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.
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.
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.
Linda Grimmer Sligo Middle School
Linda Grimmer has over a decade of experience working in classrooms in Public Schools in Maryland. She is passionate about finding new ways to support her students’ success. For this reason, Linda pursued special certifications in Autism Awareness, Dyslexia Awareness, and Special Educational Needs. Linda enjoys discussing history, adding to her library, crocheting, and spending time with her husband. She resides in Glen Burnie.
Jakobe Cotton Sligo Middle School
Jakobe Cotton is a project CHANGE member currently assisting AmeriCorps with their volunteer efforts at Sligo Middle School. From Texas City, Texas, he is excited to help bridge the gaps in the Montgomery county community. He is interested in pursuing an education in culinary arts, and teaching younger generations the importance of being able to use everyday cooking skills to support loved ones and family. He is also enthused to help the community become more invested in what type of foods they are consuming and making sure everyone is getting a proper nutritious diet.
John Zachary Gordon MCPS Headquarters
Hi there! My name is Zachary Gordon, and I am originally from Seattle, Washington. I recently received my Master’s degree from Drexel University in Education Leadership, Improvement, and Transformation in August 2021. Post-graduation, I aspire to work with community stakeholders to create long-term systemic pathways that open the door for equitable and affordable education for all. I look forward to creating collaborative systems that foster systemic change for past, present, and future students.
Nadine Bisnath MCPS Paige ES and Fairland ES
Love to help the community and the people around me. Proud supporter of the WeLoveU Foundation which helps with matters big and small. Serving in two Elementary schools to help children learn in a comfortable and understanding environment. While pushing their limits we also have their back when it gets tough. On the road to becoming a Psychologist Counselor for individuals, families, spouses, and the like. Expanding my education on social, emotional learning, and narrative thinking. I believe in using art music, and singing in everyday life to express and release our emotions and pent up stress.
Yajaira Gonzalez Montgomery Housing Partnership
My name is Yajaira Amaya and I am from El Salvador. I graduated from Montgomery College in Spring 2021 with an Associate of Arts. I have been working for Montgomery House Partnership Gator Program at Pembridge since 2014. I love working at the Gator program because they are kids from my community and I can relate to them in many different ways. As a graduate of MCPS, I want to train them to take advantage of all the opportunities out there, as we live in a low-income Hispanic community. I want them to embrace their goals and work on them while receiving guidance.
Gabrielle Vincent YMCA
In the long run, the people are our only appeal. The only ones who can free us are ourselves. ~ Assata Shakur. I’m currently a Sociology Doctoral Student at Howard University with research interest in Reproductive Justice through the lens of culturally congruent care and customary birthing positions for Pan-African Birthing Folks in the hopes of reducing Maternal Mortality rates. I bring a background in social justice, health equity, moderation, family and personal well-being. A few intentions I strive to achieve in this lifetime:
- Be kind and humble at all times.
- Show-up as my true being and authentic self.
- Showcasing and exemplifying empathy for other
- Support and advocate for Wom@n of Color.
- Supporting and establishing a national welfare program for Pan-African children and families navigating the Child Protection and Foster Care System.
- To intentionally and thoughtfully serve my community,
- Stand up against racial, social, and civil injustice.
- As I embark on my journey in AmeriCorps with YMCA Benchmarks I’m looking forward to being of service within my community. In addition, to engaging with the young minds and leaders of tomorrow and all the wisdom they undoubtedly will impart on me. I hope to be a consistent, honest, fair, and approachable adult in their life.
Walter Cancamo Montgomery Housing Partnership
I’m 20 years old I was born in Maryland and have been helping and serving the Wheaton community almost 10 years. I was raised in a 2-bedroom apartment in Wheaton with my mother and 2 younger sisters. Growing up in a Spanish speaking household my mother struggled to communicate and teach me English. Mongomery Housing Partnership provides community life programs and resources for low-income families that are so critical for children and teens like me.These programs have been the main physical structure for my education today. My true passion in life is to help those with language barriers and give that same opportunity I was given to the children in my community.
Lynnette Flores- Kemp Mills Elementary School
Born and raised in Puerto Rico. Married and a mother with two grown children. Currently live in the state of Maryland. Lover and passionate of Arts and Culture. Studied and worked in Drama Arts, my greatest passion. My other passion is teaching and guiding . For many years, I dedicated my life in a volunteer service as a substitute and volunteer teacher in a military school, where I was part of the PTO. I took a basic course in American Sign Language, in San Juan, PR. I was a judge in the National Spanish Oratory League of Puerto Rico for grades 9-12. I plan on getting a degree in Education. I believe firmly in education with love and respect. A big smile can change a life. Be a better person than yesterday. “Always be yourself “.
Cassandra Koplow MCPS Sligo Middle School
My name is Cassandra Koplow. I have a BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland, held at the Universities of Shady Grove campus. I have worked for Excel Beyond the Bell program of Montgomery County in which I knew serving the youth of Montgomery County is my passion. I am proud to give back to the community I grew up in.
Marianna Bohannon Community Bridges
My name is Marianna Bohannon and I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Media Studies & Production from Bowling Green State University while minoring in journalism. After graduating, I relocated to Washington, D.C to serve with AmeriCorps as a City Year. After completing my first year with AmeriCorps, I am returning this year with Project Change.
Fatou Touray at Community Bridges
Christie Brown Community Bridges