She comes from a family of givers.
LaTasha Ward said she often laughs when she thinks about how her father would give their bikes away if someone in the community needed them.
She said as a child, she didn’t quite understand what was going on. She would ask, “Dad, where are our bikes?” He’d say: “Don’t worry about that.”
The next day, Ward said they would have new bikes. She said she later discovered that he had given their old bikes to children in need.
The love of giving was passed down to Ward, now founder and executive director of The Solid Foundation, Inc. based in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
The foundation works with people who are incarcerated and their families. During the holidays, it adopts families to make sure children know their absent loved ones are thinking about them.
The Solid Foundation’s services include mentoring, family reunification, helping people get their GEDs, job readiness skills and helping people start their own businesses.
Ward said the main need when someone is returning from prison is housing, food, professional clothing for job interviews and support groups.
“When you give the children, the students, the clients the tools, they can succeed. Some of them just need an opportunity,” Ward said.
She founded the organization two years ago, following 15 years of working with at-risk populations from teen boot camps to girls’ outreach programs.
Ward was born in D.C. and raised in Prince George’s County. She grew up in the Village Green section of Landover, Maryland. She is a graduate of Fairmont Heights High School.
During the 1980s, she said, a lot of people from the area ended up getting locked up or killed, noting that “it was a big drug scene.”
Ward noticed that the individuals who had support were the ones who stayed out of prison. She said she didn’t want to be one of the people who talked about the problem. She wanted to find solutions.
The Solid Foundation, she believes can be part of the solution: “I believe there’s hope,” she said.
The Solid Foundation will be at the Prince George’s House men’s shelter from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 24 with blankets, socks, underwear, hats and a warm meal. If you have men’s clothing in good condition, you can drop it off.
The Prince George’s House is located at the following address:
603 Addison Road South
Capitol Heights, Md. 20743
This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.