Gina Bowser was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, to Pastor Willie and Janie Bowser. She grew up in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with her four siblings (one who is her identical twin) under the tutelage of her Christian parents.
Gina graduated from New Brunswick High School, earned an Associate of Arts degree from Middlesex County College and Computer Technology Certification from Somerset Technical Institute. Gina earned a bachelor’s degree in Religious education. She is presently employed as a Home Instruction Teacher for the Newark School System. Gina is a skilled choir director, a youth advisor, and a missionary at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, under the leadership of Pastor Deforest Buster Soaries. Gina serves on various boards throughout the community, interacting with families, juvenile offenders, and victims of violence. In addition, Gina received her one-year certification in prison and hospital chaplaincy. Her greatest joy is to empower youth, visit the ailing, and show the love of Jesus Christ to all.
Unimaginably, on July 14, 1997, Gina’s life was tragically changed when she lost her only child. Zakee Farah Bowser, a young man of honor and prestige, was shot and killed in a random shooting in his own community. He was 17 years old. Gina was empowered by her love of God to use her grief as a catalyst to rescue the lives of other youth, when she learned that her son used his last breath to call out to Jesus just before dying. On that very day, Gina vowed to help stop the violence and save youth from trivial acts of aggression and bloodshed in communities.
Because of her unstoppable quest, in 1999, Pastor Soaries invited her to be the national spokesperson for V-Free, an organization that promotes anti-violence in communities. Gina Bowser and Pam Corrente, two mothers of murdered youth, partnered together on a national billboard campaign effort to convey a heart-felt message, “Stop the violence; increase the peace.” Then, in 2007, Gina Bowser and four other mothers, who, also, lost their sons to violence, united forces and formed Mother’s Appeal.
Gina Bowser is currently the CEO and founder of the Zakee Bowser Enrichment Foundation (ZBEF) and executive director of the Rainbow of Hope Re-Entry Program, which provides counseling and case management to families with youth transitioning back into society after release from a JJC facility or residential program. The ZBEF, under Gina’s leadership, coordinates various outreach events, an annual Walk Against Violence Block Party, Gift of Love Christmas Toy Drive, Thanksgiving Food Drive, “Get Your School On” / Back to School supplies drive, and Scholarship Basketball Game. Since her son’s tragic death, in addition to founding ZBEF in 1998, Gina Bowser is a frequent guest panelist and speaker at anti-violence summits nationwide. She often speaks at inner-city schools, detention centers, and has motivated numerous youth to better their lives.
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