As a single mother in Detroit, Tenai Leali faced many challenges, both personal and economic, and she was uncertain how to access the resources to address her concerns and better her future.
Now Tenai is the Center for Working Families Coordinator at Southwest Solutions. In this role, she assists individuals whose needs and hopes she understands deeply.
“Working in the community – and providing resources for families to advance – lets me know that I’m doing what is needed to help the community become more successful,” Tenai said. “I honestly wish that many of those resources were available years ago when I really needed them. That’s why I’m passionate about helping and educating families so they can achieve financial stability.”
Tenai is one of six women honored at the Power of One Dedicated Woman ceremony in Detroit on Tuesday, August 28. The annual event is organized by Michigan Community Resources. The award recognizes unsung women who are helping to change Detroit neighborhoods through their own good works and by inspiring others. It was initiated by Dottie Sharp, a community leader and advocate who is active in many community-based organizations doing important work in the city.
Tenai grew up in Brightmoor and she spends significant time in the neighborhood helping families connect with financial counseling, educational and employment opportunities, homeownership services, and other resources through her position with Southwest Solutions and the organization’s partnership with Mission City, which is based in Brightmoor.
Tenai now lives on the west-side and she is very active in her church and its outreach efforts in that neighborhood. She arranges resource fairs for families and also serves as the Youth Director, coordinating leadership development, mentorship, and educational and recreational activities for young people.
Tenai was nominated for the Power of One Dedicated Woman honor by Libby Palackdharry, who is Senior Director of Financial Stability Programs and Operations at Southwest Solutions. Libby introduced Tenai at the awards’ ceremony.
“Tenai is always willing to take on new challenges and learn new skill sets, which has made her an invaluable member of our team,” Libby said. “Even when challenges arise, she remains positive, stays focused and keeps moving forward.”
“Tenai is a positive and powerful example of womanhood,” Libby continued. “She lives her convictions and never stops taking steps to move forward in her own personal, professional and spiritual life, while also giving back and encouraging others to do the same.”
Southwest Solutions congratulates Tenai on this well-deserved award, and we extend our congratulations to the other honorees as well:
- Stephanie Harbin, San Juan Block Club
- Karen Knox, Eden Gardens Block Club
- Barbara Martin, Crane Street Block Club
- Star Roland, Hope Village Families
- Rachel Ullah, Brilliant Detroit