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Power of PROGENY (Pioneers Reaching Out for the Greater Elevation of Our Nation's Youth) (POP) is a nonprofit organization that encourages individuals to embrace our diverse world and to transform the world through the power of progeny:  a unique sense of personal identity, perspectives, background, and self. 

Misson, Vision & Goals



  • Celebrate  diversity, equity, and inclusion

  • Enhance and educate the community through a social justice lens

  • Create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive skill set through building leadership, civic engagement, community service, empathy, and establishing safe and brave spaces.

Our vision is to foster, inspire, and empower individuals to celebrate the contributions of our diverse population.  Through learning about varied perspectives, we provide knowledge and confront bias in order to create a more equitable and inclusive world.



PROGENY began long before Carlo L'Chelle Dawson stepped into a classroom when she befriended those who many often perceived as the "other". At eight years old, Carlo consoled those who many shunned—the “quiet kid”, the “deaf girl”--the “outcasts”. As a result, she too was perceived as an outcast. She didn’t know that this isolation was driving her closer to her “self”, her essence, to her calling--to provide a voice for the "voiceless". This revelation lead Carlo to begin an organization for equity, inclusion, diversity, and belonging. Prior to becoming a classroom educator, Carlo had began plans to develop her dream for a more perfect world. Therefore,  in 2003 in South Carolina, when a male group of students approached High School Teacher Carlo Dawson with an idea to advise their “party club”. Mrs. Dawson challenged the students to think beyond partying and to develop a mission for their group which would include inclusion and belonging. After a passionate brainstorming session, the students explained that they wanted to develop a social organization that made a difference in their school and community.  Mrs. Dawson helped facilitate further idea development and the young men committed to launching a cultural club that can host diverse and inclusive social events that entertain and educate.  Mrs. Dawson was happy to serve as the group's founder, advisor, and  to match their excitement.

After a few weeks, the group was ready to officially launch and recruit members, but they were missing a name.  One night, the name and what would serve as the guiding principle of the group came to Carlo Dawson in a dream; Pioneers Reaching Out for the Greater Elevation of our Nation’s Youth!  Better known as PROGENY!

Throughout the years, the group has served as a place where students of diverse cultures and backgrounds can realize a sense of their birthright, heritage, and lineage and most importantly, a brave place to belong and explore.  Since its inception, PROGENY members have planned and produced International Festivals, “Tours Around the World”, National Heritage Months celebrations, organized and participated in panel discussions, participated in various field trips, and organized community service projects.  Each project, event, series or festival served as an opportunity to increase cultural knowledge and to partake in civic engagement and community service.


The Power of PROGENY Foundation uses the prototype developed so many years ago and newly developed, engaging, and innovative curricula for schools and community organizations to launch successful diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. The Power of PROGENY is the answer to the question of engagement and community building for your organization!


Board of Directors
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Carlo L'Chelle Dawson

Founder & Executive Director

A native of Darlington, S.C., Carlo L'Chelle Dawson is an award-winning author, historic dramatic reenactor, arts integration specialist, community organizer, and teaching artist. Mrs. Dawson is a graduate of College of Charleston with a Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction from Lesley University. Carlo’s “why” is providing a voice to those who are often muted by society. Carlo wrote and starred in the "The Missing Voice" a one-woman show and educational workshop to bring awareness to the educational and social needs of historically underserved and marginalized youth while providing teaching strategies for educators and teacher leaders. As a community organizer and DEI College instructor, Carlo serves on various boards, where she leads DEI sessions in her state. This community servant and 2020 Educator of the Year, awarded by Central City Optimist Club International, is driven to motivate, to uplift, and to inspire individuals to maximize their full potential and is elated to serve the Power of PROGENY Foundation.


Joey Grinkley

Board Vice Chairperson

Joey Grinkley is a 21-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, holding various leadership positions in Manufacturing and Supply Operations, Supply Chain Strategy and Product launch Project Management.   Joey is currently Associate Director, Global Supply Business Development and Process for Merck, Manufacturing Division, Merck & Co., Inc.  where he leads key business processes supporting new business deals, clinical trial collaborations and is creating a Search and Evaluate process that will drive innovation for medicine manufacturing of the future.  Joey received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2000 and MBA from Rutgers Business School – Newark/New Brunswick, NJ in 2012.


Tamra Goodson


Tamra Goodson is a Senior Vice President with Truist Financial Corporation. Having performed various roles over her 19+ year career in financial services, she currently serves as a Retail Area Leader supporting multiple branch locations & over 100 branch teammates to maximize client outreach and teammate engagement. Tamra supports diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging both personally and professionally, serving as an advocate & ally for all marginalized groups.

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Briona Millidge

Education & Engagement Director

Briona Millidge is a native of Beaufort, South Carolina. She is an honors graduate of Winthrop University, class of 2021, where she obtained a degree in Middle-Level Education concentrating in Math and Science. Currently, she is in her last term of graduate school at Louisiana State University to obtain her Master’s Degree in Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She is currently a third-year 6th-grade Science Teacher at a middle school in South Carolina. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Briona has a host of accomplishments. She owns a tutoring and collegiate consulting business called Steps 2 Success, aiding in students’ progress and future endeavors. One of her most recent accomplishments is becoming the chairperson of The South Carolina Education Association’s SCENE working with the State’s 0-10 years educators. In the future, she aspires to become an Instructional Coach, teaching other educators relevant and rigorous practices for all students, regardless of race, age, creed, gender, or any other facet of their background.

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Nicole Oxendine

Alumni Chair

Nicole Oxendine is a Rock Hill native.  In high school, Nicole was a multi-sport athlete, served on Student Council, National Honor Society, Junior Civitan, and was honored to be a part of the PROGENY club for two years. PROGENY provided a path for Nicole to fully embrace her heritage and who she was. Prior to PROGENY, Nicole felt that being a Native American had to come with much explanation. Nicole felt that this group taught her to be who she was without shame and educate others on what being Native American meant in an area that is not heavily populated with others like her.


Would you like to join the POP board?

We have openings for the POP Executive board. Share your interest on the Contact page.

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Carl Goodson

Board Chairperson

Carl Goodson brings his extensive leadership, project management, and service delivery expertise to the organization.  Mr. Goodson’s experience includes over 40 years of leadership experience at Wellman Industries and Harvest Hope Food Bank.  Carl Goodson’s educational background includes Industrial Firefighting and Engineered Analytical Training from the S. C. Firefighters Association of Rock Hill, S.C., and Bachelor of Social Work from Coker College.  Mr. Goodson has received numerous honors, awards and certifications.


Margie Goodson


Margie Goodson is a native of Darlington, SC. Mrs. Goodson earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree of Business Administration from Francis Marion University.  After 30 years of exemplary service with the State of South Carolina supporting the Department of Revenue as an Auditor and the Department of Social Change as a Program Coordinator-Work Force Consultant, Mrs. Goodson retired.  Margie hopes that her involvement with the Power of PROGENY foundation will allow her to continue seeing positive change in the lives of others.

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Dr. Jocelyn Gordon

Education & Engagement Director

Dr. Jocelyn Gordon, Rock Hill, SC native earned her Bachelors of Science in Biology and Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Winthrop University, Master’s in Biological Sciences from Clemson University, and PhD in Education, Leadership for Higher Education from Capella University.  Dr. Gordon has been an educator for over 20 years. During her free time, she enjoys attending and presenting at professional development opportunities to extend her expertise and passion about STEM/STEAM education.  She is a strong advocate for STEM/STEAM education and enjoys motivating and preparing students to compete academically with peers through innovative educational explorations.


Melinda Longtin

Grant Director

Melinda Longtin has several years of experience providing multi-disciplinary education and social work support to K-12 students in the foster care system. In addition to her foster care work, Mrs. Longtin has extensive hands-on experience working with children with special needs. As an advocate for equal educational and economic opportunities for both children and adults, she volunteers for a variety of relevant organizations and has also founded Insprwing, a blog about the right to pursuit of happiness. In addition to Inspirwing, Mrs. Longtin uses poetry to provide a voice for domestic violence survivors. Her
previous publications include poems in literary magazines around the world as well as her collection, Metaphoria, which focuses on her own journey of surviving domestic violence.  Melinda's educational background includes BA in Theater from Winthrop University and MSW from the University of Southern California.


Shannon Allen

Sponsorship & Fundraising Chair

Shannon Allen, was born in Darlington, South Carolina. Mrs. Allen has served in the US Army, as a Meteorological Crewmember. Upon arriving home from a medical discharge, Mrs. Allen developed skills as a store clerk, manufacturing worker, teacher’s assistant and paraprofessional. She continued service as a Certified Senior Veteran Service Representative for 10 years. Mrs. Allen was blessed to retire from Veterans Benefits Administration at the age 35. Shannon has become quite a wealth of knowledge and experience. Completing her high school diploma at Carver High School, was only the being for this academic trailblazer. She holds a diploma in Meteorology from the United States Army. Her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration was obtained from Winston Salem State University. She has earned a Master of Arts in Human Service Management from Lenoir-Rhyne University. Mrs. Allen has continued her education toward community advocacy, acquiring a Municipal Government Certificate from the City of Winston Salem University. She has fostered a vast number of resources, relationships and sponsorships towards community outreach and advocacy.  Humanities have been and continues to be a passion of Mrs. Allen.

Advisory Board


Dr. Margaret Gillikin - Winthrop University Director of Social Studies Education

Sarah Ketter-Mary Kay Regional Director

Jerline Lowry - Retired Educator

Raleigh Dubose - RLD Associates Sarah Ketter, Retired Mary Kay Leader

Katrina Bruce - Certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Practitioner & Personal Life Coach

Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, MD FACOG - The Epicentre Founder & CEO

†     Reverend Ethel Grinkley (2020-2023)- The Place Community Leader & Retired Educator 

† deceased

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