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November 11, 2020
Giving Back: Willonda McCloud
Willonda McCloud is a community powerhouse. In addition to her role as the President and CEO of Bright Side Opportunities Center, she sits on multiple nonprofit boards and is a Lead STEM Fellow for the Lancaster STEM Alliance.
For more than fifteen years, Willonda has been showing up with a deep commitment to the Lancaster community and a unique investment in the future of Lancaster’s youngest citizens. This passion for young people and embracing science, technology, engineering and math as a pathway to a bright future was born from Willonda’s own experience. At a very young age, Willonda’s mother had instilled in her the idea that a career in computer science was her destiny. Willonda took her mother’s advice to heart and pursued the cutting edge dream. She graduated from the oldest historically black college, Cheyney University of PA, with a BA Degree in Computer and Information Sciences. Years later, Willonda’s background in STEM and affinity for non-profits and community initiatives, compels her to introduce young people to the opportunities that STEM can offer them now, and in their own futures.
Bright Side Opportunities Center has the mission to build a strong community by providing opportunities for people to thrive emotionally, physically and intellectually. The Opportunities Center has become a beacon of health and wellness initiatives, offering programs to the community including yoga, conditioning, nutritional eating, and the silver sneakers program. Serving a population and a neighborhood that is often under-resourced, Willonda has built strong partnerships with other community organizations in order to maximize the experiences of those who use Bright Side.
Willonda has paired her work as director of the Bright Side Opportunities Center with the mission of the LCSA. “I want my legacy to be centered around kids being able to have sufficient and sustainable wages.”, she says. Willonda believes in helping kids figure out what they’re good at and to see paths from their talents and passions to a sustainable wage.
She credits her energy for Lancaster non-profits and young people to the understanding that we get farther when we are going together. Willonda joyfully dedicates her talents, skills and experience to mentorship, empowerment, community and giving back.
Learn more about Willonda’s work at Bright Side Opportunities Center at brightsideopportunities.org.