Maya Danielle is the author of The Praise Break: A 30 Day Journey to Gratefulness.
She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is a native of Albany, Georgia. She loves God, her family and friends, food, travel, and beautiful things. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and a MBA, both summa cum laude, from Florida A&M University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School.
Dr. Daniel Simmons serves as the Senior Pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Albany, GA. As Senior Pastor, he is committed to making disciples for Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20) and to ministering to the “least of these” (Matthew 25:34-40).
Dr. Simmons stands firm in his belief of family being the foundation of society. A native of Cairo, GA, he is the son of Mrs. Pinkie Norwood Simmons and the late Reverend Perry Simmons, Sr. He hails as a third generation minister. Pastor Simmons is married to Diane Davis Simmons. He is the proud father of two children, and he has five grandchildren whom he adores.
Dr. Simmons is endeared to his calling to teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He delivers messages that are clear, concise and embraced by every generation and every race. He is a pillar of spiritual truth, a visionary leader, an activist, a partner, a supporter, and a friend to mankind.
Dr. Simmons received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Albany State College (now Albany State University) in Albany, GA in 1977, his Master of Arts degree in Counseling from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA in 1985, and his Doctorate of Ministry from Bethany Theological Seminary in Dothan, AL in 1991.
Pastor Simmons began preaching in June 1984. He pastored the Mountain Grove Baptist Church in Dawson, GA and Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Shingler, GA prior to accepting the call of service at Mount Zion in 1991. Under his leadership, the Mount Zion congregation has seen significant growth and has made a tremendous impact on local, regional and national communities.
Dr. Simmons is involved with numerous ministerial organizations on local, state, and national levels. He ministers, speaks, and conducts leadership training for churches and groups all around the country.
Leisa Johnson grew up in Washington, D.C., in a family shattered by the effects of alcohol and domestic violence. Ms. Johnson silently endured molestation at the hands of a babysitter. Still unable to read or count by the age of 10, Ms. Johnson was labeled mildly retarded and unable to learn. At 10 years old, she went to live with her grandmother in Albany, Georgia.
Ms. Johnson’s grandmother asked a church member, who was an educator, to teach her granddaughter to read. Ms. Johnson became an avid reader. At 13 years old, Johnson moved to Maryland with her mother. Ms. Johnson went on to graduate valedictorian from DuVal High School in Lanham, Maryland, and magna cum laude from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Ms. Johnson received her juris doctorate degree from The George Washington University National Law Center in Washington, D.C. Licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Georgia, Ms. Johnson is a courageous and well-respected trial lawyer, having practiced law for nearly 30 years.
After defying the odds that were stacked against her, Ms. Johnson returned to Albany, the place where God first healed the broken heart of a 10-year old child who was once spiritually and emotionally scarred and labeled too dumb to learn.
The brokenness from her childhood opened Ms. Johnson’s heart to hurting people. Ms. Johnson works tirelessly seeking mercy for poor and disadvantaged people who face harsh prison sentences. Ms. Johnson is often called a modern-day Harriett Tubman. In her spare time, Ms. Johnson studies diesel engine technology at Albany Technical College.
Ms. Johnson is the co-author of Grace Horse: The Redemption of a Teen Sentenced to Life.
Damien Terrell Chapman was born in the Manhattan borough of New York City. He moved to Georgia with his mother when he was 12 years old. Damien was arrested at 15 and soon after sentenced to life in prison.
As a child growing up in prison, Damien experienced unimaginable pain and sorrow. In the midst of his pain, Damien found hope for a new life in the word of God, and a transformation began in him. Damien chose not to allow incarceration to stop God’s plans for his life.
Damien received his G.E.D. while in prison and was certified in food preparation by Middle Georgia Technical College. Damien worked his way up in the prison kitchen from a dishwasher to the head cook position at Calhoun State Prison where he was responsible for preparing meals for 1,600 inmates daily.
Damien is a fan of the Atlanta Falcons, the Georgia Bulldogs, the Atlanta Hawks, and LeBron James. Damien is grateful for God’s grace and mercy and for the love and support of his new family.
Damien is the co-author of Grace Horse: The Redemption of a Teen Sentenced to Life.