WELCOME TO THE GREAT AMERICORPS TEAM FOR 2020-21
Pearl Andrieu at Community Bridges
Pearl is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studies International Relations and minors in International Development and Conflict Management. She was born in Burkina Faso and moved to Montgomery County when she was seven. She has experience working in youth and women empowerment through her internships at UNFPA ESARO and FAO in South Africa and Mali. Having worked in different communities, she has a deep understanding of structural injustices. Pearl is proud to have been raised by such a diverse and enriching community and wishes to use her skills to give back by strengthening community ties and by raising awareness on gender and racial inequity. Through her position at Community Bridges, she wishes to uplift young women and give them the tools to make informed decisions and become positive leaders. In her free time, she works on sustainable agriculture initiatives in Liberia and Uganda through her organization Roots Africa and enjoys watching SNL.
Maria Baires at MCPS Kemp Mills E. S.
My name is Maria De Los Angeles Baires. I was born in Los Angeles, California. I enjoy helping others, I decided to join AmeriCorp because I believe it would be great opportunity to give back to my community. I am committed to excellence. I am a graduate from Montgomery College and Towson University. I am interested in continuing my education in law and social administration. I am dedicated in helping the youth specifically in building confidence and inner strength.
Gregory Corbett at MCPS Sligo Middle School
Member of Project CHANGE /AmeriCorps Montgomery County, Maryland Serving a second term at Gaithersburg High School, leading English tutoring sessions to help ESOL students better understand their teachers. Ten years of experience providing case management/ human services to diverse populations. Facilitating psycho-education groups, including health education, anger/ stress management, hygiene, medication education, and relaxation techniques. Completing substitute teaching duties such as monitoring the class, executive daily itineraries, reviewing homework, and more. Knowledge of relapse prevention strategies, suggesting alternative behaviors to replace maladaptive ones. Masters of Science in Psychology 2018. Specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis Capella University Minneapolis, Minnesota Bachelors of Professional Studies 2004 Specialization Human Servic Metropolitan College of New York.
Genean Grobe with MCPS at Jackson Road E.S.
Genean’s primary passion is to be of service to young people. As an AmeriCorps Alumni, Genean previously served in her hometown in Tidewater, Virginia, utilizing her theatre and performing arts background to serve K-12 students. She then spent several years working with preschool and elementary children in public and private Montessori schools and also teaching as an independent drama teaching artist. With a recently completed Master of Education degree from Loyola University Maryland, Genean aims to advance in the nonprofit sector serving children & youth at the community level, as she strongly believes in the value of after-school & enrichment programming. Genean is thrilled to be joining Project Change this year as an AmeriCorps intern with Montgomery Housing Partners.
Jennifer Mbiama at YMCA Benchmarks
As an education major at the University of The District of Columbia, I’ve always had a passion for childhood development. Having experience working as a teacher and a mentor has given me the opportunity to see what children need and desire in an educational setting. I’m passionate about serving kids from Montgomery county because I was once in their shoes. Being a member of Project Change has not only restored my faith in humanity but has also given me hope in the society we live in.
Claire Ettinger at Community Bridges
Claire Ettinger is a graduate from Towson University, where she got a Bachelor Degree in Sport Management with a minor in Business Administration. Claire is originally from Washington DC, but has grown up Takoma Park MD and still lives in Takoma Park to this day. Her decision to do a year of service with AmeriCorp came from a love of helping her community. With her experience in coaching high school aged girls in softball, she has become passionate in helping young girls realize their potential in life. Claire is also working on creating her own nonprofit that will raise awareness on Mental Health and how it effects student athletes in both High School and College. During her AmeriCorp term, she will be working with Community Bridges and their Elementary School program.
Ben Mourad at MCPS Restorative Justice
My journey in public service began midway through my junior year of highschool. I realised then that I was passionate about solving the problem: How can people better work together, especially surrounding politics? I spent the next two years independently studying and entertaining thought experiments for what I could do after highschool. After developing the beginnings of this ethical/moral philosophy, I found an opportunity to begin applying and further developing the philosophy in the newly established Restorative Justice unit at MCPS. I began there as an unpaid intern in October 2018 and am now beginning my second year there. Half way through my first year as an intern, I found an opportunity through Americorps to be paid for my effort in addition and this has allowed me to comfortable continue down this path. My vision has since changed from my junior year, and I have refined my passion into creating communities that create communities. My journey toward this goal begins with empowering individuals, and I am looking forward to continuing my story with Americorps Project Change!
Akufuna Ngonda at MCPS Sligo Middle School
A member of project CHANGE Montgomery currently serving the AmeriCorps Sligo Middle School program and the George B. Thomas Learning Academy’s Saturday School Program. I have over 18 years of youth mentoring experience in a faith-based organization, in civil society organizations and also with the private sector. My area of expertise is in the logical framework approach, instructional design methodology, project monitoring and evaluation of education systems. My experience revolves around collaborative advocacy as it pertains to organizational strategic development, citizen engagement, participatory democracy, sustainable development, economic, social and cultural rights. I have provided qualitative analysis in formulating and leading training programs along with organizing multidisciplinary and geographically dispersed teams at home office and in the field.Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy from the University of Maryland University College Europe.
Alanna Taylor at MCPS with Saturday School
Alanna Taylor brings over 24 years of work experience in program management, proposal writing, and event planning and promotion. She began her career as a project manager for real estate developers in affordable housing after working for several years as a community organizer. In 2010, she left her career in real estate that was constantly impacted by the volatility of the financial markets. Using her skills developed in real estate project and construction management, Ms. Taylor has assisted social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and faith-based institutions in writing grant proposals, organizing events and workshops, creating administrative systems and protocols, and managing daily operations. Through her lived experience with clinical depression and anxiety, she is passionate about developing initiatives that empower others to create holistic healthy lifestyles and safe spaces for healing.
Camila Morales -Family Learning Solutions
I graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a B.S. in Public Health Science. I work with Family Learning Solutions. On the weekdays, I volunteer at the Study Bubble program, where I help support students in grades 1-8 with their virtual learning. I also lead an all-girls mentoring club called Kind Scholars every Thursday. I am passionate about spreading mental health awareness.
Hector Catano- Arts on the Block
Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Hector Catano is a visual artist and art educator with more than 20 years of teaching experience with different communities in Colombia and The U.S. His experience includes teaching arts in social development programs funded by the Colombian government to children in poverty, children with disabilities, and homeless people. He has also taught college, primary, middle, and high school students.As an artist, he has been featured in more than 30 national and international group exhibitions, as well as four solo art shows. He holds two master’s degrees in Art Production and Art and Creation Research from Spain.As an AmeriCorp Project Change alumnus, he became the YAM (Youth Arts Movement) Coordinator at Arts on the Block, an initiative focused on arts education with K to 8-grade students from all over Maryland.
Jen McClenden- MCPS with RAP
Jen McClendon is a college-level humanities, history, philosophy, freshmen English, political science, and college success professor. She currently teaches American history, Western Civilization, and Freshmen Symposium for Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Jen served in the United States Navy from 1997-2001, where she was designated as a Sonar Technician. Still, she spent most of her time on special assignments where she taught math, military studies, and exam prep for Officer Candidate School candidates. While awaiting C School assignment, she taught swim strokes to prospective Navy seals, self-defense to interested sailors, and served as a command photographer for two commands. She founded Strong Minds Tutoring, where she focuses on inspiring personal, social, and academic success on the student’s terms with the goal of college admission to pursue good citizenship and a fulfilling career. Jen’s current goals serving with AMeriCorps Project CHANGE at MCPS is to keep opening doors for students at all stages of their education. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband, four kids, 11 cats, and her Pit Bull terrier named Pericles.
Janiece Welcome -MCPS with Sligo Middle School
Janiece Welcome-Olajide attended Arizona State University, where she received her Bachelors degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She also attended the Project Management Institute, to improve her ability to assist in and manage new projects. She has experience in management, and several years of experience in working with school aged children, which is when she learned how to build a rapport with children and understand their needs. Her experience as a Substitute teacher and Para-educator, helped grow that knowledge. As a member of AmeriCorps Project Change, she has the ability to put her knowledge to action and make a difference. Her goal is to use her experience and knowledge to support the community, and help lead the children, who will ultimately become our future leaders.
Oneyda Hernandez -Family Learning Solutions
Oneyda is a graduate of the University of Maryland where she finished a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. Oneyda credits a high school internship at an optometry office for exposing her to career opportunities in the medical field and influencing her passion for optometry early on. After undergrad, she plans on attending optometry school with the goal of one day opening her own optometry clinic to aid underprivileged communities. Oneyda is passionate about increasing minority representation in the medical field and believes that she can make a difference by exposing young people to a wide variety of career paths and opportunities early on.
Jessica Suggs at MCPS- CREA at Thomas Edison School of Technology
I joined AmeriCorps for a second project in December 2019. I decided to join again after experiencing a great previous project where I was teaching STEM labs and science projects to underprivileged schools throughout Montgomery County, Maryland, and local areas. My expectations were that my experience would be enjoyable like the first time and it was. My first day was an actual meeting with the team in Silver Spring. I really enjoyed participating in the round circle activities and looking at ways in which we needed to work on our mindset. – When I began to work with the CREA program at Thomas Edison High School of Technology, I was getting to know what the teachers were doing and how they were engaging with the students. Due to the fact I was a professor, I offered to be of assistance where needed. I found myself teaching the GED students Math and English. I felt that I was needed and that made me feel good.