2017-18 Community Fellows
Manizha Baraki is Grants and Evaluations Manager at Bikes Not Bikes (BNB), a Jamaica Plain-based grassroots organization that uses bicycles as a vehicle for social change. In her current role, Manizha leads organization-wide grants processes, and monitoring and evaluation initiatives. Manizha worked with the UN Women - Afghanistan Country Office fighting for gender equality and women’s rights. At UN Women, Manizha was responsible for mobilizing youth power for advocacy initiatives such as the UN Women’s Unite Campaign to End Violence Against Women, as well as monitoring and evaluating UN Women-funded projects in the country. Prior to her role with UN Women, Manizha served as journalist at Government Media and Information Center of Afghanistan where she covered more than 200 press conferences that were relayed to the public on various platforms. Manizha has represented Afghan youth and women at international platforms such us Youth Summit in Bangladesh, Youth debate in Kirgizstan, SAAPE conference in Nepal, and Transnational Feminism Workshop in South Korea. Manizha Baraki received her B.A. in Journalism from Kabul University and her M. A. in International Sustainable Development from Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Manizha enjoys socializing with friends, cycling, running, reading, and cooking.
Mobile Burrell, MSW, is a Program Coordinator for Silver Lining Mentoring (SLM). In their role with SLM, Mobile is responsible for creating, implementing, & modifying a 12-week curriculum around financial literacy and employment topics with a focus on cultural responsiveness. Additionally, Mobile supports the intake and training of mentors, ongoing evaluation efforts, and other functions within the organization as needed. Mobile's career in human services began in New Hampshire where they served as summer research and residential staff with Wediko Children's Services based in Boston. Mobile continued working with children, youth, and families as an Inclusion Support Staff in the Boston Public Schools prior to returning to school to pursue their MSW. Mobile received a B.A. in Human Development and Psychology from Connecticut College and their MSW from Boston College and is constantly seeking additional opportunities for growth.
Erina Colombo serves as a Development Operations Coordinator with City Year Boston. In her role, Erina is responsible for supporting the City Year Boston Development Team in raising and exceeding their fiscal year fundraising goals. She works closely with their donor database as well as in the production of City Year Boston's signature fundraising events. Erina began her career with City Year as an AmeriCorps member serving in the the South Bronx with City Year New York. Prior to joining City Year, she has held intern and fellow positions with Epicenter Community, The Massachusetts Democratic Party, Pew Charitable Trusts, and Organizing for America. Erina's passion for connecting with folks from the nonprofit and service communities has led her to serve as an Young Nonprofit Professional Network Boston Ambassador as well as a member of the AmeriCorps Alums Boston Board.
Emmanuel (Manny) Encarnacion is a Afro-Latino man from the Dominican Republic and works as a Youth Development Specialist and Root Crew Supervisor with The Food Project, an organization he’s been a part of since he was a teenager. The Root Crew members run farmers markets in Lynn, MA assist the growers in cultivating the land for production of fresh, healthy, local, and sustainable produce, and partner with community members and organizations to build a better food system in Lynn. Manny teaches the young people he works with about different food justice topics as well as about social justice and various anti-oppression concepts. Prior to his role at The Food Project, Manny worked for MGH Chelsea Healthcare Center as a Community Health Worker in multiple programs focused on helping low-income families apply for SNAP benefits and receive food from the health center's food pantry and others. He also worked in a program supporting Central American families resettling in the Chelsea, Revere, and East Boston area. Manny received a double Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Sports Movement Sciences with a concentration in Dance from Salem State University. In addition to his role at The Food Project, Manny teaches various styles of dance at multiple studios in the Greater Boston region.
Andrea Epstein is an Enrollment Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. In this role, she facilitates the application processes for both Volunteer Bigs and Littles. This includes conducting in-depth interviews with potential Bigs as well as completing home visits and interviews with families. In addition to this, she is responsible for being a "match maker," matching Bigs and Littles who have been accepted into the program. Andrea graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2016 with a BA in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in Communications. While at school, she spent time at Horizons for Homeless Children as a Family Partnerships Intern. She has also worked as a counselor working at the Boys and Girls Club of Martha’s Vineyard.
Karen Escarcha is the Policy and Communications Specialist and Executive Assistant at the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC). The PIC is Boston’s Workforce Development Board and school-to-career intermediary nonprofit. In her role, Karen coordinates the legislative campaign around state budget line items that support PIC initiatives and priorities. She provides high-level support to the Executive Director and organizes annual PIC events. Karen aims to communicate policy through creative mediums, such as maps and motion graphics, to better engage and inform different audiences. In her spare time, Karen volunteers at the Cambridge Women’s Center and weaves wall-hangings. Originally from the Philippines, Karen moved to Pennsylvania when she was four years old. She received her B.A. in Linguistics and Psychology from Boston University.
Leah Hong, LCSW, is the Associate Director of Community Impact at Letters Foundation, Doris Buffett's unique philanthropic initiative, based in Boston. In her role at the Foundation, Leah works to create and oversee new programs and initiatives that will increase impact across hard-to-reach communities, and engages local and national partners to extend the Foundation's individual grants program to new constituents. She also advises on the strategic direction of the Foundation, and serves as one of the Foundation's key external faces.
Leah initially began her career in direct-service, working with first-generation college students as an undergraduate in New York City, then went on to pursue her Master's in Social Work at Boston University, where she focused on trauma-informed care with youth and families, largely utilizing harm reduction and asset-based interventions. Prior to working at the Foundation, Leah worked as an advocate for street-involved youth at AIDS Action Committee, conducted field work with families impacted by domestic violence, supported middle school students with learning disabilities, and worked with youth re-entering the community from the Department of Youth Services (DYS) in Boston. She has a strong passion for advocating for social justice, promoting racial equity, and supporting youth and families in crises.
Rachel Kossar is an Enrollment Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. As a member of the Enrollment team for the past few years, Rachel has been responsible for conducting thorough behavioral interviews with potential volunteers and youth and their families, matching volunteers and youth in one-on-one mentoring friendships, and supporting each match during the start of the relationship. She also launched a unique Campus-Based mentoring program in partnership with Gallivan Boston Center for Youth and Families (BCYF), Babson College, and Olin College. Rachel has grown and developed this partnership as part of an effort to serve more Mattapan youth, and hopes to scale the Campus-Based program model to other Boston-area colleges. Most recently, she has been involved with the hiring, training, and supervision of student interns and has served on a committee to design Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Salesforce CRM and train staff on the use of this new database, as part of an initiative to evaluate and track program outputs and outcomes more effectively. Prior to her work at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Rachel completed her Bachelor's of Sociology and Masters of Arts in Teaching at Clark University in Worcester, MA and then began her career in youth development settings in the Boston area. She is committed to social justice and finding creative approaches to bridge communities, and provide all youth, regardless of circumstance, with the resources they need to thrive.
Emelda Lagos is the Development Operations and Grants Manager at Bottom Line -MA. In her role, she is responsible for managing the Worcester office grants and delivering on all institutional grants for $25,000 and below. Additionally, she manages staff and student engagement at fundraising events throughout the year including Bottom Line's annual gala. Emelda's passion for educational nonprofits stems from the belief that access to education is transformational. She's spent her career working for organizations like Bottom Line, which serve under-resourced communities helping students overcome institutional barriers and navigate bureaucratic systems so they can thrive in their educational environments. She earned her B.A. in English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Williams College in 2013.
Jeffrey Lau is the Youth Leadership Coordinator at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC), the largest social service provider for Asian families in the Greater Boston area. Jeff runs programming for two high school cohorts during the school year as part of the BCNC Youth Center's 3-year youth leadership pipeline. Prior to working for BCNC, Jeff worked for the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) as their Youth Summer Internship Coordinator and Community Organizer. His commitment to youth work started in Brooklyn, NY, where as a high school student he led after school programming for grade-school students. Since high school, Jeff's active role in Boston’s Chinatown has continued to evolve through organizations such as BCNC and CPA. In NYC, Jeff also worked closely with other Asian community serving organizations such as CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, and the Chinese-American Planning Council. Jeff carries with him experiences and knowledge of grassroots organizing and youth development work throughout the past six years, and looks to further supplement that through studying Community Development at UMass Boston.
Steffon Leach is Program Manager for the Auburndale Program of Advocates. In this supervisory role, he is responsible for a team of six staff, and the health and wellness of young adults that he serves. Steffon enjoys leading the management functions of the Auburndale house, including maintaining a positive program structure, developing the skills of his team, and providing encouragement and guidance to those that he supports so they can enrich the lives of the young adults that live at Auburndale. Steffon began his path in direct care service work in 2007 while at Becker College where he studied Applied Behavioral Analysis. Steffon worked at the Gates Lane School and then transitioned to the Judge Rotenberg Center. Steffon used the experiences he gained to work at Devererux where became a supervisor on the Integrated Treatment unit; this would eventually lead him to Advocates in a program management position.
Jeremy is a Advocates Supervisor at Boston CASA, advising volunteer advocates that represent the best interests of foster children and young adults that are involved in abuse and neglect cases in Suffolk County. Prior to his role at Boston CASA, Jeremy served as a Transition Age Youth Program Coordinator at Dare Family Services in Roxbury, MA. In this role, he helped to provide individualized coaching in education, employment, money management, housing, and establishment of support networks and/or lifelong connection for youth and young adults aging out of foster care. Jeremy is passionate about combating youth homelessness, maintaining sibling bonds and lifelong connections throughout youths’ time in the custody of the state. Jeremy is a graduate of Skidmore College with a Bachelor's degree in Government, concentration in Social Work, and minor in International Affairs. Some of Jeremy’s previous work experience includes work in political affairs/campaigns and working with and advocating for at-risk children and foster youth. In his free time, he enjoys writing prose poetry and playing basketball.
Scott Mizrachi is the Community Engagement Coordinator for ZUMIX, a non profit youth development program that uses music as an instrument for social change. In this role, he coordinates volunteer involvement, organizes parents, families, alumni, and facilitates partnerships with mission aligned organizations, artists and neighborhood groups. Scott began working with ZUMIX as an intern while studying the intersection of creative expression and community activism through the cultural anthropology department at UMass Boston. After finishing his studies, he joined ZUMIX as a Volunteer Coordinator through the Americorps VISTA Program. Scott is passionate about music and is interested in finding new ways to leverage cultural capital to make a more just and equitable society. Scott recently completed the BEST Initiative Youth Worker Certificate Training program.
Katelyn Montalvo has spent the past two years at uAspire as a College Affordability Advisor on the MA team working with students this past year at Malden High School, Fenway High School and Boston Day & Evening Academy. Katelyn also provides administrative and project support to uAspire’s CEO and other key leaders in the External Affairs Department. Katelyn holds a B.A. in American Studies and Community Health from Tufts University where she led the relaunch of the university’s student-led First Generation College School Council and served as the Orientation Coordinator for Training and Leadership for the undergraduate orientation program.
James Pierre is a Lead Teacher for the Teen Program at the Community Art Center in Cambridge. The Art Center is a media arts based program. He teaches Digital Photography and leads a public art workshop. As a Lead Teacher, his responsibilities include recruitment, curriculum development and teaching. James is an avid lover of the arts and he started drawing at a young age. James considers himself an arts advocate and has greatly contributed to the arts culture in Boston. Working with organizations like the Art Center, Hibernian Hall and Discover Roxbury has allowed James to work and learn from others in the Greater Boston area who share his passion for the arts.
Dominique Rainey works for College Advising Corps as a College Adviser. College Advising Corps (CAC) is a national nonprofit that works to increase the number of first-generation college going, low-income, and/or underrepresented students who apply, enter, and complete college. They do this by placing recent college graduates as full-time College Advisers in underserved high schools. In Dominique’s role as a College Adviser, she is placed as a full-time adviser within a Boston area high school and responsible for advising and supporting current seniors through the college application process, including applying for financial aid and serving as an advocate for her students. In addition to being a College Adviser, Dominque serves as a Post-Secondary Adviser for those students who may choose not to attend college after high school graduation. Dominique is a recent graduate from Boston University, where she earned a B.S. in Criminal Justice.
Amete Reda is a Roxbury native who received her MSW from NYU's Silver School of Social Work in 2014. With a focus on trauma informed practice, Amete has worked as a Clinical Social Worker at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Homicide Support Services Project since December 2014. In her work at the BIDMC, Amete provides homicide bereavement counseling and advocacy support services to individuals and families that have been impacted by homicide and community violence. Because of the HSSP’s partnership with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute (a survivor-led homicide support services organization) in Fields Corner, she has the privilege of doing clinical work both on an institutional level in the medical center, and on a community level where she works three days a week. Outside of her clinical work, Amete also does outreach work at different local universities speaking with BSW students of color about the importance of having more social workers of color in clinical roles. She is also an avid basketball fan who can be found rooting for the Celtics at the TD Garden.
Christopher Richard is the Coordinator of the Drug User Health Project at Victory Program's Mobile Prevention Team. Victory Programs is a multifaceted, Boston-based, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, substance abuse disorder, and or chronic health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and mental illness. Victory operates over 17 programs in Boston, Cambridge and Topsfield operating under the divisions of Housing, Health, and Prevention. At the Mobile Prevention Team, Christopher oversees eight frontline staff, with the support of a supervisory team of four Project Coordinators, Program Directors, and clinical staff. Christopher coordinates the Drug User Health Project which focuses on using harm reduction practices to provide drug user health education to PWUD (people who use drugs), their loved ones and communities, Naloxone training/Overdose Education and distribution services. Christopher studied at Massachusetts College of Art & Design concentrating in Art Education and Printmaking and has 10 years of retail management experience. As an HIV-positive individual in recovery, his passion and dedication for this work comes from years of witnessing the profound effect such services have on the world.
Sydney Throop is the Organizing Director of Fair Shot For All, a Massachusetts-based political advocacy nonprofit working to activate and mobilize voters not engaged in the political process around progressive policy. Her responsibilities at Fair Shot include managing all volunteers and producing and managing the fellowship program. She graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Communication. While there, she was President of Common Sense Action, a millennial, student-led, bipartisan, political activism club. She also volunteers at Ladies Get Paid Boston, where she produces town halls and workshops to empower women in the workplace.
Leaha Wynn is the Senior Coordinator, Human Capital for the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP). In this role, she works closely with the Director of Human Capital to develop and implement talent acquisition and management at CEP, including co-leading staff recruiting, events, and professional development initiatives, and collecting and analyzing various talent analytics to provide insights to inform internal practices. She also develops and incorporates diversity and inclusion initiatives internally. She received her A.B. in Classics from Harvard College and is in the process of receiving certification as a Diversity Professional from the Institute for Diversity Certification (IDC). Leaha also serves on the Board of Directors for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Boston as the Director of Ambassador Talent and Recruitment, and as a member of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.