Edna Moffett has always accepted a challenge. She is currently the Executive Director of Operation P.E.A.C.E., Inc. When Ms. Moffett moved into the Village of Bedford Pine in 1983, she was very optimistic and hopeful about the future of her family their. Within a short time, the community began to dissolve around her and the culprit was crack cocaine. She witnessed as drugs and crime slowly began to destroy the community before her eyes. Her personal effort to combat the negative impact that drugs had on the children in the neighborhood started with a small group of 7-13 year- olds and an after- school program she developed to enhance their lives. She hoped this structured, after-school learning environment would prove productive as an alternative to the streets and an additional educational resource. However, the situation grew worse over time, making the Village of Bedford Pine an unsafe environment for families. This state of affairs impelled Ms. Moffett to action, though she envisioned the concept of Operation P.E.A.C.E. long before its inception as an organization.
In 1985, as the Assistant Property Manager for the Village of Bedford Pine , she began attracting college students who were in desperate need of affordable housing. By 1994, there were more than eighty students living in the Village of Bedford Pine . In August 1995, P.E.A.C.E. an acronym for Positive Education Always Creates Elevation began when tthirty-three college residents of the Village of Bedford Pine met to discuss the problems plaguing the community and what could be done about it. Operation P.E.A.C.E. is a non-profit, multi-service, neighborhood development organization serving the Village of Bedford Pine and the surrounding metro Atlanta area. The mission of Operation P.E.A.C.E., Inc. is to empower families to be self -sufficient by developing literacy, vocational, and technical skills in adults; by nurturing entrepreneurial and leadership skills in our youth; and by encouraging our seniors to be active and remain a vital part of the community. To date, Operation P.E.A.C.E. has been awarded over $1,200,000 in grant money and various in-kind contributions from loyal corporate sponsors such as Wingate Management Company, Inc., New Balance, Bank of America, The US Department of HUD, and the US Department of Labor. Together with P.E.A.C.E. staff and ” innumerable volunteers from all occupations, Ms. Moffett has initiated several successful programs. These include the Swinging Seniors Activity Program, Computer Competency Program, After- School Program, Summer Academy , Teen Mentoring Program, In- School Suspension Initiative (JSSJ)/Academic Support Enrichment Program (ASEP), GED Preparation Program, and the state-of-the-art, Gerald & Elaine Schuster Computer Learning Center for community residents. Through the aforementioned funding, Operation P.E.A.C.E. offers these programs to residents of the Village of Bedford Pine and the surrounding Old Fourth Ward neighborhood free of charge.
Ms. Moffett realizes that it was one little program that brought about this major change in the neighborhood of the Village of Bedford Pine, and she now dreams of sharing the program with other troubled communities across the count.
Ms. Moffett’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. She has received numerous awards from many national organizations, she has been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and she has appeared on various local television programs for her activism. A mother of two and grandmother of three, Ms. Moffett received her dual Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Psychology from Florida A&M University in 1965. She later went on to receive her M.Ed. from District of Columbia University (UDC). She has been an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority since 1965, and is also an active member of the Central Atlanta Neighborhood Association and the Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Committee. Ms. Edna Moffett is an active, community oriented person with a passion for improving the lives of those around her.
Marcel Benoit was born and raised in St. Louis, MO., moved to Georgia while serving in the Army, and became an official Atlanta resident in ’93 when he began his studies at Morehouse College and Georgia Tech. In search of decent affordable housing while in college, Marcel ran across Edna Moffett who at that time was a property manager at the Village of Bedford Pines . Marcel caught Ms. Moffett’s contagious enthusiasm and spirit for wanting to make a difference in the lives of the youth in the Bedford Pine/Old Fourth Ward community and the rest is history. Marcel is President of Operation P.E.A.C.E., one of the founding members of Operation P.E.A.C.E. He volunteers his time freely with the organization and hopes to continue to make strides in the Bedford Pine community and make all of Atlanta aware of the problems our low-income families face.
Ilham Askia is the Executive Director and co-founder of Gideon’s Promise, a non-profit organization that recruits, trains, and provides mentorship to new public defenders working in public defender offices throughout the South. Gideon’s Promise’s goal is to train and mobilize new public defenders to provide the highest quality of defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. Gideon’s Promise is the only comprehensive program for new public defenders of its kind. Gideon’s Promise currently works with over 30 offices and has been involved with training over 160 lawyers since its inception in 2007.
At Gideon’s Promise, Ilham works with new public defenders in developing a client centered approach in their practice. She is responsible for recruiting new public defenders as well as developing and maintaining relationships with offices throughout the southeast. She collaborates with law school career departments to help place recent law graduates in Gideon’s Promise partner offices. Ilham manages the Leadership Summit for public defender chiefs, the Summer Law Clerk program for 1st, 2nd and 3rd year law students, the three-year Core 101 program for new public defenders and the 201 Graduate level trainings.
Ilham also monitors and administers the organization’s annual budget, updates and ensures implementation of by-laws, personnel policies; the strategic plan and other policies approved by the Board of Directors, and ensures the organization complies with all local, state and Federal regulations. She maintains a strong organizational infrastructure that supports the foundation for Gideon’s Promise programs and services.
Prior to her work with Gideon’s Promise, Ilham taught elementary and high school in the public school systems in Washington, D.C. and Fulton County, Georgia. In Washington, while teaching sophomore, junior and senior high school students, she designed the English curriculum for academically challenged high school students at the Maya Angelou Public Charter School and facilitated teacher workshops on topics such as Differentiation in the Classroom and Kinesthetic Learning. In her first year in the DC Public School system, as a Teach for America corps member, Ilham was nominated for new teacher of the year in the District of Columbia. As a second year teacher, Ilham taught elementary school practices in Kawasaki, Japan as a Mid-Atlantic Japan in Schools Fellow through the University of Maryland. She also served as a representative at the D.C. Superintendent’s Roundtable Discussion to refine curriculum and school operations in the district.
While working in the Fulton County Public School system in Georgia, Ilham served on the first grade math curriculum team which designed performance assessments for the state of Georgia. She also served as chair of the first grade team and as a member of the Principal’s Leadership Team. Ilham received her Masters in Teaching from Trinity University in Washington, D.C. and her B.S. degree from Cornell University.