Partners in Change pairs trained volunteer coaches with adults who are desiring to assert greater control over circumstances and challenges holding them back.


Partners in Change chose its logo with thoughtful intention. The acorn is a symbol of strength and growth, reminding us all that the seeds we sow today have exceptional potential. Its heart "stem" represents compassion, and the many diamonds of the acorn cap represent the cherished community partners who make our work possible. Finally, we included clasped hands to emphasize our belief in the transformative value and power of a sincere relationship along life's journey. 



In 1972, Partners in Change (PIC) co-founder Neil Shorthouse co-created Communities in Schools (CIS). Today, CIS is the nation's leading dropout prevention program, operating in thousands of schools in 25 states and engaging with 1.6 million children, most of whom are living in poverty. CIS surrounds students with a community of support, leading to a substantial increase in school attendance, grade promotion, and higher graduation rates. 

Over the years, Neil came to see adults as the lynchpin for the transformation of economically-struggling communities. Having witnessed the long-lasting impact of intentional, personal support for youth, Neil shifted his focus to adults whom he saw as keys to children's success and community strength — creating Partners in Change in 2019. 

PIC offers a new approach to poverty reduction - taking coaching's proven track record of success for executives and college students and bringing that potential to people in low-income situations. PIC invests in the existing capacity within adults wanting to move their lives forward.

It’s never too late to become what you might have been.”

George Eliot

19th century English novelist, poet, and journalist

our Team



President &


Neil is president and co-founder of Partners in Change (PIC). PIC was inspired by Communities In Schools (CIS) of which Neil is also the co-founder. As a premier organization supporting children, families, schools, and communities, CIS places caring adults into healthy relationships with children whose academic success and social well-being are threatened. Today, CIS operates in thousands of schools in 25 states, engaging with 1.6 million children.


Partners in Change shifts the focus to adults — pairing trained volunteer coaches with other adults seeking to self-empower and improve their lives and circumstances. 


For more than 50 years, Neil has worked to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth and their families through his efforts at CIS and other nonprofit organizations. He serves on the boards of several organizations, including Leadership Foundations, Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Rotary Club of Atlanta West End, and Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Neil continues to work on programs focused on strengthened communities, the betterment of their residents, and improved learning experiences for their children.


Neil is married to Patty Pflum and has lived in the Grant Park section of Atlanta since 1971. They have four children, nine grandchildren, one great granddaughter, and are members of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in downtown Atlanta. 





Andrea is a seasoned communications, operations, and administrative professional with experience in healthcare and technical industries, higher education, and executive level corporate management. She has the ability to build strong partnerships among numerous corporate, non-profit, educational, and government industries. Andrea recently retired as COO of Integrity Transformation/Westside Works, and her previous positions with Spelman College, Georgia Tech and an international commodities trading company have benefitted from her administrative/ operations and relationship management skills. She has served on dozens of boards and has helped create foundations and non-profit groups, both within the Metro Atlanta area and in her Cobb County community. 

As Director of Community Partnerships with Partners in Change, Andrea is part of the executive team that guides the day-to-day response of PIC to our Members and Partners. Andrea establishes and manages relationships with community partner organizations, schools and other interested entities. She works closely with the organizations’ point people to encourage recruitment of new Members. In addition, she directs connectivity with resource agencies and employers.

Andrea is originally from Chicago and has lived in Cobb County for 21 years. She has served her community by sitting on the executive board of her Homeowner's Association and creating a neighborhood watch program.


Kathleen C. Bryant


Kathleen joined Partners in Change after ten years leading development and engagement efforts at The Lovett School and High Meadows School. Prior to that role, Kathleen was a lead consultant with Non-Profit Leadership, providing board recruitment, fundraising, and vision development and training to over 25 local, state, national, and international clients, including CHRIS 180, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Girls Incorporated, WomenWork! Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences,  Advocates for Bartow's Children, and EARTH University in Costa Rica. 

At Partners in Change, Kathleen has led the development and implementation of PIC's innovative coaching model, messaging vehicles, external relations, and operational systems. Kathleen is responsible for PIC's volunteer partner organization outreach, oversight of our Coach Coordinators, and the training and stewardship of our volunteer coaches. 


Kathleen received her BA from UCLA and a Masters in Community Development and Urban Planning from Georgia State University. Kathleen moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles with her husband David in 1992. They love our city, live in Decatur, and enjoy good food, time with friends, hiking, travel, and treasured time with their two young adult daughters. 


Coach Coordinator and trainer

Tonika is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor.  She identifies as a social service advocate with an aim to positively impact the lives of individuals and families. This passion has proven to be an asset in her work as an administrator, in program management and development, and serving on the boards of social service organizations.  Currently, she provides counseling and consulting services through her company, All In Dew Time, LLC. 




Kelsey holds a BA in Sociology and is an Americorps VISTA alum. She has experience working with direct and indirect social services and has worked in a variety of settings. As Technology Administrator, she works on optimization of technology platforms and applications to ensure smooth operation of Partners in Change processes.

Kelsey is a native of West Virginia and has been living in Atlanta since 2019. While West Virginia will always be her first love, Kelsey loves Atlanta and its vibrant, diverse cultures. She loves exploring the city and enjoying all its greenery. She is humbled to have the opportunity to serve this wonderful community. 

Marilyn held stellar roles in university administration and in human resources for businesses in telecommunications, cloud computing, defense, and manufacturing. She made history as the first woman to hold the office of CEO and Executive Director with fiduciary responsibilities for the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the largest group of African American colleges in the U.S., a milestone for an institution of more than 90 years.

Marilyn brings a strong blend of skills to affect positive change and strategic goals in the workplace and community. In cooperation with C.T. Vivian, the notable civil rights activist, Marilyn provided diversity and inclusion training for corporations, and was trained by Stephen Covey as a certified facilitator in Franklin Covey Leadership Training Solutions.

A trusted leader, Marilyn has been recognized as a Top 100 Women of Influence by the Atlanta Business League, was president of the Rotary Club of Atlanta West End, and has served on boards of the Fuller E. Callaway Professorial Trust (Callaway Foundation), the Association for Consortium Leadership, and the AUC University Community Development Corporation.

Marilyn joins Partners in Change to help support social justice and racial equity. She received her BS from State University of New York at Buffalo and Masters from State University of New York at Brockport. Marilyn lives in metro Atlanta and attends New Life Church in Decatur, GA. She is blessed with two adult children and one adult grandchild.



Kim is a wife and mother of 3, which includes her dog. She is a 5th generation native of Atlanta. She attended Atlanta Public Schools and holds a Political Science degree from Alabama A&M University. Kim has been working in communities all around metro Atlanta in several leadership capacities for the past 25 years. Her hope and dream is to always be a beacon in the city she loves and has always called home for generations to come.


Technology and Training Consultant

Roy has almost four decades of experience studying and practicing organizational/cultural change. With a multi-disciplinary lens, Roy has focused on the intersection of individual, organizational and leadership development where culture is created.

He has practiced this work in corporate, education, non-profit and faith-based organizations internationally.



Our Partners

The mission and vision of Partners in Change (PIC) rely on all-important partnerships between our Coaches and community members, and between PIC and our valued partners in the community.

PIC greatly appreciates our Volunteer Partner Organizations — such as corporations, colleges, non-for-profits, and faith groups — who connect us to volunteers interested in becoming Partners in Change Coaches. 

We are grateful to our Community Partner Organizations — community-based groups — who recommend to PIC their clients who are interested in working with a PIC Coach and becoming a PIC Member. 

We recognize and thank all of our treasured partners for their support and their commitment to our mission.

Partners in Change Training Partners

Thank you for sharing your expertise and guidance in the development and execution of our PIC Volunteer Coach Training.


Partners in Change Collaborative Partners

Thank you for your engagement and commitment as we pursue our shared vision for supporting those living in poverty. 

Official Partner

PRUMC logo.png

Partners in Change Funding Partners

We are grateful for our individual and organizational funding partners who

share and empower our vision to enable social, personal, and

economic upward mobility for all individuals.


Individual Donors

Keith Eigel, Joseph Kellogg, John Lanigan, 

Barbara Martin, David Peterson, Alexandra Roddy, Butch Rodriquez, 

Patty Pflum and Neil Shorthouse, Dan and Margy Smith, John and Sue Wieland