Melissa Elliott has a love for people and a passion for youth that are going in the wrong direction. Working in one of North Carolina prisons Melissa noted a need for services for offenders that were going to be released that just weren't available. Re-entry and transition for an ex-offender is very critical to their success, resources, referrals, support and education is key to reduce recidivism. Through many years of research, hard work and perseverance Gang Free Inc. was birth with much zeal & tenacity. Melissa Elliot formerly worked as the Gang Resource Officer for the Vance County Sheriff Office where she was emphatically declared the "Gang Lady" by people who would see her in the street.; she is also an Instructor at Hidden Manna Bible College where she faithfully serves as a teacher for students who are interested in unveiling their purpose in the Kingdom Of God. For over 14 years, Ms. Elliott has served in the field of Criminal Justice in various capacities, as well as serving youth who are at risk. She has worked for the Amtrak Corporation on Terrorist Watch in Union Station, Washington, DC, and a dispatcher for the Alexandria Police Department, as well as a Correctional Officer and Case Manager for the North Carolina Department of Corrections. It was during her time as a Dispatcher that her desire to make an impact in rising gang activity was fostered.Within the prison system, she was able to receive her education on gangs, not from text books or movies, but from those who were validated gang members. With this information, she began to conduct forums in her community at churches, schools, and with local law enforcement officers, and quickly became recognized as an authority in local gang activity. She has a particular passion for helping youth leave the gang life, or make the important decision of never becoming involved in the gang life style.
Ms. Elliott received her Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Vance-Granville Community College. She has an undergraduate degree from St. Augustine’s University in Criminal Justice. Ms. Elliott also obtained a Master’s degree in Public Administration she is a NC State Certified General Instructor for Criminal Justice . Education as well as passion for her work has opened many doors for Ms. Elliott to utilize her abilities in informing school systems, churches, community organizations and others about the perils of gang activity. She now enjoys and is available to serve those who are in need of her expertise and services. Elliott is the epitome of trial and triumph, hardship and a helping hand! Theodore Roethke says, “What we need are more people who specialize in the impossible.” Some disregard, write off and forget about those involved in or considering involvement in gang activity, substance abuse or other social ills. Some consider these people impossible to reach. Ladies and gentlemen, the lady who heard Theodore Roethke’s cry and specializes in the seemingly impossible…Ms. Melissa Elliott!