Meet Angela Thornton, a local attorney who has a passion for advocating for homeless youth. The Woodstock resident is a member of Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church. Her passion and experience led her to accept a position as chief advancement officer and general counsel with the Center for Children and Young Adults (CCYA), a residential treatment program that serves homeless youth in Atlanta and surrounding areas.
“I graduated from the University of Virginia, with distinction, and majored in psychology,” Thornton said. “I continued into UVA’S doctoral program in school clinical child psychology.”
In order to combine her psychology degree with a law degree, she accepted a full scholarship to attend Western New England College School of Law, formerly Northeastern University, in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The native of Alexandria, Virgina, worked for the state of Massachusetts early in her career and, later, for the federal government, heading programs dealing with domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, as well as adult protective services cases.
Thornton previously worked with CCYA’s CEO, Kimberley Borna, who invited Thornton to visit the residential program and subsequently offered her the job as chief advancement officer.
“CCYA houses up to 42 coed youth, ages 12-21,” Thornton said. “(It’s) mission is to provide safe housing, youth development activities and comprehensive supportive housing services for at-risk homeless youth who have been abandoned, abused, neglected and/or sexually exploited.”
When asked how the program defines success, Thornton said: “We define success as graduates achieving educational objectives, maintaining stable employment and having access to appropriate food, shelter and clothing, as well as obtaining a positive outcome in terms of their dental, visual, mental and physical health and development.”
Funding is a problem for this small nonprofit program. Thornton explained that the state does not pay for the number of beds under contract, so CCYA staff must fundraise year-round, in order to meet the program’s financial needs. To learn more, visit https://ccyakids.org.
-Margaret Miller has been a resident of Cherokee County for the past decade. Her writing hobby led her to become a columnist for community and daily newspapers.