Latoya Rodriguez is an Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Millennium Marriage, LLC, and Transportation Coordinator for Beautiful Gate Outreach Center, as well as this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE. Read her story below.
“I’m originally from Chester, PA, my family moved to Delaware in 1988. As part of my internship credit at Wilmington University (BS Sports Management, MBA) I requested to volunteer at Duffy’s Hope because of their basketball league and the celebrity game event since I was a sports management major. I thought it would look good on my resume, but little did I know that it would change my life. I went from an intern to a game day volunteer, then office manager, then board member, to the basketball league and celebrity game coordinator. During this time I was also awarded a scholarship from The Fresh Start Scholarship Foundation which was established to support women returning to college.
Seeing the way that each of these organizations impacted the community changed my heart and confirmed that my purpose was in serving others. This led me to future positions as a Girl’s Basketball Coach at my former high school, an Athletic Director with the Boys & Girls Club of Delaware, and a Community Services Coordinator and Recreation Supervisor for New Castle County. Working with youth to secure employment throughout Wilmington and New Castle County further solidified my desire to serve and provide support to youth and families in the community.
Now working with Beautiful Gate Outreach Center has opened my eyes to more of the amazing resources that are available in Wilmington and connected me even more to the resilient people that we serve. All of these experiences have empowered me as a woman, wife, mother, and business owner. My husband and I now serve couples throughout the area providing marriage coaching and supportive services through Millennium Marriage, have a plan to contribute to beautifying our communities through real estate and homeowner education, and most importantly, are working to instill these same values of service in our children.
The Duffy’s Hope Celebrity Game is my favorite Wilmington event, of course! It’s a family-friendly, affordable event for residents and visitors alike! Not only is it entertaining, but it provides an opportunity for kids to meet celebrities (many of them fellow Delawareans) to see that they are people just like us and that if they work hard, they can accomplish great things! It gives parents a positive outlet for themselves and the children of our community! And to top it off, this annual fundraiser supports FREE youth programming throughout the city and New Castle County. What’s there not to love?
My ideal night out in Wilmington? Well, most of our nights out include our handsome boys, so we’re probably swinging by Goju Training Center to say hi to Sensei Kenny on our way to Mini Golf or a movie at Penn Cinema. Now if it’s just my husband and I, we’ll likely swing by Oath ’84 on King street for a few shared plates and take a nice stroll along the Riverwalk to work it off!
My proudest moments came from witnessing the impact of the organizations that I have worked and volunteered for. Not just the impact on the community, but also on my own family. Because my children have been able to witness my work with these organizations, it has encouraged them to serve by donating to others through funds that they raise through their own entrepreneurial ventures. Since 2018, my children have donated proceeds from their art showcases to non-profit organizations that are making a difference! I couldn’t be more proud.
Professionally, my Wilmington experiences allowed me to discover my passion for serving our community which directed my career. Personally, working in Wilmington has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and be open to new opportunities and experiences. It has also encouraged me to expose my children to a variety of opportunities that will encourage their creativity and ultimately shape their world.
I continue to choose to work/volunteer in Wilmington because Wilmington has given so much to me: friends that became family; experiences that have guided my career and life; but most importantly, I want to be a part of contributing to the city, county, and state that we are leaving to our children.
My family and I are excited about the mural projects that have come to fruition over the last few years. My oldest son is an aspiring artist, so it’s very encouraging for him to see art all around him. It reminds us that we are surrounded by beauty, we just have to step back every once in a while to recognize it.
I would love to see expanded opportunities for youth to get more involved in the planning and development of events and programs that serve them and the community. Many people complain about the youth, but don’t take the time to find out what would really make an impact in their lives. So rather than just dictating to them what they need, establish an outlet or coalition that allows them to be a part of the solutions for their communities.
My advice to Wilmingtonians? Choose to see the good in others, the beauty that surrounds you and the blessings in your circumstances. It may surprise you how much you’ve been missing!”