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More Than 30 Indiana Youth Workers of Color Join First Emerging Leaders Fellowship

June 26, 2024 (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.) – Thirty-seven exceptional youth workers of color from across the state have been chosen for the inaugural Emerging Leaders of Color Fellowship cohort launching in July as part of the Indiana Youth Worker Well-Being Project. 

Participants will engage in an intensive six-month training and development series designed to enhance leadership capabilities and provide opportunities to cultivate robust community networks. Monthly sessions will cover topics like adaptive leadership, navigating crucial conversations, community building, and sustainability and strategic direction from a diverse team of highly-qualified facilitators and speakers, equipping the cohort to lead and grow thriving youth-serving organizations.    

The following individuals were selected to join the inaugural Emerging Leaders of Color Fellowship through a competitive application process that considered their aspirations or current leadership in a youth-serving organization as well as commitment to a career in youth services:  

  • Lillian Barkes, Listen to Our Future – Indianapolis 
  • Ken Patrick Barry, Uthiverse Inc. – Gary  
  • Kareema Boykin, KIPP Indy Public Schools – Indianapolis 
  • Jazmin Childress, Sheltering Wings – Danville 
  • Raymond Davis, Center of Workforce Innovations – Valparaiso 
  • Jessica Elliot, Kids’ Voice of Indiana – Indianapolis 
  • Kisa Fitzgerald, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana – Gary 
  • Edwin Flores, Juntos 4-H Purdue Extension/Indiana 4-H – Fishers 
  • Michelle Freeman, Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis – Indianapolis   
  • Aaron Green, Struggle Made Us – Indianapolis 
  • Latresa Hart, Choices Coordinated Care Solutions – Indianapolis 
  • Tenisha Oliver-Holeyfield, Girl Coalition of Indiana – Hammond 
  • Brittany Jackson, The Villages Healthy Families – Indianapolis 
  • Letise Jenkins, Purdue University Northwest – Hammond 
  • Asurne Johnson, Dyslexia Institute of Indiana – Indianapolis 
  • Karlencia Johnson, Playworks Indiana – Indianapolis 
  • Fredrick King, Council for Youth Development – Columbus  
  • Mikayla Mack, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana – Evansville 
  • Jassmine Moreno, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana – Fort Wayne 
  • Wendell Mosby, Goodwill Industries of Michiana – Merrillville 
  • Jennifer Murphy, Murphy Mentoring Group – Indianapolis 
  • Selena Nelson, Kosciusko Teen Court – Kosciusko County 
  • Coren Paige, Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis – Indianapolis 
  • Kne’Osha Parker, Euell A. Wilson Center – Fort Wayne 
  • Jaelyn Powell, Edna Martin Christian Center – Indianapolis  
  • Jala Powell, Domestic Violence Network – Indianapolis  
  • Rebecca Rhodes, Girl Coalition of Indiana – Indianapolis 
  • Chris Seminario, Ryan’s Place – Goshen 
  • Ashley Slaughter, Indiana United Methodist Children’s Home – Lebanon 
  • Velishea Smiley, Tolson Center for Community Excellence – Elkhart 
  • Lamonica Stackhouse, Bowen Center – South Bend 
  • Thaddaus Summers, YMCA of Southwestern Indiana – Evansville 
  • Aireya Taylor, Change is Key – Lafayette 
  • Catisha Toney, Coates, Inc. – Merrillville 
  • La Shea Walker, Planned Parenthood – Indianapolis 
  • Heather Washington, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana – Indianapolis 
  • Marlette Gomez Wengerd, Concord Community Schools, Concord High School – Elkhart 

Through the Emerging Leaders of Color Fellowship, the Youth Worker Well-Being Project aims to tackle the need for leadership diversity in Indiana’s youth-serving sector by investing in youth workers of color’s skillsets and foster more inclusive youth organizations statewide. A second round of applications for the Emerging Leaders of Color Fellowship will launch in August 2024. Sign up for IYI’s Weekly Update at iyi.org/newsletters to stay up to date on future cohort application dates.   

The Youth Worker Well-Being Project is a collaborative statewide effort to address individual youth worker well-being, workplace conditions, and root causes of stress in the sector with the goal to promote meaningful change in youth workers and invest in their well-being so they can provide the highest-quality services for Indiana youth. Other recently launched programs include telemedicine and virtual mental health services, Peer Support Groups, and grant opportunities. 

The youth work profession includes staff from youth development organizations and service bureau staff, mental health counselors, child and family welfare professionals, mentors, family support clinicians, residential treatment staff, and others at community-based organizations. Through their work, Indiana’s youth-serving professionals impact more than 1.5 million children under 18 across the state. Children benefit when professionals are engaged, aware of the needs of youth and families, knowledgeable about best practices, and when they can effectively cope with stress. 

Interested Indiana youth workers and youth-serving organizations can learn more about the next round of fellowship applications and other project initiatives at youthworkerwellbeing.org.