Join Us

3rd Annual

State of our children breakfast

June 22nd St. Paul's School

Updated State of Our Children Breakfast logo

About James Samaritan.

We Support and Empower Children and Families in Foster Care. We provide physical and relationship support from crib to college for children, foster families, and youths transitioning out of foster care through the creation of partnerships with other organizations.

Who is a James Samaritan? One who sees the needs of our children and families and responds. We mobilize and equip local communities to meet the critical needs of our foster care and transitional youth, right where they are. We are creating a culture where our most invisible and vulnerable are better supported and empowered.


When?: June 22, 2023 from 7AM - 9AM

Where?: St. Paul's School Briggs Center

The Covington Region of Louisiana has more foster care cases than any other region of the state.

In an effort to bring attention to this invisible and underserved community we are hosting this
3rd Annual Event.

Esteemed Presenters

SpeakerTitle (Presentation (169) Bishop Martin (1)

Dr. Calvin Mackie is an award-winning mentor, inventor, author, former engineering professor, internationally renowned speaker, and successful entrepreneur. In 2013, Dr. Mackie founded STEM NOLA, a non-profit organization created to expose, inspire, and engage communities in the opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). To date, STEM NOLA has engaged over 100,000 K-12 students in hands-on project-based STEM activities. In 2021, he launched STEM Global Action to advance K-12 Stem education across the U.S. and the world.
A lifelong resident of New Orleans, Dr. Mackie graduated from high school with low test scores requiring him to take special remedial classes at Morehouse College. In 1990, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Morehouse College with a B.S. degree, as a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. Simultaneously, he was awarded a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, where he subsequently earned his master’s and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1996.
While pursuing a doctorate degree, Dr. Mackie served as an instructor of mathematics at Morehouse College. Following graduation, he joined the faculty at Tulane University, where he pursued research related to heat transfer, fluid dynamics, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. In 2002, he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure. Mackie’s eleven-year academic career ended in June 2007, when Tulane University disbanded the engineering school in response to financial hardship induced by Hurricane Katrina. During 2004-2005 academic year, Mackie served as a visiting professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan. He enjoyed a respected academic career, before pivoting his career towards entrepreneurship, consulting, and professional speaking. Mackie is also the President and CEO of the Channel ZerO Group LLC, an educational and professional development consulting company he co-founded in 1992. He has presented to numerous civic and educational institutions, government entities, professional association, and businesses of every size and industrial focus. He has won numerous awards including 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board’s Chair Phoenix Award, which recognizes individuals whose extraordinary achievements strengthen communities and improve the lives of individuals and families, nationally and globally. In 2003, he was awarded the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in a White House ceremony. Dr. Mackie’s is the author of two award-winning books: A View from the Roof: Lessons for Life and Business and Grandma's Hands: Cherished Moments of Faith and Wisdom.

SpeakerTitle (Presentation (169) Beth Mizell

Terri Porche Ricks was appointed Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services in December 2022. She previously served as Deputy Secretary since 2016. Ms. Ricks has over two decades of legal, financial, human resources, policy and management experience. An accomplished legal and administrative executive with a proven ability to lead and manage complex organizations, Ricks served as Undersecretary of the Department of Social Services (“DSS” and now “Department of Children and Family Services”), from 2004 to 2008. Ms. Ricks has played an essential role in the leadership and management of DCFS and has been responsible for enterprise-wide efforts since 2016. Those efforts include leading the restructuring of DCFS in 2016 and fundamentally reframing the Family Support Division to include a greater emphasis on workforce initiatives, a shift to more family-centered child support, increased client access through more robust customer service, and increased poverty competency of staff. Ms. Ricks represents DCFS on the Governor’s Workforce and Education Subcabinet, a cross-agency collaborative effort primarily focused on harnessing Louisiana’s untapped talent. She also led the efforts to create the department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) unit. Responsive to Louisiana’s needs, she has increased partnerships with community organizations, national foundations, and others to decrease poverty and increase equity and family stability. She has served as the department’s executive leader regarding disaster recovery matters, helping shape Louisiana’s disaster recovery in the area of health and social services and gathering the attention and support of federal partners for recovery. Ms. Ricks has been a key force in expanding the department’s use of technology to communicate both internally and externally, sharing information with staff and stakeholders about services and department actions, particularly in times of disaster. Working with nonprofit Code for America, she led the department’s efforts to use technology to combat the loss of benefits when clients are still eligible. She also was an early champion of the department’s adoption and implementation of a mass mobile alert communication system and played a major role in DCFS’s partnership with Louisiana 2-1-1 to provide up-to-the-minute information to the public during emergency events. She now builds upon that partnership in leading the department in its No Wrong Door service delivery, introducing the use of the 2-1-1 resource and referrals, including a closed-loop referral platform powered by Unite Us, to better serve Louisiana. Her work positioned DCFS to respond deftly to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which Ms. Ricks has managed the department’s internal response, including policy changes, communication with leadership, and the development of an online COVID reporting system for staff. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. for Leadership and Human Resource Development at LSU, Ms. Ricks previously served as Director of Human Resources and attorney at Baton Rouge Community College, as well as the General Counsel of the Louisiana Housing Corporation before returning to DCFS as Deputy Secretary.

Ms. Ricks began her public service career as an eligibility determinations examiner at DSS.  Her first legal position in public service was as Assistant Attorney General at the Louisiana Department of Justice in public finance. She has extensive legal and policy experience with family-related matters, housing and government administration, contracts, labor-related matters and mediation. A member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Ricks received her Juris Doctorate from Tulane University Law School where she served as President of the Student Bar Association. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Louisiana State University. Ms. Ricks earned her Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate from the University of South Florida MUMA College of Business in 2021, and she was chosen to participate in the first Louisiana Public Health Institute Racial Justice & Health Equity in Louisiana Learning Lab in 2020 and the 2019 Health and Human Services Summit at Harvard University. Ms. Ricks is a 2010 alumna of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) Leadership Louisiana program, an Inaugural Fellow of the 2009 Louisiana Effective Leadership Program (LaELP) of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy’s United States-Southern African Center for Leadership and Public Values & Southern University College of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurial and Leadership Development. Ms. Ricks is a past member of the LSBA Alternative Dispute Resolution Section Council.

SpeakerTitle (Presentation (169) Donna Edwards

Hello! My name is Aliyah Zeien. My hometown is Greensburg, LA and I graduated from St. Helena Central High School in 2013. One of my greatest joys in life has been being an older sister, as I am the oldest of six younger siblings. An additional major piece of my life story is that I am an alumni of the Louisiana foster care system, which has certainly fueled my passion in this field of practice. I am proud and blessed to be a Registered Social Worker, as I currently serve as State Youth Ambassador with Empower 225 working directly in partnership with the DCFS State Office and Louisiana State Youth Advisory Board (LEAF) advocating to increase opportunities, training, and overall well-being for former foster youth.

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in 2017 in Social Work from the beautiful Southeastern Louisiana University. Since then, I have worked to graciously become a powerful legislative advocate working to transform the child welfare system step by step. In 2018, I was blessed with the opportunity to complete the annual LICF legislative internship at the Louisiana State Capitol, advocating for youth and testified in front of the Louisiana Senate to assist with the passage of Senate Bill 109, which officially extended foster care in the state of Louisiana. I assist regularly in leading my fellow former foster youth by filling the current role as Vice President for the Louisiana State Youth Advisory Board.

With the help of my team, I work regularly with DCFS policy makers to reshape foster care policies and share my experiences at conferences such as “Together We Can” and most recently “Foster the Connection” with child welfare professionals across the state. I am privileged to be a co-author of Senate Bill 151, which is the first Louisiana Foster Care Bill of Rights that was signed into law on June 16, 2021. Most recently I was able to take this policy development, advocacy, and speaking efforts a step further by presenting at the National NCJFCJ and NACC conferences regarding youth’s rights, access to legal representation and permanency. I recently accepted an exciting position on the National Foster Care Alumni Policy Council, and I remain an active member of Foster Club’s National Knowledge Management Team. I am currently enrolled in LSU working to obtain a Master’s degree in Social Work. In my spare time I enjoy being with my family, baking, doing outdoor activities, going to the park, and trying new restaurants. I hope in all we do, that God will lead us to impact as many lives as possible.

Thank You! (2)

Thanks So Much to our Sponsors

Community Sponsors $900 Donation

Neighborhood Sponsors $500 Donation

Table Sponsors $250 Donation

Covington Police Department

Greenleaf Architects

Capitol Commission

Clerk of Courts


State Senator Patrick McMath

New Orleans Equity Partners

Integra Healthcare

Abbie Signs

The Fix

St Peters Dad's Club

Cody Ludwig

Star Light Baptist


City of Covington

Trinity Church

Nunmaker Yachts

Insurance Advisors of Louisiana

Elite Pediatrics

Restore Health & Wellness

UPS Store Houma

In-Kind Donation Sponsors

Community Corner