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About Us

About the Founder

Our founder, Yolanda Baldwin, is well qualified for her position and has proven herself as a compassionate individual who is dedicated to helping others. As someone who did not have everything they needed growing up, such as meals or supplies for school, Yolanda is devoted to making sure others do not experience similar circumstances. She is a firm advocate in asking for help when it is needed, as it was a principle her parents constantly enforced. She thus believes in taking help when it is offered and being mindful of what or how those acts of kindness help someone when they need it the most.

Upon graduating high school, Yolanda enlisted in the United States Army. The GI Bill she earned enabled her to go to college. Yolanda received a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the University of North Carolina. Following her degree, Yolanda became a travel nurse who worked in many state and county healthcare facilities. In 2012 Yolanda moved to Houston, Texas where she began working for the Veterans Health Administration, giving back to those who served our country.

In 2014 Yolanda went back to school and obtained a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration (MHA) and certification in Nursing Informatics from the University of Phoenix. Yolanda currently works for the Veterans Health Administration helping other VHA’s initiate Clinical Documentation Improvement programs, which teach healthcare providers how to properly document care and treatment rendered.

Yolanda was inspired to start The Hope Chest in 2017, when she and her youngest son put together 30 school care packets: ten each for elementary school, middle school and high school. The care packets were given to Yolanda’s church to be dispersed amongst families in need. After hearing her goddaughter talk about the money she had to spend to purchase needed supplies for her classroom, Yolanda felt compelled to do something to help.

In the end, it was through personally witnessing the pride and stewardship her son displayed while organizing and delivering the care packets that Yolanda officially knew she had to expand their generosity to other students and teachers in need.

Make A Difference Today

Our Vision

Guided by Integrity, Empowerment, Excellence, Community and Good Stewardship, the vision of The Hope Chest is to provide aid to students and teachers who do not have the resources needed for meals or school supplies. It is our ongoing goal to supply each classroom with the necessary supplies for the teacher and every student, so that the day will come when a teacher can send a school supply list home to the parents, instructing them that their child need only show up for class and that all of the supplies will be provided.

Our Team

Yolanda Baldwin

President / CEO

Native of Lake Charles LA. Joined the United states Army in 1992. Mother of three kids. Daughter 28, two sons ages 21 and 18. After departing from the military she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. As a nurse with 20 years’ experience she worked in various specialties such as Trauma, ICU and Pediatrics. In 2012, she left the private healthcare sector and joined the Veterans Health Administration team as an educator. While initiating the first successful Clinical Documentation Improvement Program (CDIP) within the VHA at Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Medical Center she obtained a Master’s in Healthcare Administration. Known to many for her generosity and caring heart her passion is facilitating growth and change through education and service. To be more, do more, give more.

La Tashia Williams

Treasurer

Is first and far most the proud parent of two boys: ages 24 and 12. She is a Registered Nurse with 20 years of experience within dialysis, oncology, psychiatry, and leadership. Nurse Williams has a 10-year tenure with the Veterans Administration where she served as a subject matter expert for the VA’s first outpatient dialysis unit as well as a home telehealth coordinator and nurse informaticist. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration. La Tashia’s true passion is community service via her place of worship, Hickory Grove Missionary Baptist Church; where she can fulfill her personal mantra of “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the services of others” Mahatma Gandhi.

Dedra Johnson

Secretary

Born and raised in Lake Charles, La. Single mother of three children. One daughter and two sons. While a military wife, stationed in Germany, she ran her own daycare service: to fill a critical shortage for service members needing childcare services for their children. She holds an Associate degree in Liberal Arts and currently working towards her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Houston. She is the training coordinator at a major surgical medical company with a 15-year tenure. Every other Saturday she and her eldest daughter, who is an elementary school teacher, volunteer at the local Houston food bank when she is not ministering to the sick and shut in with the Forget Me Not Ministry through her local church.