Kitwana Cottonham – 202Love, Inc.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Kitwana Cottonham

I am Kitwana Cottonham, a Louisiana girl living in this Texas world. I am a proud HBCU graduate- Southern University-Baton Rouge, La. Current Recruiter with experience in Claims, Marketing, and Leadership Training with a Fortune 50 company for 20+ years. 

On the personal side, for over five years, I served as the High School Girls Ministry Leader, FireHouse Student Ministry at Potters House North Church. I have to mention that because it is what led me to one of my greatest accomplishments, founder of 202Love, Inc., and the reason why we are talking today. This is where I began to understand my purpose and my connection with the next generation. It is my purpose to help them along their journey, to help them see their potential and a pathway to make it come true. Before 202Love was formed, I was already doing the work. Now, I am able to do it my way and pay tribute to my village at the same time.  

You have a non-profit, how did that come about?

The name of my organization is 202Love. 202 represents the number that was on the house that raised me. That’s where it all started. As I got older and started hearing friends’ stories of growing up, I began to realize the gift of being in that house and loved by those that walked in and out of those doors. I wanted to share that with other teens and pay tribute to the residents of that house at the same time. 

I have always felt a connection with youth and worked with different ages over the last 10+ years in various capacities with different organizations. I would often look for organizations to join or volunteer. 

During a brief health issue before Covid, I was forced to be at home to rest and recover. Dealing with the health concerns put me in a low emotional state. However, the only thing I did want to do during that time, was continue my work with the youth. At that time, I was a leader in our high school girl’s ministry at my church. Shoutout to FireHouse at The Potters House of North Dallas! The only thing I had energy and passion for was making sure my team was prepared to lead our girls. I still planned their sessions and had our conference calls with the team every week. 

All of this led me to realize working with the youth was my passion. I have had several situations where young girls whom I had never met, would pull me to the side and tell me their story. Some would be dealing with bullying, family situations, depression, etc. Many grew to trust me and see me as someone they could talk to about anything. Their parents trusted me as well. That’s when I started to figure out that this work was also my purpose and current assignment. From that realization, 202Love was created. 

Where does your passion to be of service to your community come from? 

Great question. I would say it goes back to 202, the house that raised me. I saw my mom, other family members, and my village always help others. At any time, someone was helping neighbors or volunteering at school or church. I can’t say it was something that was discussed. It was more shown and it became second nature. 

Where do you see your brand/business/passion in the next 5 years?

Let’s talk about where we are today first. As I stated earlier, 202 is the number on the house that raised me. In that house, I was seen, heard, loved, protected, and corrected. The people that came in and out of that house had expectations of me. They believed in me. They were not perfect by any means but I knew they were there for me. I had struggles just like any other teen which included doubt, insecurities, comparison, etc. The village was always there to help. 

That is what 202Love is. It’s the extended village that is here to be another guiding, supporting voice for our teens. We specialize in creating a safe environment that lays the foundation to allow our teens to connect and grow. We see that clearly in our key program, Girls That S.P.A.R.K. for girls ages 13-17. We are now on our 2nd class and they are set to graduate in Oct. 

I am most proud of the bond they have created so quickly. Our girls look forward to our mentoring sessions and events. They feel safe enough to share and respect each other enough to listen. They encourage each other. I call it a SPARK SQUAD and I love it. I remember how important having a space like that was for me as a teen and proud to say that we help create that for them. Having this environment helps us to talk about the 5 pillars of the program: Self Purpose, Action, Responsibility, and Knowledge We also include yoga, meditation, community service, and exposure experiences. We tell them the SPARK is never just for them, it’s for others too. It’s to help light up every room they are in. They understand their light is also there to light up someone else’s as well. 

I guess I can say I’m somewhat of a “teen whisperer”. As I worked with youth, they always seemed to gravitate towards me and would share things with me that they would be hesitant to share with others. They can be very good people readers and I think they see me as someone they can trust. I always approach them intending to build a relationship first vs. trying to fix them or change them. I show a consistent interest in them as a whole. I am always real with them. That approach has always proven to be the best for knocking down the wall they put up and again, creating that space that allows them to connect and grow. 

Where do you see your brand/business/passion in the next 5 years?

In 5 years, I want to see our program, Girls That S.P.A.R.K., and the 202Love name associated with key community events that better our youth. I am working now to build relationships that would allow us to have a consistent presence in schools and cities. I see corporations recognizing our work and impact leading to more funding. I see us doing Girls That S.P.A.R.K. camps along with an online version for our long-distance “SPARKS”. Growth also looks like adding to our board and volunteer group. I want to be a collab partner with other nonprofits to widen our reach and impact. I want to do more interviews and podcasts to spread the word about the 202Love work. I see more merch flooding the streets and a few other ideas that our real CEO, God, has been mentioning. That seems like a lot in 5 years but I feel like we’ve done a lot in 2 years. No need to stop now!! 

What has been your biggest accomplishment and why?

Execution has been my biggest accomplishment. When I first started, my biggest challenge was me. 

Looking back, I was questioning everything. Where would the needed support come from for our programs? Will the teens come? Will they like it? Why do I think I can do this? Who am I? 

I’m so glad I didn’t listen to ME! For every question or doubt I had, solutions and support came right with them. It got to a point where I had to trust that God had given me this vision and would provide what I needed along the way. He hasn’t missed anything yet! 

What message is on your heart to share right now?

My message to anyone that has a vision or idea…Don’t let YOU stop YOU!

Try not to focus so much on having the answers to all the “ who, what, when, where, and how” questions. All the “How will I do this? How will I pay for this? Who is going to support it? How will this work?, etc, ” Don’t let that be your focus. Identify your why and get to work. Trust that if God gave you a plan or a vision, then He will give you what you need when you need it from where He decides it should come from. That mindset will free your creativity and your confidence to get the job done. 

My message would be simply… DON’T LET YOU STOP YOU!  

How can people get in contact with you? What’s up next for you?

·      Website:

·      Instagram:

·      Facebook:

·      Linkedin:

This is the She is the Ish magazine, so tell me, what makes you the ISH? 

Alignment and Authenticity. I call it the Double-A effect. I am clear on my purpose. It is to help the next generation. Everything I do is aligned with and goes back to that point. Everything I do has to be true to who I am. Being authentic is the game changer. I will miss out every time if I am not my true, God-designed self-flaws and all. He is strategic and intentional. How he created me is key to who He will put in front of me. He is preparing them now for my voice, my thinking, my creativity, etc. If I don’t show up as me and who He intended, then I could lose the chance to make a positive impact.

I’m working to stay aligned and to stay authentic. That is what makes me the ISH! 

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