MEET THE CHANGE AGENTS...

Tiffany Younger

Tiffany is the founder of the Social Change Agents Institute, a project that brings scholars, professionals, and educators to developing countries to offer free mental health services and social change workshops in developing countries of the African Diaspora such as South Africa, Brazil and Haiti. Prior to running the institute, Tiffany worked as a Policy Fellow for United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand where she focused on issues of criminal justice, gender and race equity.

 

Tiffany also served as a Civic Engagement Director at the YMCA of Greater New York. She managed over 20 staff and was responsible for helping teenagers learn how to draft legislation through the Youth in Government program. Tiffany was appointed the YMCA’s Change Agent for New York City for her progress and accomplishments in youth development. This distinction enabled her to work with various young professionals throughout the world to create a national YMCA strategy to address poverty. In the summer of 2013, she was one of the facilitators at the YMCA’s Youth Festival in Prague; this international experience awakened a desire to have an impact beyond her role with the YMCA.

Tiffany obtained her bachelors in English Literature from Hunter College and her Masters Degree in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. Currently, Tiffany is enrolled in the doctoral program at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and serves as a Lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work and an adjunct professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

Founder

Vonne Williams

Vonne Williams received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronic Technology from Norfolk State University. After serving her country for six years as a communications officer in the United States Army, Vonne went on to supporting clients in accounting, taxation, and financial advisement for the past fifteen years. She takes pride in being a profit and growth coach and supporting her clients to maximize on every financial opportunity available to them. Vonne began her journey with the Social Change Agent Institute as a change agent, and continues a life of being in service.

Team Lead

Waffiyah Saleem

Waffiyah Saleem is the founder of SHE MATTERS, a movement to transition women’s pain into purpose. Waffiyah is committed to being an advocate for abused and neglected children and women. Waffiyah committed ten years as a professional advocate for abused and neglected children. During Waffiyah’s tenure at DCP&P (Division of Child Protection and Permanency) as a Family Service Specialist and Special Response Unit Worker in  NJ, Ms. Saleem advised the office’s Steering Committee and Worker’s Safety Group. Ms. Saleem also developed a training presentation, “Connection through Vision,” for Essex County DCP&P Offices to support team building, office morale, and vision.

Team Lead

Kashera Booker

Kashera Booker attended Morgan State University, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. Here she established herself as a leader through her academics and volunteer experience by joining the Alpha Delta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and serving as Assistant Coordinator for Sisters Advancing Sisterhood in Youth (SASY). As a founding funder and Project Manager for the Social Change Agent Institute, Kashera is committed to being a catalyst for change globally. Kashera believes that sharing knowledge and experience to forward others is one of the highest forms of being in service. When purpose meets empowerment, advocacy and engagement: individuals become better people, better people make better communities, and better communities create a better WORLD!

Project Manager

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Spring & Summer 2020 CHANGE AGENTS Cohort...

Jenny Ariza-Umana

Jenny was born and raised on Long Island, NY by South and Central American immigrants. 

Before attending graduate school, Jenny graduated with a BA in Sociology from the University at Albany. After graduation, she began working as a receptionist at a mental health clinic, quickly moving up in the agency to become and Employment Specialist at a PROS program. Jenny received her CASAC-T and began facilitating mental health and chemical dependency groups at the program. Each of her groups focused on teaching the group members skills that would allow them to become advocates for themselves and others like them. Jenny also worked with group members to dismantle the institutionalization that they experienced from years of being placed in mental institutions, drug rehabs, and prisons. She organized various seminars and workshops with community organizers that would allow her group members to know their rights as participants of treatment facilities, as well as their legal rights. Upon graduating with her MSW, Jenny would like to focus her career in advocacy and community organization. Jenny’s goal in life is to use her privilege as an educated bilingual Latina and provide others with similar opportunities that she has been offered.

Wendy Beltre

Wendy is a first year Social Work graduate student who has a background in mental health and working as an educator with young men and their families in low-income and under-resourced neighborhoods in case management and in college/career preparation services. Wendy’s passion for social justice and social change began as a youth in which she was an active participant in her community, advocating for youth empowerment through her participation in a community activist youth group. Wendy continues to have a passion for educating youth and their families, in mental health in order to de-stigmatize it within black and brown communities. However, she is also interested in learning and obtaining the information and resources to impact social change within communities in need.

Tanya Briggs

My name is Tanya Briggs, I am a 37-year-old African American woman from Harlem, New York. I have an undergraduate degree in political science from CUNY City College, because once upon a time I wanted to become an attorney. However, I discovered that my purpose and passion in life is social work. I am currently attending my second year at Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work with a concentration in clinical study. I currently work for the Administration for Children Service as a community coordinator, and I absolutely love working with children and families. Some of my favorite things to do is, spending time with my friends and family, journal writing, reading, and listening to music.

Anshera Galan

Anshera Galan is a  bright, motivated, and courageous woman. She earned her Bachelor's Degree from Emory University in French and a minor in African American Studies. She is currently attending Columbia University for her  Master’s in Policy Practice and International Social Welfare in the school of social work. Anshera has developed a passion for social justice, child advocacy and women empowerment. Her primary objective is to tackle issues that affect underrepresented communities worldwide and make an impact through leadership services.

Alexis Hyatt

Alexis Hyatt (she/her/hers) is an artist currently residing in Harlem. She is an M.S.W. candidate at Columbia University and has an undergrad degree from Florida International University where she received her bachelor's degree in Sociology and a certificate in Black Global Studies. Her research is based on how restorative practices are used to be culturally responsive to systems involved Black girls. She uses restorative practices to address the cultural uniqueness of Black girls in order to create a safe space for them to be their authentic selves and has worked on precharge divergent cases in partnership with the State of Florida using restorative justice to avoid girls of color from being charged as adults. She uses the power of narrative to create windows to different cultures and lived experiences in order to have an array of perspectives on how to best serve targeted communities.

Rachel Kessler

Rachel Kessler was born and raised in Northern California although currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a BFA in photography from The School of Visual Arts, a certification in addiction counseling from Austin Community College, and is currently a MSW student at New York University Silver School of Social Work. After obtaining her license as a Chemical Dependency Counselor she realized that in order to treat trauma and farther facilitate impactful and sustainable change in the field of substance abuse treatment she needed to further her education. Rachel has a strong motivation to not only assist individuals in her community but also those abroad.

Andee Pace

My name is Andee Pace and I was born and raised in White Plains, New York. My future concentration is working with adults to diminish stigmas regarding therapy. I have worked in child welfare program and policy for nearly 20 years. It is important for me now to focus on the difficulties adults and parents face and help them to address them.  I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University and I am working towards obtaining my Master of Social Work in Community Organization Planning and Development at the Silberman School of Social Work. I will be serving as a change agent on the Ghana trip where I hope to engage in mental health work with young people around trauma. 

Renita Pagan

Renita Pagan is a Puerto Rican-African American woman from Peekskill, N.Y. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Monroe College. She is expected to graduate in August 2020 with a Master of Science from Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. Renita is dedicated to helping others who are battling mental illness, addiction, and homelessness, and advocates for inner city youth. Due to her experience with the homeless population and disadvantage youth in NYC, Renita has developed a housing readiness pilot and a young women’s mentoring program called OURS: Outstanding United Resilient Sisters to address the needs of these individuals. Renita will focus on changing the life outcomes of disadvantaged youth and chronically homeless individuals by exploring cognitive behavior treatment and trauma informed treatment.

Jessica Schneider

My name is Jessica Schneider, and I am in the dual MPH/MSW program at Columbia University. I studied public health at Emory University and then after graduation continued on to do City Year in the South Bronx. Following this experience, I worked abroad in Tel Aviv, Zambia, and Cape Town focusing on social work in a medical setting, gender equality, and health education. I am passionate about international development and hope to combine these two degrees to increase access to quality education and medical care for women and children along with creating replicable spaces for vulnerable conversations to take place by changing the structures of communities in developing country contexts.

Kayla Small

My name is Kayla Small. I am a second year, Clinical track, Master’s student at Hunter College – Silberman School of Social Work. My passion to advocate and implement change, has aligned me to my current career path. Each day is a new opportunity for me to learn more about myself, and/or gain knowledge about others, to effectively assist in tackling oppressive factors. This journey, to say the least, has never been simple; but the dedication behind the passion has led me to where I am, and where I am going.

Melissa Springs

Melissa Springs has a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a Concentration in Public Management from Marist College and a Bachelor of Science in Ministry and Bible.

Melissa has advocated for women behind bars through her philanthropy work with the Women’s Prison Association (WPA) and served as a mentor to women returning home after serving prison sentences. She currently spends time with Echoes of Incarceration youth with incarcerated parents. Every summer, Melissa recruit young people between the age of fifteen and nineteen impacted by the immigration or criminal justice systems for the Liberation Summer Advocacy Training Camp in New York City (AFSC program). Melissa serves as a Northeast Regional Executive Committee and Board Program Committee member of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), she also sits on the board of Houses on the Moon Theater Company which helps communities come together by making meaningful connections through the public sharing of their untold stories. She was also a 2017/2018 Beyond the Bars Fellow at the Center for Justice at Columbia University. In Summer 2019, Melissa joined the Social Change Agent Institute as a change agent in South Africa and looks forward to continuing as a change agent in Kenya in March 2020.

Sanda Stollar

Sandra Stollar was born in Jamaica, West Indies. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The New School in New York City. She is currently completing her Masters’ Degree at Hunter College, Silberman School of Social Work, Degree in Clinical Social Work. Sandra is currently working with elementary and middle school children and families with a history of on-going trauma. Sandra is interested in addressing cognitive behavior and the environment. How does our environment affect our behavior?

Zahir Ynoa

My name is Zahir Ynoa born in the Dominican Republic but raised in New York City, Dyckman Street to be exact.  I am a first generation college student/graduate. Graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Child and Family Studies: Child Development with a Spanish minor from Syracuse University.  In 2018 I obtained my Masters of Science in School Counseling at Mercy College. I am now expected to graduate in 2021 with my Masters of Science degree in Social work from Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work.  I am currently working at a High school charter school in the South Bronx as a Guidance Counselor/College Advisor. I am very passionate with my career and I truly love what I do. I enjoy the impact I can make in the student's lives and I like being a part of their journey towards growth and success.  As a single mother of an 11 year old boy I want to ensure that he has as many opportunities possible and that I open those doors for him to achieve his dreams. However, I do not only want to open create a path for him but also for the youth in the communities I grew up in that may not have the resources available to them.

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