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 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.
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. She helps bridge the gap between local trauma and mental health alliances such as Reflections Counseling, Mentoring Minds, and Mental Health Alliances of Michiana. Loria's mission is reaching out to the youth and families grieving losses, and supporting them with respect, understanding, and intervention resources. She focuses on teaching young people to love and respect life. Her message to the youth 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.
On our honor, we vow to be the change that we want to see.
Our vision is to improve the overall mental health of young people in our community through experiential learning in culturally relevant and immersive environments and to decrease gun violence.
The mission of Connect 2 Be The Change is to decrease gun violence by creating and maintaining a sustainable peer to peer environment that encourages youth and young adults in our community to seek healing. Counseling, therapeutic workshops, community service, and immersive trips outside the city are methods we use to assist youth and yo
The mission of Connect 2 Be The Change is to decrease gun violence by creating and maintaining a sustainable peer to peer environment that encourages youth and young adults in our community to seek healing. Counseling, therapeutic workshops, community service, and immersive trips outside the city are methods we use to assist youth and young adults in building new health, social, emotional, and behavioral skills.
Dr. Heather Holleman (Psychologist, Reflections Counseling)
Crystal Whitlow (Informed Trauma Therapist, Trillium Counseling & Michiana Mental Health)
Tracey Malesa (Informed Trauma Therapist, Award Journey)
Denise Herron (Life Coach/Education Specialist)
Moms Demand Action · Transformation Ministry · Reflections Counseling
Tattoo the World · Justice for Michiana · Choices for Life · Fix It Forward
H.E.R Living Campus · Black Lives Matter—South Bend · Stop the Violence Indianapolis
South Bend Rotary Club · South Bend Civic Theatre · Legendary Era