Velina Watson-Mouton is the oldest daughter of six children born to Loretta and Odell Watson. She grew up in the rural community of Cato located in an unincorporated area of North Little Rock. The first black child to integrate Sylvan Hills Elementary located in the PCCSD, she experienced her first encounters of racial discrimination at a young age. She understood her parent’s determination to secure the best education possible for their children and did her part to become academically successful. After this first, Velina paved another first as Miss Teenage Little Rock in 1976 and represented the state of Arkansas at the National Miss Teenage America Pageant where she danced on stage with the late comedian, Bob Hope. In 1978, she was crowned Miss Black Arkansas and traveled to Philadelphia, PA for the National Miss Black America Pageant.
Watson-Mouton continued her education at Sylvan Hills Middle and eventually graduated from Sylvan Hills High School in 1977. In the fall of 1977, she began her college career at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville as a Speech Communications major. She pledged the Lambda Theta chapter of Delta Sigma Theta in Spring 1980. Velina received her bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication in Spring 1981. She decided to continue her education in Speech Communication as a teaching assistant in graduate school. In 1984, she received her Master’s degree in Speech Communication.
Her work experience includes library science automation and information technology. She is active in her church Music ministry and working with youth. She is the mother of three very talented children.
Sherry Smith, MBA, is a Juvenile Probation Officer for Pulaski County Juvenile Court. She began her career in Law Enforcement in 1994, with adults. After working with adults, she realized that her time would be better spent assisting youth to become successful adults. She has worked with youth and youth organizations for the last 20 years to make sure children have the essential tools to become productive adults. She believes we all carry the responsibility of making sure children are college or career ready.
Sherry is the president of Write It Right, Inc. It is a grant writing, evaluation and training business she has operated since 2000.
Deara Threet is a proud resident of southwest Little Rock, AR. Deara had been employed at the non-profit agency, New Futures for Youth, Inc. for over twenty-years where she held the positions of Research and Evaluation Analyst, Manager of Information Systems and Program Specialist for Youth and Community Development. She continues to work with the various youth programs of community & faith based organizations.
Now semi-retired she works as the Family Life Center director at Longley Baptist Church in southwest Little Rock where she also serves as director of several family life ministries. Married to her high school sweetheart, Leo, they are the proud parents of two and grandparents of five.
Deara earned an Associates of Arts Degree from Monterey Peninsula Junior College in Monterey, CA. and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Philander Smith College.