Colleen Smith was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, the product of a dysfunctional family. Although she endured instability, abuse, and abandonment as a child, Colleen managed to rise above and become a vessel and source of strength for people around her.
God had a plan. Though she did not recognize it at the time, God’s hand has ALWAYS been on Colleen’s life. Throughout her school years, her Grandmother and some schoolteachers were among the few who invested in her and loved her unconditionally. Though the voices of abuse told her she was too fat, too ugly, and unworthy, there were beacons of light that provided glimpses of hope in her grim world. By the time she finished high school and earned her associates degree, she realized that she needed to get out of her situation and began to apply for nanny jobs. She received calls from all over the US, but ultimately answered the call of a Jewish family in Maryland.
And the healing began. Colleen relocated to Maryland, fulfilling the one job requirement of this family that had nothing to do with taking care of the children. She was required to explore her faith. In addition to that, they encouraged her to lose weight, get healthy, and set out to become who God called her to be. This exploration of faith led her to Jesus Christ who showed her that she was not defined by her past. Instead, she was being refined for use in God’s great kingdom. Those childhood voices are still there, but they are overcome by the Voice of Truth. Truly a healing work in process. Helping fellow man.
Ultimately, Colleen’s relationship with Christ has opened doors in her life. She is now part of a broad family of believers who simply love her for who she is. Though she remains close to the family that led her to her faith, she is no longer their nanny.
In 2011, Colleen was afforded the opportunity to work in full-time ministry. She is currently the co-Founder and Director of the GEM (Gospel Education Mentoring) Program in East Baltimore. Within this role, she mentors low income, inner city children who feel just like she did when she was a child. They endearingly refer to her as “Miss Co-Co”. GEM provides students the opportunity to hear about Jesus and His unconditional love for them (Gospel), to develop a plan to succeed in school and overcome the odds set against them to graduate high school and continue on to college or the workforce (Education) and allows students the opportunity to have their own personal cheerleaders and someone to help their dreams be put into motion through her mentoring program (Mentoring).
Above all, Colleen is a reflection of a God who makes “beauty from ashes”. Her past helps her to relate to the unloved and her present helps them to see that they also do not have to be defined by their current situations. Some of her sometimes funny and loving adventures with these children can be found on her blog at http://colleensamantha.com.
Other than that, you can find Colleen on any given day reaching out to prostitutes through her “Pretty in Pink” ministry, providing homeless outreach, or immersing her self into her community through family dinners, Moms Night Outs and popsicle nights. Colleen is currently working on her first book, teaching others about the importance of intentional living and sharing her story of freedom, grace, redemption and victory with others through public speaking. Colleen is known to be a true reflection of the love of Christ and an encouragement to those who know her.