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HopeWorks of Howard County Announces Appointment of Deputy Director

COLUMBIA, Md. (October 29, 2019) — HopeWorks of Howard County announced today that it has appointed Vanita Leatherwood as the agency’s Deputy Director. The Deputy Director is a member of the agency’s management team and serves as the designee for the Executive Director as required. Ms. Leatherwood joined the agency in 2011, as the Director of Community Engagement, bringing with her over 30 years of experience in program development and administration, facilitation, communications, marketing and development.

“We are so very grateful to have Vanita move into this position,” said Jennifer Pollitt Hill, Executive Director of HopeWorks. “She has the right expertise and skillset to facilitate the advancement of our strategic plan and the coordination of our programs, projects, and policy positions.”

As the Deputy Director, Ms. Leatherwood will continue to have oversight for the Community Engagement Department as she works to focus the agency’s internal and external messaging, implement an organizational self-care program and lead the agency’s organizational equity and inclusion initiatives.

Ms. Leatherwood’s career has focused primarily in the nonprofit arena including the fields of mental health, social disparities, education and violence prevention. She co-authored the READY program, an interactive, performance-based workshop to educate adults and children about sexual abuse and bullying. She was also honored by Mount Saint Mary’s College for her commitment to the education and motivation of students as founder of the Pathways: Attitudes and Aptitudes Program. Ms. Leatherwood served as the Director of Communications at NAMI Howard County where she also conducted trainings and wellness workshops for individuals living with mental illness and their family members. In 2018, she received the Governor’s Citation Award in honor of her leadership and service to the state of Maryland.

Ms. Leatherwood is a Transformative Language Arts Educator and Poetry Therapist. Last year she used these modalities to create and produce a theatrical event at Slayton House Theater featuring a cast of survivors. workshops, and mentoring youth. An award-winning poet, Ms. Leatherwood holds a M.A. in Community Psychology and is a graduate of the 2013 Leadership Howard County Premier Class.

“I am thrilled about this opportunity,” said Leatherwood. “HopeWorks has a unique position in the community to bring a variety of sectors together and work toward creating long-term change. I am excited about the new initiatives and to continue using the lens of social justice to address the root causes of violence, achieve healthier relationships and amplify the voice of survivors.”

Ms. Leatherwood’s volunteer experience includes: nonprofit Board membership, tutoring in adult-literacy, facilitating wellness workshops, and mentoring youth. About HopeWorksFounded in 1978, HopeWorks of Howard County is a private nonprofit agency. HopeWorks’ mission is to support and advocate for people in Howard County affected by sexual and intimate partner violence and to engage the community in creating the change required for violence prevention. The agency is invested and engaged in altering the systems and imbalances of power that maintain the status quo and are root causes of sexual and intimate partner violence – including racism, poverty, and gendered violence. Services include shelter, counseling, advocacy, legal resources, prevention education, community wellness programs and volunteer opportunities.

For photos and more information, please contact Jennifer Pollitt Hill at or call (410) 997 – 0304. Visit for more information about the agency