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My name is Marla (they/she). I was born and raised in the midwest by a white cis woman and Black cis man both born in the early 50s and by my maternal grandmother who was born in the mid-1930s. I'm a small-bodied, multiply neurodivergent, Black, biracial, disabled, light skinned, genderqueer, queer femme in my 30s. I’m a US citizen who was raised with English as my first language in a home with mixed dialects. I come from a mixed class of peoples — farmers, veterans, social workers, teachers, care-takers, and so on. Each of these things I’ve named impacts how I move through the world. They shape my perspective, my privilege, my marginalization, and I work everyday to unlearn what has been passed down to me from family & culture & systems that are rooted in colonization. I strive to be a human who tends to self, to others, and to the earth. 


I first came to 18 Springs in 2018, not long after moving to Winston-Salem. In 2019 I began as a volunteer to rebuild the website. Soon I was sitting in on advisory board (now called the governing council) meetings and contributing to discussions that would clarify the mission and vision of 18 Springs as we closed in on becoming a nonprofit. In 2020 I was offered a part-time position. The founder (my sweet friend), Sydney Hughes McGee, created an environment that allowed me to flourish and stand in my power, while also honoring my accessibility needs. She gave me the opportunity to be part of the roots of 18 Springs, in policy building, social justice consultation, work culture creation, teacher guidelines, general operations, teacher and public engagement and relationship building, and so much more. I have always been a leader, but within this organization I have lived into that leadership. As I continue forward on my path to pursuing my dreams, 18 Springs remains an anchor in my life. I’m still a (very) part-time contractor who manages teacher communications, newsletters, and other marketing outlets.


So, if you’d like to offer a class or an event here or have general questions, please reach out to me at


I hope you’ll try out one of the sweet offerings that we have here and maybe you’ll find a home, like I did. 

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