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

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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 Community Partnerships Support for Partners in Change, Andrea initiates and develops relationships with community organizations who have clients in under-served communities who may benefit from the partnership of a PIC coach. 

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 also oversees PIC's volunteer partner organization outreach, coaching team support, 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. 

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Coach Coordinator 

As Founder and CEO of Phoenix Rising, LaTarsha Holden, PhD has 14 written books, created workshops, and changed the trajectory of countless men’s and women’s lives through her inspirational speaking and empowerment coaching. Dr. Holden continues her journey by providing a practical blueprint for success drawn directly from her personal life experiences.

Dr. Holden’s extraordinary story is one  persistency and success, transforming her life from homeless with six children, uneducated, and underemployed to a sought-after speaker. She ran for City Council in 2017, and went from a GED to receiving her Doctorate in Leadership Studies.

Dr. Holden has received many accolades including being named 2020 GA/National Mother of the Year by American Mother’s Inc., being featured in the Heart of a Champion docuseries by the Women’s Professional Basketball Association, receiving a City of Atlanta Proclamation as an Emerging Leader and an Ambassadorship for her humanitarian work. Dr. Holden has been featured in several magazines, interviewed on countless radio broadcasts, and been nominated as a National Top Influencer for 2020.


At Partners in Change (PIC), Dr. Holden will apply her life experience and leadership knowledge to actively support and encourage our PIC coaching teams. Dr. Holden has six adult children, all of whom are successful and accomplished in their lives.


Being a native of Atlanta and educated in the Atlanta Public School system, you learn that your community is all you have got. So you work hard to give back. Kim served 10 years as the volunteer coordinator of APS Adopt-A-Student program for at-risk students, and presently serves as the GoTeam Vice Chair at the middle school in the neighborhood where she grew up.


Kim took the position of parent liaison at that same middle school, receiving a salary 90% less than that from her real estate career, because she knew she could turn this school around. She was going to make this school a community school again. Kim increased community partnerships, empowered the parents, and gave the students the support they deserved through exposure.


Kim did not stop there, continuing to look for ways to increase the capacity of the parents of her beloved community. She knew what they had in them, and that if they also recognized what they had in them the community would soar. In 2019, Kim joined Neil Shorthouse as he created Partners in Change. Kim has contributed in several positions and now serves as the Director of Community Partnerships, making waves of relationships throughout the community and engaging individuals in a new way of self-empowerment. 


Kim is a mother of a high school student and a college student, a wife to her husband who has volunteered alongside her for 20 plus years, and serves on a United Way board in her present community. She is a life member of Alabama A&M alumni chapter, and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she serves as a chair and committee member of several tiers. Kim is an active volunteer in her son's high school, supporting the band and attendance office, and is the caretaker of her parents and grandparents. And after her long days are done, she spends quiet time by herself at the lake, long walks on the trail, or runs away to a quick beach vacation. 



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. 

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Ghemaiya has a passion for service work that began in high school volunteering with the Peace Learning Center where she facilitated SEL and Conflict Resolution curriculum to youth groups. Her eager attitude and participation in Indianapolis’ Social Justice Camp earned her the Volunteer of the Year award (2015).


Ghemaiya went on to advocate for social justice in her academic career, giving award winning speeches on transgender individual’s rights and implicit bias. During her time as a Desmond Tutu Center Youth Fellow she wrote and implemented a workshop series for young girls in under-represented communities on the power of self love and importance of inner beauty. All of these experiences solidified her career aspirations and she went on to work in political offices as a Communications Intern and to earn her BA in Communications from Indiana University.

Ghemaiya moved to Georgia from Indianapolis with her husband Ahnajia shortly after graduating. While she misses her mother, father, and four little sisters she is enjoying the change of weather and the multitude of opportunities to serve her community and make an impact. Ghemaiya seeks to transfer her skills and experiences through her new role at Partners in Change.

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

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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