Biography

Romanita Hairston

Romanita has spent nearly two decades working with individuals and families living in under-resourced communities. She has seen the power of positive relationships, supportive families and strong community systems in improving the lives of children. She believes in the power of purposeful collective action to end poverty, fight injustice and build a better world for children. Romanita leads the U.S. Programs division of World Vision with a conviction that "we all give back by starting where we are with what we have to achieve sustainable solutions to poverty here and around the world." She has dedicated her life, professionally and personally, to improving the well being of children.

This drive to "give back" has led to over 18 years of service with World Vision's domestic programs. An academic all-star in college, Romanita was accepted to law school and into a PhD program, but her heart was calling her to help children change their lives. Her first opportunity to follow her heart came through a program she started while still in college that provided tutoring/mentoring for high school students.

In her role at World Vision, Romanita has served as director of KIDREACH, World Vision's elementary age intervention for urban and rural children. The program provides family/academic support and mentoring. She later became the Executive Director for all of World Vision's work across Washington State. This included leading the first pilots of a long-term community-based development strategy designed to foster long term sustainable community based solutions. Since joining World Vision, she has stayed invested in the local community by serving in various capacities over the years. This investment has included serving: on local boards, as a youth mentor, as a youth leader, as church clergy and as the Children's Programs Director in her church. She believes, "it is important to demonstrate service beyond one's paid vocation when you are asking others to do the same. We should always be willing to fulfill the call we make to others."

Today she leads World Vision's work to improve child well being in the U.S. With operations in urban and rural locations across the U.S., she is responsible to lead the organization's national focus on raising awareness and responding to issues of child well-being. This includes overseeing programs that empower children and youth as well as the annual distribution of more than 50 million dollars in donated goods and partnerships with more than 2,000 organizations that serve more than 2 million beneficiaries. Romanita is a national spokesperson on issues of child well being for universities, conferences, churches, national television stations and radio programs.

Romanita holds two bachelors degrees from the University of Washington as well as an MBA emphasizing leadership in non-governmental organizations from Eastern University of Philadelphia. She currently serves on the board of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, Urban Alliance and Urban Family Center. She is a child well-being fellow with the Renaissance Leadership Group. She is a member of the Opportunity Nation Leadership Council. She teaches, preaches and speaks regularly on issues related to leadership, community development, youth development, collective action, economic development, poverty, biblical justice and God's heart for the poor.

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