Our Team



As a 2002 graduate of Baylor University earning a Master of Social Work, Kelly is a licensed social worker in the State of Texas. She has called Waco home for the last 20 years. During that time, Kelly served in a variety of roles in consulting, higher education, religiously-affiliated social service organizations and congregations, with an ultimate desire to help people of faith to “do good well.” Prior to joining the Cove, Kelly was the Associate Director of the Center for Church and Community Impact, of the Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University. Kelly’s passion is to see individuals and families thrive in healthy communities. She came to the Cove in March of 2018 and enjoys working with this stellar team, grant writing and strategic planning. While not at work, she can be found relishing time with her three children and husband, John.


Kelly Atkinson, LMSW, Executive Director


Kayleigh was raised in Waco for most of her life. This city has a special place in her heart! Kayleigh graduated with her masters in social work from Baylor University in 2009. She has worked with older adults who have had dementia or Alzheimer's, in hospice, and was most recently the STARRY Foster Care Director in Round Rock. When she's not working, she can be found spending time with her husband and daughters exploring fun things in Waco. She loves coffee, people and organizing!


Kayleigh Cunningham,

LMSW, Assistant Director


Rachel is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and four-year Waco resident, is a recent graduate of the Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work program at Baylor University's George W. Truett Theological Seminary and the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. Before completing an internship at the Center for Church and Community Impact, she served at the Salvation Army of Waco Fresh Start Center - a halfway house for people transitioning from federal prison to their communities. She was also the Children's Minister at First Baptist Church Robinson and a research associate on hunger relief and development at the Christian Life Commission. Most recently, Rachel was a hospital chaplain at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center working in trauma, pediatrics and with new moms and babies. She is passionate about the intersections between policy and people. When she's not working, Rachel enjoys exploring Texas, getting to all the reading she didn't have time for in graduate school and hanging out with her beagle, Marshall.


Rachel Gillespie,


Director of Student Services


Britney is a graduate of Texas A&M University with her B.B.A. in Accounting. She has experience in public accounting as well as real estate, construction, medical, and non-profit organizations just to name a few. She is very excited to be at The Cove working with a great team for a great cause! When she’s not working, Britney enjoys spending time with her husband on his family’s farm, FaceTiming with her nephews and watching re-runs of Friends.


Britney Holy, Finance Manager


A proud native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, March graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in Language and Linguistics. She began her year of service as the AmeriCorps VISTA in November 2018. Her work as The Cove's VISTA has aided the organization's resource development, from donor management to giving Cove facility tours. In addition to working full-time at The Cove, March tutors English Language Learners (ELLs) from all over the world through Rosetta Stone. She is an Enneagram 9 wing 8 who enjoys learning about different cultures, talking about language and social justice, listening to music and hanging out with friends.


March Rivera, AmeriCorps VISTA


Landry is a current junior at Baylor University, studying journalism with a concentration in public relations and a minor in marketing. She is originally from Irving, Texas, but has found a deep love for the city of Waco and its people since being at Baylor. Landry has had experience working with nonprofits in Waco, and has since developed a passion for serving those in need in the Waco community. She says that her position at The Cove has already opened her up to life-changing experience and purpose as she works to bring light to The Cove’s missions and authentic love for Waco youth. When not at work or school, you may catch Landry working at the Waco Tours Mercantile, drinking unnecessary amounts of coffee, laughing with friends, or getting active at Cameron Park.


Landry Leatherwood, Public Relations and Marketing Associate


Emma Whitaker, Public Relations and Marketing Associate

Emma Whitaker is currently a senior at Baylor University studying journalism, public relations and new media, with a minor in art. Emma grew up and lived in Temple before attending Baylor. She has a heart for inner city youth and has worked for Kids Across America. Emma loves art and can be found freestyle painting in her free time. Emma is also a writer, passionate about social justice and works for Baylor’s newspaper, The Lariat. She is getting married this summer and can be found hanging out with her future husband.


Estie White, Business Associate

Estie graduated from Baylor University in May with a Bachelor of Social Work and a minor in Legal Reasoning and Analysis. This fall she will begin her Master of Social Work at the Diana A. Garland School of Social Work. Estie has always had a passion to pursue justice through providing aid to underserved youth. She desires for children to know their inherent worth and value so that they can find their voice and make this world a better place. She is originally from Ohio; however, she finished high school in Waco. In her free time she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family. 

We’re Hiring!

Job Title: Mentorship & Housing Coordinator

FLSA Status: Exempt/Salary

Reports To: Assistant Director

Location: Waco, TX

Position Type: Regular, Full-Time

Posted: July 2019

Click here for full job description

To Apply

Please submit a thoughtful cover letter and resume with at least two references to KayleighC@thecovewaco.org. Note that applications without a cover letter will not be considered. We respectfully request no phone calls.

Our Board of Directors 

David Brennan , Board Chair


Rosemary Townsend, Fundraising Chair and Co-Founder


Cheryl Pooler, Personnel Chair and Co-Founder 

Diana R Garland School of Social Work 

Amy Jimenez, Programming Chair

waco isd homeless student population specialist 

Stephen Orr, Finance Chair 

Community volunteer

Mary Perez, Board Secretary

Texas life insurance

Kim Ellis 

Waco isd homeless liaison

Shelly Spinks

Pattillo, brown, & hill, llc

Lute Barber 

Haley & Olson

Denise Anderson

Law office of nora farah

Kattina Bryant

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Lakia Scott

baylor university school of education; director of freedom schools, waco  

Chris Allen

Jobe’s company  

Jill Van Zee

baylor university department of human resources 



Corporate Partnerships


compassionate capitalism...

While maximizing the return to shareholders is a primary driver for corporate owners and executives, many business leaders are beginning to broaden their vision. Business can—in and of itself—be a force for good in communities by providing good products, providing jobs, and bolstering economies.

When shareholder values are maximized, there is often a ripple effect of benefit in a given community. However, when maximizing Profit becomes the sole driver for business decisions, People and the Planet can suffer. The concepts of “compassionate capitalism,” “a triple bottom line,” “social innovation,” “social entrepreneurship,” “Benefit Corporations” and “corporate social responsibility” have become more broadly used in the last decade, decrying a change in the landscape for both for-profit and non-profit entities.

Thirty years ago, some would have said, “You go into business to make money. You go into nonprofit work to make a difference in the world.” Today, those lines are blurred and there are an increasing number of ways for social purposes to be advanced through private enterprise.

The Cove is poised to partner with private corporations in ways that can provide meaningful ways to serve and much-needed resources to marginalized young people in our community.

To learn more about making a difference in Waco through corporate partnerships with The Cove, contact us at (254) 224-6095 or Kellya@thecovewaco.org.