Melissa Peele, Founder, is a strong advocate for children and families. She is a licensed minister through Vanguard Ministries in Suffolk, VA. She has devoted the last eighteen years to this effort. She is a native of Aulander, North Carolina. She served in the United States Air Force, four years active duty and three years in the Air National Guard. She received her Bachelor's degree in Human Services Counseling in 1995 from Old Dominion University and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Norfolk State University in 1998. Her passion for serving single mothers was ignited over twenty one years ago as she supported her sisters as single parents with the care of their children. She believes this is her life’s work and desires to see generations changed by rebuilding single mother’s lives through the power of Jesus Christ. Seeing Firm Foundation of Virginia become a reality is her God given dream come true.
Shirley A. Breedlove received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Temple University in 1979 and her Master of Social Work degree in 1981. She has over 30 years of experience, and has worked in various facets of helping the community throughout her profession. Shirley is looked to as an expert source in counseling and coaching employees who work with patients who struggle with substance abuse, mental illness or in need of individual or family therapy. During the early years of her profession, Shirley worked mental health facilities in Philadelphia, PA. She began as an AfterCare Director. organizing, administering, evaluating and monitoring all activities of the chronically mental ill clients. Her skills quickly advanced her to be the primary source for providing comprehensive case management and providing direct assistance to clients who needed resources and services for treatment and advocacy on their behalf.
Her passion for helping those in need led Shirley to open her own adult home in Newport News, Virginia called Lawson Haven of Hope. Shirley supervised the day to day operations, and provided personal and professional assistance to clients. From Philadelphia to Virginia Shirley has touched many lives through her expertise in the field of Social Work.
Gertrude C. Jackson, PhD, MSW, ACSW, is a recent retired college professor in the Social Work Department at North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina. She has 15 years of teaching in higher education and over 25 years of social work practice and related experiences in mental health and medical fields. Her work experiences include the provision of individual, group, couple and family counseling, and crisis intervention services to veterans, children and families, women, and older adults from diverse social, economic, cultural, and ethnic/racial backgrounds. She earned a Ph.D. from Howard University, Washington, DC, and Masters in Social Work and Bachelors of Arts in Psychology degrees from Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA. Dr. Jackson brings a wealth of knowledge and years of experience working with children and families.
Mr. Edwards is a graduate of Regent University, Virginia Beach Va. (2015) and is completing his Master of Divinity with Virginia Union University, Richmond, Va.(2020). He is an ordained minister at Grove Church, Portsmouth, VA. Among his many accomplishments he is a retired Sheriff with the City of Portsmouth, VA as well as veteran of the United States Navy. Mr. Edwards is passionate about restoration of lives. He volunteers with Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless and Portsmouth Christian Outreach. He brings years of leadership, business and non-profit management skills with him.