veronica works with the Community Success Initiative (CSI) where she continues to utilize her training skills as she works with the formerly incarcerated. Veronica is committed to her work in the community and spends many hours interacting with community organizations and local entities learning laws and initiatives and their effects on the formerly incarcerated, as well as those incarcerated.
Veronica enjoys spending time with her two adult children and her grandson. She hopes to publish her first book of poetry; a book she wrote while in Alderson. She views the book as an instrument she can share with others that unexpected and unforgettable milestone in her life.
Ho Haryadi - Accounting, Data Base and Development
Born in Indonesia, ethnic-Chinese minority, MD degree at Airlangga University. In 1972 Ho came to the US and completed his training in Psychiatry at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). Married 34 years to Buffalo born Terry (Theresa), raised four stepchildren as his own, and now has four grandchildren. For 15 years Ho practiced adult Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison Psychiatry, Chronic Pain Management and Geriatric Medicine. Clinical Assistant Professor at UB.
His most favorite activities: teaching, training and presentation of any topic, while exchanging and continuously learning. Later progressively more involved in organizational intervention and consultation He received his MBA in Healthcare Management, Canisius College, Buffalo, NY.
For the past twenty years: broad range managerial/strategic operations functions, and held a number of management roles, for-profit and non-profit.
Ho relocated to North Carolina in 2007 for economic reasons. Currently involved in project management, strategic operations and organizational development consultant serving small to medium businesses in the Triangle area. He is available for all levels of speaking, teaching and training in addition to consulting services.
Sheldon Howard - Job Developer and Community Outreach
When many of us are looking at an age of retirement, Sheldon Howard has renewed his energy for life and social consciousness. Sheldon has made a definitive effort to change the lives of those that come into his path. He shares his life’s lessons: the good, the bad and the ugly, in hopes that it will strike a cord within someone to change his/her life.
Hard work is no stranger to Sheldon. As a youth, he worked on his family’s farm. This work helped to strengthen him physically and mentally for the challenging times that awaited him.
Sheldon has worked within the educational system for many years, stretching his vast knowledge from being a high school math teacher, varsity basketball and baseball coach to mentor and motivational speaker.
During his educational tenure, he was afforded the opportunity to serve college students as a campus minister for one year and professor of religion and philosophy for 11 years. In addition, Sheldon was a member of The Commission of Chaplains and Armed Forces Personnel in Washington, DC for eleven years, serving as vice president his last 4 years.
To his credit, Sheldon has published a number of journal and newspaper articles. He also has a 350 page unpublished manuscript.
Sheldon loves sports. To be specific, he holds NC State season tickets for football, basketball, and baseball. He’s an avid golfer, and gets much relaxation from fishing. Additionally, Sheldon has won several cross country races.
With age comes experience and Sheldon Howard exemplifies this statement! Energetic, funny, a zest for life, he brings a special gift in his training sessions and those in attendance walk away with a nugget of knowledge like no other can offer!
Rickey Moore - Web Site, IT Manager and Development Team
I've been fooling with computers since the first Apple ][ came out, in 1978. During that time, I spent 26 years in the Chemical Industry, working all of the western states as the typical company rep, trouble shooter and all round go-to guy. Then I made a very bad choice. I objectified another human being and did 5 years as the guest of NCDOC. It was in my last two years that I met Dennis, at Wake Correctional, as well as some of our other CSI staffers. Dennis mentored me, as well as some excellent NCDOC staff who were involved in the SOAR program.
Now, along with my web and database duties for CSI, I have founded the "NuOAR" project. I'm beta testing both the Java "Open WonderLand' software project (OWL) and "OpenSim", the open-source mono server version of "Second Life" to use as a potential 3D computer learning lab for prisons. It's exciting and we have gotten press and inquiries over it already, as far away as Australia!
If you get an email from firstname.lastname@example.org, asking for clarification about your entry in our database, which is almost 1,700 entries long, that's me! Thanks to you all for being there, from all of us!
Peyton Myrick - Media Support
Peyton Myrick is a native of Raleigh, N.C. After attending some of the most prestigious programs for Theatre Arts available in N.C. he began to grapple with drug and alcohol abuse. Eventually, this lead to a three year prison sentence for drug trafficking, and the end of life as he knew it. But the adversity of prison life coupled with the disgrace he felt forged a new flame of discipline and creativity within him.
He began studying dramatic writing and philosophy intently while in prison in an effort to use his time and talent wisely. He then began work on a series of children's stories that serve as entertaining cautionary tales. After being transferred to Wake Correctional,
he made friends with Dennis Gaddy, who became his mentor.
Dennis immersed Peyton into another area of study known as personal achievement. There Peyton found a core of leadership and success principles that to this day serve as a reminder of why it is important for not just him, but any individual, to stay focused on proper goals and their attainment.
He currently serves as a media specialist for CSI and is working on creating a full-fledged production company.
Candace Rashada - Director of Development
Candace brings over eighteen years experience assisting in the development of successful grant proposals, as well as training and development for young adult and adult populations. Her experience with City University of New York, City of New York Administration for Children’s Services and New York State Office of Youth Services led to the creation and continued funding of programs that served transitioning public assistance recipients, youth leaving foster care as well as children in protective custody.
She has also directed program design and implementation for traditionally under-served populations. Ms. Rashada has also served as a grant proposal reviewer at both the New York state and federal levels. Since relocating to North Carolina in 2006, she has successfully written proposals for Community Success Initiative. She presented “Organizational Capacity Building & Network Development” at the North Carolina Department of Correction Office of Transition Services 2007 Statewide Conference on Offender Reentry.
Both her BA in English and graduate coursework in Public Administration were completed at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Vega Johnson-Swepson - Client Liason / Intake Specialist
Vega Johnson-Swepson is a human services professional, with a concentration in mental health. Her experience and expertise have enabled her to serve as a Client Liaison/Intake Specialist for Community Success Initiative since 2007. Past experience includes providing similar services to Leading Into New Communities (LINC) a Wilmington , a NC- based reentry and substance abuse treatment program. She also has twenty years experience providing case management and intervention services as a Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professional (QP) in Orange , Durham and Wake counties, as well as within private agencies.
She completed both her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and Master of Science in Recreation Management degrees at North Carolina Central University . She is currently enrolled in a Doctorate of Education- Teaching and Leadership program at Walden University, Baltimore, Maryland.
Keith Dixon - Information Technology
A little over two years ago, Keith Dixon began volunteering at CSI at the request of his friend, Sheldon Howard, a member of the CSI staff. Keith provides administrative support to the organization. He maintains two of CSI’s data bases. One identifies specific history of our client to include, but not limited to, job skills and experiences and their attendance to various training classes and workshops. The other identifies CSI’s business partners and their job skills requirements. This means that at the stroke of a key, Keith (and CSI) is able to quickly identify a client (s) who may match a job opportunity offered by a business partner. Using these databases, CSI has referred several clients
for potential job placement.
Keith also picks up donated food from Starbucks and Papa John’s Pizza, and periodically he unselfishly provides transportation to CSI staff. He is retired from his own auto parts business, has a B S degree from Penn State and a MBA degree from Pace University. He and his wife, Wanda a retired school teacher, have 2 children and 5 grandchildren. In Keith’s words, “I volunteer at CSI because I see them making a real difference in the lives of people who need the kind of support that we give them..
( for a printer friendly pdf version click here )