Today we’d like to introduce you to Tonjie Reese.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Tonjie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My work in the movement to end relationship abuse and sexual violence began in 2011 when I was a community educator and later prevention director for a local non-profit. After relocating to LA in 2016, I started working for a national organization that addresses dating abuse among young people. In that role, I led youth organizing efforts and developed a passion for training and capacity building.
In the spring of 2018, I founded eleven24, a project dedicated ending relationship abuse and sexual violence through building the capacity of caring adults -both person and professional. With a mission to address all forms of gender based violence involving young people, my work in centered in identity affirmation, media literacy, and creativity.
I provide program development, training, and material development for organization across the country. Additionally, I created content for prevenionists and advocates.
Has it been a smooth road?
The road as not been smooth at all! In my first year, I didn’t have start-up funding. I worked three jobs in order to maintain eleven24. Although I had a contract with a statewide human trafficking prevention organization, my income was supplemented through tutoring, ushering at a theatre, and temporary assistant jobs.
Initially, it was a struggle to secure other contracts. Instead of making cold calls and emails, I submitted proposals for conferences in hopes of gaining exposure and possibly future partners. Thankfully, my efforts weren’t in vain and I was able to secure more partnerships throughout the year.
I’m also grateful for family members and friends that donated in my first year. Their contributions allowed me to travel to conferences, develop content, and provide no cost consulting services.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with eleven24 – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
eleven24 aims to enhance the capacity of caring adults – both professional and personal – through training workshops and toolkits. The mission is to ensure young people have the necessary skills to reduce the prevalence of relationship abuse and sexual violence. Our programs use identity affirmation, storytelling, and dialogue to re imagine prevention education.
In order to realize our mission and vision, eleven24 is guided by four core beliefs:
Identity affirmation belongs at the center of prevention education
Young people have a place in the movement to end relationship abuse and sexual violence.
Experiential learning methods and media literacy can be used to enhance existing programs.
Intergenerational dialogue is the simplest way to bridge the gap between young people and adults.
I’m most proud of the network I have built since launching, and eleven24’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month t-shirt campaign.
eleven24 is rooted in social liberation, creativity, and a belief that relationship abuse and sexual violence can be prevented.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
My favorite part of LA are the people. I’m grateful to encounter people from all walks of life. I also joy the culture of dreams and ambition. LA makes it easy to believe that my dreams are possible.
My least favorite part of the city is traffic. During peak rush hour it’s almost impossible to get anywhere on time!
- Website: eleven-24.org
- Email: tonjie@eleven
- Instagram: @_eleven24
- Facebook: /eleven24inc
- Twitter: @TonjieReese