MARIETTA, GA -- Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton announced today the hiring of Daneea Badio as coordinator for the city's Weed and Seed program. Beginning January 2, she will organize police, non-profit organizations and community resources for the crime-fighting initiative along Franklin Road.
The US Department of Justice awarded Marietta $175,000 in August for the program, and a full-time coordinator is required as part of the grant.
An interview subcommittee for the Weed and Seed steering committee selected Badio because of her previous work with the program and assistance coordinating non-profit resources for residents of Franklin Road. As the current director of emergency services for Travelers Aid of Metropolitan Atlanta, Badio is responsible for services to homeless newcomers, families and individuals in crisis in Cobb County. She is also responsible for building community partnerships to serve the needs of Cobb residents.
Badio and her mother started Single Parent Connection Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides workshops and seminars to teach single parents how to elevate their families' lives.
"Daneea brings a wealth of experience in the non-profit sector and has great passion for the Weed and Seed program," City Manager Bill Bruton said. "We had many good applicants, and the committee was unanimous that Daneea is the person we need to have."
In 2006, Badio won the TLC cable television channel reality series "The Messenger" to find America's next great inspirational speaker. She was awarded a publishing deal and given the chance to host her own TLC television special.
"I'm very excited about the chance to be part of the team improving Franklin Road," Badio said. "I'm looking forward to building on our existing positives and creating new partnerships to improve life for our community."
In addition to this year's grant, Marietta is eligible to compete for additional funding up to $175,000 annually for the next four years. Marietta is one of 32 communities in the United States to receive funding.
The Weed and Seed program helps rebuild and restructure communities that have suffered because of criminal activity and social decay. The program encourages residents to work with law enforcement agencies to deter crime, identify resources and restore the community. The initiative also brings federal resources to Marietta to join city police in tackling crime.
The selection of the Franklin Road neighborhood as a Weed and Seed community is the result of a four-year effort by the city of Marietta to produce positive changes for the residents and business owners in the area. The effort began with the establishment of the Franklin Road Task Force and Marietta Weed and Seed committee.
The city's relationships with the community in fighting crime were a factor in Marietta being awarded the 2006 All-America City award as one of the 10 best communities in the nation. Marietta is the first Georgia city in 30 years to win the award.