I have wide array of professional experience in several human services related fields. I have worked in education, mental health, community development, fundraising and affordable housing in both direct service and policy related positions. Below is a quick overview of my professional work experience over the last 7 years.
While attending the University of Chicago (UofC), I served as a member of the South Side Solidarity Network (SSN), an organization dedicated to addressing the impact of gentrification, restrictive covenants and economic depression on housing quality on the South Side of Chicago. I worked alongside low-income residents in planning Art in Action, an annual community event designed to bridge the divide between the UofC community and the Woodlawn community residents who were being displaced by the University’s development policies. My key contributions include working with community leaders, organizations, churches and University Administrators to secure event funding and coordinate outreach efforts. I also organized phone trees, attended a dozens of community meetings and worked on developing the Responsible Housing Guide, a collection of resources developed to assist young professionals make ethical housing decisions. As a result, over 200 people participated in the Art in Action and project stakeholders were informed about the impact of gentrification and empowered to create a more cohesive community.
For more information of College Organizing experience including my work with USAS, Gender Neutral Housing and Sustainability please click here.
I entered education professionally through the Chicago Teaching Fellows program which is an alternative certification program run in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. Though I completed the program and was qualified to be a Special Education teacher I decided to become a Paraprofessional instead. I learned to retool my academic research and analytic skill set into policy writing through my work at Amandla Public Charter School on the South-Side of Chicago. After my first year at Amandla as a Special Education Paraprofessional, I took the initiative to research and create several internal policy changes for the Paraprofessional position. These changes equipped educators to better serve the diverse needs of students in school, at home and in the community. Not only were these suggestions adopted, but I was charged with implementing a new orientation and professional development program for new hires. As the new Lead Paraprofessional, I worked with administration to find creative ways to have more effective schedules and increased opportunities for professional development. Additionally, I facilitated meetings dedicated to discussing and addressing grievances. As a member of the school policy committee I researched gang activity in my students’ communities wrote a gang and restorative justice policy that became part of the schools official guidelines. As Lead Paraprofessional I successfully increased student academic and behavioral outcomes, increased paraprofessional agency, streamlined the organizational efficiency of the department, and effectively advocated for the rights of parents with special needs children.
For more in-depth overview on my experience in Education please click here.
I also have significant experience working with diverse populations. For six months, I lived and worked at Su Casa, a Chicago Catholic Worker house of hospitality and homeless shelter. As a Su Casa Catholic Worker, I provided ongoing counseling services to empower Spanish speaking families to secure personal and economic stability. This work included assisting guests with securing permanent supportive housing, educational programs, mental health and wellness services in addition to offering emotional support. During my time at Su Casa I also assisted in building organizational capacity by creating and implementing several data collection, incident reporting and case management procedures that allowed the organization to more effectively meet the needs of families.
For more information on my work to end homelessness and direct service experience please click here.
Most recently, during my time in DC I have become intimately familiar with many of the challenges and victories of local activism, advocacy and direct service. I spend my free time attending housing town halls, participating in learning circles on gentrification, and tenant association meetings. I am also currently employed at the Coalition for Non-Profit Housing and Economic Development [CNHED]. While at CNHED I’ve done everything from help organize the annual Affordable Housing Rally, to volunteer management, developed and implemented trainings on a wide variety of issues as well as help with grant writing and administrative tasks. In addition to the organizing and administrative work I’ve done for (CNHED) I have been attending their monthly meetings on small business development, affordable housing development and work-group meetings on supportive housing. My work with CNHED, coupled with engagement in my neighborhood through R.E.E.L DC and the Historic Anacostia Block Association has allowed me to create positive working relationships with several local elected officials and candidates for office.
For more information on the Professional work I’m currently doing as well as my professional goals please click here.
In addition to be an accomplished non-profit professional am I also a freelance writer, photographer and audio visual artist. For more information on my more creative projects please click here.