Lawanda M. Reid (Hartsfield) is the Director of Southern New Jersey Community Services (SNJCS). With 20+ years of dedication to caring for individuals in all areas of the human service field, she accepted this position with the vision of providing services to the youth and Senior citizens in the community.
She started in the healthcare field in 1998 as a Nursing Assistant (NA), three years after graduating from Bridgeton High School. As a single mother two; Zamir and Antwanna; she initially took the job because she needed an income. She soon realized that she enjoyed helping people that could not help themselves. She decided to take the free classes offered at her work site to get her certificate and become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Her instructor saw potential in her and recommended her for a position in the medical unit at Southwoods State Prison, where she worked as CNA/Medical Records Clerk caring for elderly inmates in the Extended Care Unit (ECU) and the Infirmary for 4 years.
Needing more income, she took on a job mentoring trouble youth through an agency located out of Pennsylvania. She worked for that agency for 2 years. One day she was assigned to a 16-year-old girl to shadow for her 8-hr. shift. During that shift, the young girl kept asking to see the social worker. Every time a request sent up the social worker was either busy or on break. Right before dinner the young girl said, “Ms. Lawanda, if I don’t talk to the social worker I’m leaving.” The Social Worker still did not see her. About 2 hours later that young girl ran away from the facility and she could not stop her. Three days later the young girl was found beaten, raped and asleep on a bench at the bus terminal in Atlantic City. Lawanda decided that day to enroll in Cumberland County Community College seeking a degree in Social Work. With thoughts of that day, she could not help but wonder if the outcome would have been different if that young girl had a chance to see the Social Worker.
Lawanda expanded her educational goals after graduating with her Associates Degree in Social Work. She began working in group homes for individuals with Development Disabilities. She always worked in the behavioral homes. Wanting to understand these unique individuals, she then sought a degree dealing with behaviors.
Everything was going well for Lawanda, and then tragedy struck. Her husband of 6-years was murdered by the Bridgeton Police in December 2014. In that moment, her whole world stopped. She disconnected from everyone and everything. She stopped working, quit school and wanted to quit life itself. Because of her strong family support system and the support of her community, Lawanda decided to live again. She turned tragedy into triumph and started a non-profit organization called Reid’s Manor. Still in its development stage, it will be designed to help young mothers to live comfortably on their own. She returned to school and received her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science in 2017 from Wilmington University. She decided to put her experience and education to use and secured a position at South Jersey Extended Care as the Director of Social Services. SJEC service a variety of individuals, from the elderly who is housed for long-term care to young adults who is seeking short-term care and rehab. While working at SJEC she decided to pursue her master’s degree.
It was full steam ahead for Lawanda. In 2018, she graduated from Wilmington University with a Masters in the Administration of Human Service that qualifies her to run any social or human services department.
Once she received her degree she was promoted at her current place of employment. She is now the Director of Admissions, Business Office Director as well as the Director of Social Service. She oversees the top three offices in one building. Something that has never been done in this company.
She looks forward to this new opportunity afforded to her to be the Director of Southern New Jersey Community Services, in hopes to provide the services needed and wanted for and by the community. Lawanda is so dedicated to this vision, she we be enrolled in Wilmington University to pursue a Doctorate Degree as Doctor of Social Science in Prevention Science to better serve the Southern New Jersey Community.