The story of The Serving In Paradise Foundation would not be well told without telling the story of our Founder, Dianelle Rivers-Mitchell. The purpose of our foundation is attributed to the roots of our founder who at the tender age of 11 felt called to help those in the same circumstances as her own.
Originally from Mobile, Alabama during the 80s, she grew up in predominantly underserved communities. The landscape of the time meant that gaining access to adequate opportunities, more so for black women, was an unending uphill battle. As the oldest of three siblings to a single mother, Dianelle took on the responsibility to care for her family and through such developed a spirit of servitude.. This very spirit is what moved her to respond to commercials of organizations doing philanthropic work for those in less fortunate, overlooked communities such as her own around the world.
Danny’s idea of the world within her reach shifted after a 7th grade trip to Washington DC where she describes entering into the city “as if it was from black and white picture to color”. This trip had been so important to Dianelle that her mother pawned their television and VCR to make it possible for her to go. Lo and behold – the experience completely changed her mindset and made way for who she has become, living a metropolitan lifestyle. The representation she saw gave her the confidence to believe that anything was possible for her and others like her.
As adolescents raised in underserved communities quickly find out, Danny had aspirations to go to college but understood that getting a job to maintain herself and assist her family was what her mother required of her, so she enlisted in the army where she served 4 years. Bittersweet as it may have been, Danny understood that leaving Mobile was vital to the next phase of her life. After her time in the army, she began to find various ways to serve communities:
- Starting with running a successful, 15 year residential cleaning business named Elegant Domestic Services;
- To serving at Hug It Forward, a Guatemalan volunteerism NPO where she lent a hand to building 3 Bottle Schools in 2014 – 2016;
- And to birthing a global travel brand dedicated to the exploration of black women, named Black Girls Travel Too
In 2017 she applied for the 501c3 and has since been Serving In Paradise, with the end goal of gaining knowledge and building relationships with key leaders in the communities the foundation wishes to serve in, by way of enabling access to opportunities for growth and development.