Rotcelis Morales Jones serves as a shared resource specialist for Made in Durham partners supporting “opportunity youth,” former dropouts who have re-engaged in school through drop-out recovery programs.
Morales Jones works intensively with students at Achievement Academy of Durham and Performance Learning Center, helping them create and execute plans to succeed in college and career. She conducts a weekly college readiness class where students create a College Foundation of NC profile, complete career assessments, explore college and career options, apply to college, and assist with Federal Student Aid applications. Morales Jones coordinates 1:1 college campus visits with students and college staff. She provides social support and resources for students for 2 years following graduation. A United Way of the Greater Triangle grant provides funding for her position.
She brings a passion for education and empowering families to the work of helping students bridge the gap between high school graduation and college enrollment. She previously worked for the Durham County Department of Social Services, first as an adult Medicaid caseworker then with mainstream poverty programs to prevent homelessness by securing housing and preventing eviction for individuals who faced a sudden loss of income. Before that, she managed services and operations for Pathways to Life Inc., a Durham agency serving clients with mental health and substance abuse challenges and developmental disabilities.
Morales Jones began working with young people during college, implementing developmentally appropriate programs for low-income, high-risk students as an after-school enrichment counselor and camp coordinator with Visions Services Group Inc.
She served as an intern with Durham Parks and Recreation’s gang prevention program, working strategically with staff members to facilitate life skills groups and organize workshops for Durham youth, and with First Presbyterian Day School, observing teacher and student relationships. She also worked with the Beauty of the Spirit program, participating in weekly activities with middle school-age girls to enhance community involvement and self-esteem.
Morales Jones graduated magna cum laude from N.C. Central University with both a master of social work degree and bachelor of science degree in family and consumer sciences, the latter with a minor in public health education. She currently maintains an associate incense in clinical social work. She and her husband are Herbalife Nutrition distributors and offer online weight loss challenges and fit camps to help people get healthy and moving.