Takisha Jacobs is an Echocardiogram Technician & Advancing Certified Medical Assistant and a single mom of five beautiful children—Darius, Aaron Jr., Abdul , Ameya & Amiya. On July 4, 2017, Takisha’s 15 years old (youngest) son was shot in Indianapolis, Indiana, while they were visiting family, and he passed away on July 12, 2017. This tragedy radically altered Takisha’s life. Losing someone so young and so dear to her heart was not easy to bounce back from, but instead of remaining angry and upset, she decided to turn her pain into purpose. She became passionate about putting an end to senseless gun violence and helping people to deal with the same emotions that had engulfed her after the death of her son, which led her to co-found Connect 2 Be The Change. Takisha has over 20 years of experience working in community development contexts and mental health. She uses these skills to engage vulnerable populations in the South Bend community. She continues her positive reinforcement and educating those who suffer or just need a shoulder to cry on, and most of all she envisions that through Connect 2 Be The Change, there will be an end to senseless gun violence in the South Bend community. This is what gets Takisha up and running everyday: “I want my fire to be ignited because I see our kids stepping back and thinking... Not stepping up and dying.”
Loria Perez is the Guest Service Manager at South Bend Civic Theatre and is a mother of four boys. On April 30, 2017, Loria’s oldest son lost his life and another son received serious wounds and the trauma of witnessing his brother’s death by gun violence. On May 13, 2020, gun violence also claimed the life of Loria’s youngest son. Loria co-founded Connect 2 Be The Change to spread love and bring awareness about the horrific impacts of gun-violence in South Bend. She has 17 years of experience working in community development and continues to learn mental health skills. Loria partners with several organizations which fight against gun-violence, including Moms Demand Action and Black Lives Matter. She also volunteers with community leaders, public school systems, and community service centers. Loria's mission is reaching out to the families grieving losses, and supporting them with respect, understanding, and intervention resources. She focuses on teaching people to love and respect life. Her message is “we don’t retaliate, we reconcile.” Loria works with “Angel Moms and Dads” through Connect 2 Be The Change, where she reaches out to parents who have lost their children through gun violence. Loria’s mission continues, driven by the heartfelt message that a mother’s love never dies
Connect 2 Be The Change is a nonprofit founded in 2020 by two mothers who lost their children to gun violence. Gun violence does not only rob lives; it also leaves deep trauma, fear, anger, mental health issues, and it destroys communities. The founders of C2BTC set out to address this problem by providing therapeutic services and environments to youth, young adults, and families who have been affected by all forms of gun violence . C2BTC is a grassroots initiative of mothers, therapists, psychologists, teenagers, and young adults. Our aim is to reduce gun violence by showing our youth how to become "change agents:" individuals who seek to make positive change in their communities.
The vision of C2BTC is to improve the overall mental health of young people in our community through experiential learning in culturally relevant and immersive environments. We aim to improve quality of life in our city by encouraging the current generation to understand the value of coexisting and interdependence with nature