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We are the Hampton Opportunities Initiative (HOI)

Our Board includes leaders with diverse backgrounds of expertise and service to the community who are dedicated to investing in the future of Hampton through improving the lives and educational opportunities of the city’s children.  We resonate with the motto of Hampton City Schools: “Every Child, Every Day, Whatever It Takes.”  We believe that, by improving their ability to learn at grade level & beyond and providing them with positive role models, every child in Hampton can reach their fullest potential and live a life of purpose and achievement.

Meet The Board

Freddy Villarreal

Freddy is the founder and Senior Pastor of Freedom Life Church in Hampton VA, a multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-site church which has proudly served the Hampton Roads community for the past 13 years.  His passion is to mobilize people for community transformation. 
He is involved with several organizations that seek to continually improve partnership between the faith-based community and the city of Hampton. Some of these organizations include the Virginia Unity Project and the Peninsula Baptist Assocation. 
Freddy is married and he and his wife, Jen, have five children. 
Freddy graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelors of Science in Religion and a Masters in Organizational Leadership. 

Teresa Schmidt

Teresa takes great pleasure in serving the citizens of Hampton by holding a seat on the Hampton City Council for the past 3 years along with other boards related to city business.  
She has taken on the duty of assistant administrative director and treasurer of Community Presbyterian Preschool since 1994. 
Teresa is a covenant partner of Freedom Life Church, serves on H.E.L.P. (Hampton Ecumenical Lodgings Provision) and co-leads a women’s bible study group at Community Presbyterian Church. 
With her husband of 32 years, Teresa and Leonard raised 3 sons in Hampton and now have five grandchildren. 
Teresa graduated from Old Dominion University in 1985 with a bachelors in Computer Science. 


Karen Brown

Karen D. Brown was born and raised in Hampton.  She attended Kecoughtan High School and Hampton Institute, now Hampton University.  After moving several times with her family, and graduating from George Mason University School of Law, she returned to Hampton in 1994 when her husband retired from the United States Navy.  She began a legal career as a state prosecutor with a focus on child sexual assault cases and she worked with victims of violent crimes.  
Karen recently retired from the practice of law and devotes her time to caring for her grandmother and assisting with her church, Freedom Life.  She teaches the New Believer’s Life Group and a study of the Seven Motivation Gifts.   


Melanie Lassiter

Melanie Lassiter is the Church and Community Ministry Director for the Peninsula Baptist Association.  She has lived in Newport News all her life, minus four semesters at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Therefore, she has a care for the Hampton Roads communities.


Melanie has been married to her wonderful husband, Devin, since 2012.  2012 is when she also graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelors of Arts in social work.  May 2017 Melanie and Devin celebrated their first child, Dalton, being born.  


Melanie is a covenant partner of Freedom Life Church and focuses a lot of attention to the partnership between Freedom Life and Burbank Elementary.  

Chuck Macri

Chuck serves as Senior Associate Pastor of Discipleship at Freedom Life Church in Hampton.   He is also volunteer Affiliate Staff with Campus Crusade’s Military Ministry, leading a weekly bible study at Langley AFB.  
A resident of Hampton for almost 40 years, he volunteered for many years with the Philips Athletic Association and supported outreach activities for the homeless through H.E.L.P. (Hampton Ecumenical Lodgings Provision). 
He and his wife, Karen, have been married for 37 years and raised a son & four daughters in Hampton and have two grandsons. 
Chuck graduated from Stevens Tech with a Bachelors in Engineering and from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Masters in Biblical & Theological Studies.  He has 30 years active & reserve service in the Air Force, retiring as a Colonel in 2009.

Lori Ward

Lori landed at Fort Monroe in 1974 as the daughter of an Army officer.  Since then, she has considered herself a Hampton native, attending Phoebus High School and Thomas Nelson Community College.


She has been the Preschool Director of an early childhood education program in Hampton for the past 23 years.  Lori is also the Director of Scholarships and Special Programs for the Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia.


Lori and her husband Kenny reside in Hampton and have been married 36 years.  They have a two adult children. She is a covenant partner of Freedom Life Church and has co-led a high school girl’s life group and Bible study for 14 years.

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