Youth Action Project Team Members

Ananda Mirilli: WPC National Team & YAP Logistics Coordinator

Ananda is a native from Brazil and has a long history of working with communities in the U.S. and abroad. At age 14 she became a social justice activist in her community and while living in Brazil she worked with children with different abilities, seniors experiencing poverty, and youth experiencing homelessness. After moving to the U.S. Ananda coupled her commitment to social justice to educational, leadership and equity and founded Vortices Consulting, a firm that supports organizations on their commitment to development and transformation of educational, equity and inclusion initiatives. Ananda holds a master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Psychology.

Jules Skloot: YAP Facilitator

Jules Skloot is a dancer, choreographer, teaching artist and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Jules received a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA in dance from Sarah Lawrence College. As a white, Jewish, queer, working artist and transperson, Jules is committed to transformation at the place where spiritual work, social justice work, and artistic practice overlap, connecting movement to “The Movement” through embodied practice. Jules teaches dance and health classes at the Brooklyn Friends School, leads various movement practice classes and anti-oppression trainings and workshops at other schools, universities, and organizations, and is Associate Director of a spiritually based, arts and outdoor, social justice focused summer camp for young people in Northern, VA. Jules is very excited to join the YAP team this year. Why YAP & Youth Institutes? Young people know what is up! Young people can courageously dream, envision, and enact liberation in ways that older people have often forgotten how to access! In order to dismantle systems oppression we will need a multi/inter-generational coalition of people thinking, listening, and participating together.

Bevelyn Afor Ukah: YAP Facilitator, High School Institute Facilitator

Bevelyn Afor Ukah has built her life engaging how to co-build learning spaces that focus on building humanity and justice in community.  She received her BA in International Studies and Sociology/Anthropology and MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership and Management.  Bevelyn is a youth organizer with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) in North Carolina, supporting a network of youth (Food Youth Initiative) who are doing food justice work across the state of North Carolina.  She also works heavily on supporting a statewide network of adult allies and foodies who are committed to racial equity in our food system.  She has also been committed to exploring ways to support youth travel as platform for building equity, justice mindedness and global awareness.

Jeffrey Cox: YAP Outreach Coordinator & Curriculum Specialist

Jeffrey Cox, LCSW, formerly a professional modern dancer, received an undergraduate degree in Dance from SUNY Brockport. He later obtained a master’s degree from Hunter College School of Social Work. As a clinical social worker and diversity consultant in New York City for the past 21 years, Jeffrey has spearheaded several anti-racist and social justice initiatives within public and private schools throughout the tri-state area. In 2004 he began working at the Brooklyn Friends School where he organized trainings for faculty and staff in anti-racist education through the “Undoing Racism Workshops” conducted by The People’s Institute. For the past 10 years Jeffrey has presented and co-presented workshops at national diversity conferences throughout the United States such as New York State Association for Independent Schools Diversity Forum, National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference, WPC Middle School Institute (co-organizer), and WPC-Youth Action Project (co-facilitator). Why YAP & Youth Institutes? Because America’s future depends on it.

Jazelyn Montanez: YAP Team Coordinator & Curriculum Specialist

Jazelyn Montanez is an alum of Brooklyn Friends School, who returned to her Alma Mater in 2003 as an Athletic coach for the Middle & Upper School divisions and taught in the auxiliary programming in the Lower School. Presently she is working in the Preschool as a Floating Assistant & After School Teacher. Her involvement in Diversity & Social Justice work within the school began in 2011 which include facilitating in Undoing Racism, YAP, and assisted in developing programming and curriculum. Her interests in social justice advocacy work stems from her drive to create spaces where students can be better equipped with the tools and critically think to become change makers. She looks forward to her fourth year with YAP at WPC. Why YAP & Youth Institutes? Sharing knowledge is powerful tap into a most creative and innovative resource for change. It's always great to see students challenging themselves to dig deep, build bridges and cultivate mindful and connected communities.   

Rosetta Lee: Middle School Institute Facilitator

Rosetta Lee is an educator and Outreach Specialist at Seattle Girls’ School in Seattle, Washington. Since 2004, Rosetta has been a diversity speaker and trainer on a variety of issues, including cross cultural communication, identity development, prejudice reduction and coalition building, gender and sexuality diversity, facilitation skills, bullying in schools, and gender bias in the classroom. She has worked with over 175 K-12 public and independent schools throughout the country, as well as a number of colleges and universities. She has served several years on the faculty of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Summer Diversity Institute, as well as NAIS' diversity think-tank cadre, Call to Action. Why YAP & Youth Institutes? Youth can discuss often untold truths of the world, learn and practice the tools for change, and harness their creativity, optimism, resilience, and passion toward justice. They are inheriting the future - they deserve and know how to shape it into one they want to live.

Jada Monica Drew: YAP Director & Curriculum Specialist

Jada Monica Drew is an international educator passionate about creating learning spaces that empower people for social change. Her first book Revolutionize Now: Creative Leadership & Action for Social Change is being used as a training tool and a resource to guide people to actionable change. Jada’s passion for equity and justice are present in her interactive workshop designs, lectures, and keynote appearances. With over 10 years of experience, she is an executive diversity & leadership trainer of Social Designs and the director of Change Institute, a global travel leadership program for high school students. She received a BS in Psychology from Guilford College and a MS in Global & International Education from Drexel University. Learn more about Jada at www.jadamonicadrew.com. Why YAP & Youth Institutes? The youth experience a connection with each other grounded in peer connection, the arts, and a systemic understanding of injustice. There is synergy that propels them to create innovative strategy for action.

Tiffany Taylor Smith: WPC National Team & YAP Liaison

Tiffany Taylor Smith, M.S. Ed. is founder of Culture Learning Partners a consulting firm focused on building better cross-cultural relationships and increasing cultural awareness in schools, businesses and community organizations. She is an independent school Trustee, parent and educator. Prior to consulting she spent 10 years in human resource development, diversity, and sales management at Procter & Gamble. One of her final projects with P&G was to develop an internal system designed to retain and develop minority and women employees. Her upcoming book, “The Unwritten Rules of Success in U.S. Culture" will be released in the spring of 2017. She received her Master’s Degree in Education specializing in Counseling and Personnel Services from Fordham University and Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Rochester.

Durryle Brooks: YAP Facilitator, High School Institute Facilitator

Durryle Brooks is budding researcher, activist-scholar, and diversity and equity practitioner. He is a first generation college student in his fourth year doctoral experience in Education. He specifically focuses on social justice education pedagogy and praxis. With an eclectic educational background in religious studies, sexuality studies, and social justice education, Durryle has worked locally, nationally, and internationally to address and redress issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia at the individual as well as the systemic levels. As a national trainer, Durryle has worked with organizations such as Leadershape, the Racial Justice Institute at Creating Change Conference, and the Social Justice Training Institute, which provides participants with opportunities to deeply explore what it means to effectively lead within the context of complex, intersecting, and interconnected realities of race, gender, and sexuality. Why YAP: Durryle strives to live up to his father’s favorite maxim: “If I can help somebody as I pass along, If I can cheer somebody with well song, if I can show someone they have traveled wrong, than my living has not been in vain.”

Keira Wilson: YAP Facilitator, High School Institute Facilitator

Keira is a longtime proponent of civics and service. As program coordinator she works with the Pace Center's Breakout Princeton and Pace Council for Civic Values programs. When not hard at work at Princeton, she serves as a member and party coordinator for the Camp Diversity Working Group of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. Hailing from the sleepy town of Bellefonte, Pa. she still enjoys hiking and camping with her dog, Wynn. Keira holds a Masters of Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Guilford College, and was named Staff Person of the Year for the 2014 National Alternative Break Awards by Break Away, a nonprofit support organization for alternative break trip programs.

Leah Ann Dunbar: YAP Facilitator, High School Institute Facilitator

Leah Dunbar has been teaching high school for fifteen years, following twin Rena to Eugene, Oregon, after earning her MA in Women’s Writing from University of Essex (UK). Eighteen years and two strong-willed children later (Solstice and Jameson), Leah parents, reads, dances, runs, and has been facilitating Courageous Conversations since 2008. Aside from her children and ‘CC’, Leah credits ‘Weapon of Choice: Voice!’ (the spoken-word open mic she and a class of 10 brilliant ‘Alt-ed’ students began in response to 9/11) as the work she’s most proud of. Two mottos guide her Courageous work: ‘Encourage your hopes, not your fears’, and a line from Rumi: ‘The wound is where the light enters you’. Being situated as a Bi-racial woman in America means one’s body serves as bridge between the American dream and the nightmares hidden in our histories, and Leah believes that examining both the ‘truths and myths’ within our personal and collective stories are crucial in finding our way to our authentic voice, and the recognition of our shared humanity.

Rena Dunbar: YAP Facilitator, Middle School Institute Facilitator

Rena Dunbar is older than Leah by thirteen minutes. She considers activism “her rent for living on this planet”, as her favorite author – Alice Walker says. Being born Bi-racial in a racialized society, seemed to make this motto an inevitability. Luckily, she shares this mission with her identical twin. Although certified as a teacher in Language Arts, Rena has used the classroom, writing, storytelling, and story-sharing to help facilitate a deeper understanding of how each student’s personal identity is connected to the collective one. Rena helped create the Peace Village program at Network Charter School as well as the class, “Coming Of Age In The Age Of Apocalypse’ - a class that examines the power of story and ritual to create and shift cultural beliefs and values. She then moved into middle school and quickly came to realize the earlier students begin learning how to have Courageous Conversations, the better. Rena was awarded the Peace Educator of the Year Award in May, 2014, by the Nobel Peace Laureate Project.

Bert Hopkins: YAP Facilitator, Middle School Institute Facilitator

Bert Hopkins is a racial justice educator, trainer, and consultant who has worked with numerous community-based nonprofits and foundations, in higher education, and for nine years as a middle school teacher and curriculum coordinator. Whether with young people or adults, the heart of this work has been opening space for the groups he works with to engage authentically and deeply in order to move from individual awareness to collective action.

Brandon Roth: YAP Facilitator

Brandon Roth is a learner, educator, and philosopher who has recently followed the lead of the wise people around him into social justice activism, affinity space facilitation, and organizing.  He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Stony Brook University and has been teaching religion and philosophy classes to high school students at Brooklyn Friends School for the last four years.  As a white, cisgendered man, Brandon is grateful that he has finally begun to understand the impact of racism and other forms of oppression on the people around him and on himself, as well as the potential power of using his privilege to help disrupt the very systems upholding it.  He has been co-facilitating the faculty/staff White Affinity Group at Brooklyn Friends for the past two years and been co-advising YAP at the school this year. Why YAP?  Young people have the ability understand what many of us have long since stopped attending to.  Their energy and capacity for connection have the potential to change our world.  Brandon is so excited to do whatever he can to support them in bringing about this change.
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