Minister, entrepreneur and youth development crusader based in Northwest Arkansas. A strong woman of faith, Coletta dedicates her life to sharing God’s love and being a dedicated wife and mother to her family. Coletta writes weekly for The Write Addiction on Transformative Thursdays.
Transformative Thursdays (Weekly Column)
Tune in every Thursday for uplifting words aimed at helping us all think and reflect on our daily walk. Transformative Thursdays provide its readers with real world strategies on how to better relate to one another.
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So many times, we find ourselves in situations where WE are stuck…stuck in life. The clock is ticking (we’re not getting any younger and opportunities are passing us by), but we can’t seem to get out of the mud. We are trapped, caught, ensnared, burdened or encumbered by situations.
How do we get to this place called STUCK? In this series we explore that question to come up with sensible solutions for getting unstuck.
Summer Fun: Tips for Parents of School Aged Kids
The summer months are a great time to facilitate educational activities with your child. Two months away from school and educational activities can do damage to your child’s academic progress. In this series we explore a few ways to engage your child in fun, educational activities that will lead him//her to becoming a life-long learner.
The 5 Week Marriage Tune Up
In this series we explore the topic of healthy marriages. With nearly a 50% divorce rate, there are clearly issues existing within marriages that have yet to be figured out, walked out, or resolved. Thru this investigation we will discover avenues for improving or enhancing our marriages. Are you ready to take the 5-week Marriage Tune Up? After the next five weeks, the goal is to have a stronger, better and more fulfilling marriage relationship.
All About Coletta: Profile of a Woman Who Leans In
Coletta Jones Patterson was born in Memphis, TN, but moved with her family at age 12 to Fayetteville, AR when her father accepted a professorship with the University of Arkansas. The move was life changing. At the time, she and her siblings became just three of six African-American students in a predominantly white school where the population for Fayetteville itself had less than 2% African-Americans.
The switch from attending a school with a large African-American presence to one with a majority white predominance was a culture shock that quickly taught Coletta the concepts of cooperation, peer relations, interpersonal skills, getting along with others and team-building. As a result, she was voted a peer helper to assist high school students in feeling comfortable to share problems and issues with others or seek help separately. This experience helped her develop an even greater appreciation for diversity, especially as she traveled abroad with family and as a student in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Honduras, Beijing, Dublin and Belfast, Ireland, Germany, France and Austria.
A business woman and weekly blogger for TheWriteAddiction, Coletta was formerly a program director for the Oprah Winfrey Boys & Girls Club. She also tutors elementary students in math and reading. Named Kosciusko’s 2010 Woman of the Year, she enjoys empowering others of all ages. In 2011, she ran in the Mississippi Blues Marathon where she learned the power of discipline and trusting God to complete the work He began. She believes many people sell themselves short and place limits on their lives. But with hard work, faith in God and a desire to excel, people can achieve their highest dreams. These simple truths are emphasized in MoveU4ward, founded in 2010 by Coletta and her husband Antonio ’10 to assist others in achieving success in life and finding their unique destiny. They utilize personalized guidance, mentorships, individualized life coaching and connections with power resources to help others achieve their optimal in life.
It was a given that Coletta would matriculate at Tougaloo College. Her parents are alumni and her elder sister was an upperclassman when she entered. Two of her paternal aunts are graduates as are two cousins. Once on campus, she quickly became involved in campus activities and events. She was elected sophomore class president; founding president of Tougaloo College Money Makers; and elected vice-president of the Student Government Association her senior year. She received a BA with honors in economics with an emphasis in business administration from Tougaloo in 2000, and a MBA with emphasis in entrepreneurship from the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville in 2001.
In 2007, Antonio and Coletta yielded to God’s call for them to return to Antonio’s rural hometown of Kosciusko, MS to establish a youth-focused ministry. They left an established and prosperous city life in Arkansas to co-found Kingdom Life Church, a non-denominational, non-traditional fellowship of believers. In 2009, she accepted the call to preach and co-pastor with Antonio at Kingdom Life.
When the Pattersons arrived in Kosciusko, they both quickly became immersed in building the Kingdom Life ministry. She led Bible Study groups and established and facilitated the women’s ministry. Her book, “God’s Masterpiece: Weaving Together the Pieces of Your Life,” was a direct outcome of this ministry work. The book encourages women to find balance in life as portrayed through “the virtuous woman” in Proverbs 31. It is available in hard copy.
Founded by the Pattersons in the spring of 2007, The Exodus Project Teen Mentoring Organization began operations with one male student who needed guidance and direction; his mother didn’t know how to help him. He got into trouble, hung out on the streets, and no longer had interest in school. Their second student was an eighth grade female student who wrestled with low self-esteem and anger issues to the point of getting in fights at school. Thanks to intervention from The Exodus Project, both students successfully graduated from high school and are in college.
The Exodus Project provides guidance, leadership development, test-taking, study skills, mentorship, academic counsel, civic engagement opportunities, job shadowing and local and national educational field trips to more than 100 sixth through twelfth grade students in the Central Mississippi counties of Attala, Choctaw and Holmes. Coletta is executive director and chief financial officer. Since founded, the project has graduated more than 20 seniors; 90% attended college afterward. Two of those students have graduated from college, one is in law school and the majority of the others are still enrolled in a course of study.
Students look forward to annual spring break trips to places many have never dreamed of visiting before. During 2013, they traveled to Atlanta, GA where they explored many different educational sites, and Heather Douglas Morrison ‘97 and Ruby Smith ‘00 met with them to explore careers. New York City is on the horizon for spring break 2015 for 15 students to visit museums, historic monuments, colleges and network with local professionals. Dr. Deborah Williams ‘81, Frank Williams ‘74, Tracey Sydnor 1993-95 and Rukia Lumumba ‘01 are among others who volunteered to assist with various components of the trip. However, even with fundraising efforts to cover airfare, activities, ground transportation and lodging, the project still lacks enough donations for all the students to attend. The majority of students come from economically-challenged homes headed by single parents. Tax deductible donations of any amount can be made at this link: https://www.facebook.com/TheExodusProjectMississippi
The Jones family can boast of many Tougaloo alumni. In addition to Coletta and Antonio, Coletta’s parents, Dr. Eddie Wade ’73 and the former Dr. Maxine Dickerson ’72, are graduates as well as her sister Chilesa (Marcus) Ready ’99. Additionally, two of her father’s sisters, Varria Louise Jones Larry ’69 and Connie Jones Tate ’70, are alumnae as is Connie’s daughter, Connie LaRissa Tate ’97, and a cousin, Lela Garner Taylor ‘65. It is the Patterson’s vision that one day The Exodus Project will be a pipeline for future Tougaloo students and alumni will become active mentors to the participants as well as speak at monthly events and allow students to job shadow.
The Pattersons are parents to Olivia, Jadyn and Alexander.