LIME Foundation founder and business owner, Letitia Hanke, was bullied in school, and she credits her love of and involvement in music for insulating her during those difficult years.
“There were not many black students in the entire (elementary) school, and for years kids called me names and physically and mentally abused me,” says Hanke who was taken aside by a teacher and encouraged and taught to play trumpet.
Hanke retreated from the cruelty of the playground and practiced her instrument in the music classroom, eventually earning herself a spot in the high school band. The teens with whom she played stood up for her, and “things turned around for me,” she says, “as I got older and made many friends.”
Today, Hanke owns a roofing company, a career path that began “by accident” during her college years as a Sonoma State performing arts student in need of a job. “I wanted to be rock star,” she says.
It could be argued that she did become a rockstar. While her music-making (songwriting, singing keyboards, and drumming) happens mostly in her home studio today, Hanke is a champion for youth and others in need of mentoring and career training through her programs at the LIME Foundation. The organization will be holding its 2nd Annual Believe in the Dream event on September 14 to raise funds for its programs.
Believe in the Dream will be presented at Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa and will feature entertainment by Lime Foundation-funded Turner Initiative scholarship recipients, 17-year-old vocalist, Natalie Moss, and the New World Ballet Center.
Hosting the event will be Sonoma County-based personal stylist and fashion writer, Malia Anderson, of Style By Malia, whose company tagline includes the charge to “envision your closet as an ally.” Clearly, empowerment is on the evening’s program.
Auction items will include massages, amusement park tickets, vacations to Tahoe and Vegas and more.
Hanke says the evening benefits programs designed to help young people who face challenges similar to what she’s experienced. Her NextGen Trades academy trains 16-24 year-olds in construction trades, with an emphasis on women. A graduate who earned a full time position for a construction firm will be speaking at the event.
Malia Anderson appears on a video on LIME’s website, describing Hanke’s leadership style as, “very hands-on and very compassionate.” Andersen says, “It’s not, ‘What do I get as the head of the company?’— It’s, ‘How do we all succeed?’”
Yes, definitely a rockstar.