UnifiEd Board Candidate
Having been a vulnerable student (POC, queer, and disabled), I have seen and experienced the effects of a lackluster education with priorities benefitting those in power. My frustration and experiences led me to pursue my social work education that ended in August with my MSW in Organizational Leadership and Policy Practice. My experience in schools as a mental health educator, organizing in university, and my hope for a Chattanooga that puts the power in the hands of the affected and the few, led me to my current position as a Community Organizer with CALEB (Chattanoogans in Action for Love, Equality, and Benevolence).
Through my work with CALEB, I was introduced to UnifiEd and the amazing work and mission you all have, and I quickly became a member. As the organizer of CALEBs Education Reform task force, I have had the opportunity to actively work towards a more equitable and safe public-school experience for our community's youth. Regardless of the outcome of this election, my pursuit of uplifting youth in schools through mental health support, diversity and inclusion within the curriculum, educator representation, and policies will continue because my communities deserve better and more, and I believe in a Chattanooga that can provide that.
UnifiEd Membership Committee Chair Candidate
Being able to work in an array of Non-Profit Organizations as well as the Public School System and in a variety of different cultural areas has allowed me to deeply understand and experience the importance of the connection between education and the community. During my time at the Boys and Girls Clubs, Youth and Family Development Centers, and Mental Health Facilities, my emphasis was to create sustainable partnerships with individuals and organizations in the business, art, public education, and higher education communities. These partnerships and relationships benefited both the young people in my programs and the local community. Because I am so passionate about creating and sustaining these connections, the work that UnifiEd was doing through the APEX project initially drew me into the organization in 2018. After being involved with one of the APEX action teams and volunteering at other events, I joined the new UnifiEd Membership Committee. I am excited to continue this work by serving as the Membership Board Chair.
I first started working in youth development full-time in 2006. Since then, I have had the honor of serving “at-risk” youth in Knoxville, Colorado (specifically the Navajo and Ute Nations), Memphis, and now Chattanooga. This work has included after-school organizations, detention facilities, mental health facilities, and the public education system. After relocating to Chattanooga in 2016, I spent several years at Brainerd High School before transitioning to the TRIO programs through UTC in the fall of 2019. I am also a local working artist and have collaborated with several other incredible female teaching artists to create an arts-based initiative within local schools. Believing that young people drive social change, this program teaches students to respond to and create narratives about issues that concern them through large installation artwork. My experience over the past years has allowed me to explore creative ways for community members and students to interact and benefit from each other.
I am excited about exploring new ways to engage our UnifiEd members. By expanding the membership, strengthening the membership committee, and creating collaborative relationships, we can create a more equitable school system and community!