New York Leadership Directory
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Alexandria was the first in her family to go to college and attended the University of Tennessee. While studying psychology in college, one of her classes opened the doors to race and equity… from there she knew that’s where her passion lay. She always knew she wanted to help people and landed in the non-profit world – she has been there for 5 years since! Alexandria made Brooklyn her home 6 years ago by way of Tennessee. She loves jazz, gardening, and anything involving food.
As an emerging change-agent, Alfonso believes every young person has limitless potential. He believes with intentional exposure and support along with healthy spaces—each young person can actualize their potential. Prior to Summer Search, Alfonso worked as a Budget and Policy Analyst with the legislative branch in Prince George’s County, Maryland while working as a Program Coordinator with a non-profit organization in Washington DC that serves black and brown boys and young men.
Originally from Silver Spring Maryland, Alfonso graduated from Howard University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in English, and Masters of Social Work from the Howard University School of Social Work. He comes with vast experience and is excited about the opportunity to contribute to the mission and vision of Summer Search.
In his free time, you can catch Alfonso sitting in front of his laptop crafting blogs for his website, looking up cheap flights to different countries for his next trip, or exploring New York City and all the food and culture it has to offer.
Amanda is honored to be a part of an organization and team that champions equity, diversity and inclusion and allows young people to reach their limitless potential.
Prior to joining Summer Search NYC, Amanda served as the Senior Development Associate at Symphony Space, a nonprofit theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Amanda graduated from Muhlenberg College with a BA in Psychology and Dance. In her spare time, Amanda is an active member of the NYC professional dance community. She loves Broadway shows, concerts, traveling, and trying new restaurants across the five boroughs.
Borah is passionate about empowering young people to live authentically, and a believer in the power of transformative experiences and nature. As a High School Program Manager, Borah supports mentors to hold space for their mentees’ kaleidoscopic experiences, grow in their own amazing ways, and model healthy work/life balance by celebrating, taking care, and being fully present in our own lives.
Before joining Summer Search, Borah taught literacy and global citizenship in the Bronx. Borah received the 2017 Excellence in Education award from the Committee for Teaching on the United Nations for her work as a NYC Junior Ambassador Educator.
Borah holds a BA from Boston University and an MA from the Hunter College School of Education.
A wilderness enthusiast herself, Borah has participated in an archeological expedition in Mongolia, camped in the Adirondacks, canoed the Delaware, and hiked all over upstate NY with her baby girl (safely strapped into her carrier). When she’s not in the woods, she’s probably singing, knitting, soaking up time with family and friends, or making dumplings.
Cat is a Brooklyn native who grew up in an artistic family. She grew a passion for connecting with others through novel storytelling and pursued her bachelor’s degree at SUNY Purchase College in journalism as a first-generation student. While studying journalism, she found an interest in psychology with a concentration on personal and social relationships and how relationships affect personal development. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she switched careers, with the support of her EOP counselor and loved ones, to education. She joined Americorps and worked at universities in Connecticut and New York where she realized she loved mentoring high school and college students to bring awareness to various resources and opportunities that aid in building personal success and ending societal disparities. Her top priority within this work is to make sure students understand that they have a right to gaining education and that they have the potential to pursue whatever makes their heart soar.
When Cat is not working, you will find her at karaoke, belting some Ariana Grande and Whitney Houston or watching a supernatural show or anime. If she’s not singing or watching shows, she’s playing video games like Bomberman, Tekken, Fall Guys, Fortnite and the Sims.
Chakira Branch comes to Summer Search with ten years of experience in development and fundraising. She believes that young people hold the keys to spark long lasting change and organizations like Summer Search provide a safe space for them to learn, grow, and feel supported. Chakira’s passion and belief in youth led change began in college with the Eyes on the Prize documentary. A segment of this documentary showed Black children leading movements for their civil rights. At this moment, Chakira understood that the path forward was to inspire young people to actualize their power. Chakira has used her passion for young people and writing to contribute to fundraising including Our Turn and The Brotherhood/Sister Sol.
Chakira was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a graduate of Cornell University and the Baruch School of Public Affairs.
Cynthia is first generation Mexican-American born and raised in San Clemente, California. Being one of the first in her family, she graduated Loyola Marymount University in 2016 where she received her B.A. in Modern Languages. Soon after she committed to a year of service, providing counseling services to high school students in Bushwick, through Good Shepherd Volunteers.
Cynthia strongly believes that everyone deserves an opportunity to explore their highest potential. The phrase “It takes a village” highly resonates with the amount of support she believes we all need in order to help achieve all our goals. Cynthia strives to be able to help youth reach their goals, be part of that “village,” and be the support they need and want. When she is not at work, Cynthia enjoys spending time with her friends and going back to California to visit her family. Being relatively new to New York City, she enjoys exploring new areas and discovering what this city has to offer.
Danya is a visionary and a leader. She has had the opportunity to mentor individuals of all ages in various settings such as dance studios, foster homes, and correctional facilities. Driven by innovation and a desire to see a better tomorrow, Danya has utilized rehabilitative and restorative justice practices, as well as formal and informal therapeutic techniques, to encourage positive development. After graduating high school, Danya took a gap year to volunteer with foster youth overseas. After a year of self-growth, she obtained her B.A. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland. An avid dancer, Danya has practiced many forms of the art including West African, Jazz, Modern, Afro-Jazz, Ballet, and her favorite and most studied, Hip-Hop. Her favorite animal is the baby elephant, and she has never eaten a waffle that she didn’t love!
Dariela is a Summer Search alum who is passionate about youth development and giving back. After high school, Dariela learned just how critical it is to have a strong support system and access to resources. Dariela had a community she could turn to for support but knew this was not the case for everybody. She decided to pursue a career in youth development and work towards bridging the equity gap. Before joining the Summer Search team, she worked with buildOn where she engaged youth in service-learning. This experience allowed her to explore different ways to support students and work with them to address community issues that mattered to them.
Dariela attended Fordham University where she earned her B.S in Psychology and is currently pursuing her MPA from Baruch. When she is not at Summer Search, Dariela can be found reading poetry, spending time with her family, exploring new recipes or training.
Dariela is excited to be a part of the team and give back to a community that had such a profound impact on her.
Darlyne was born in Dominican Republic and moved to the United States when she was 5 where she began to learn English. Darlyne grew up in the Bronx and was the first one in her family to go to college. She attended St. Bonaventure University where she doubled majored in psychology and philosophy and then got her master’s degree in teaching from RELAY Graduate school of Education through Teach for America. Before becoming a Post-Secondary Program Coordinator with Summer Search, Darlyne was a special education teacher for four years and then a Program Associate with Summer Search. As an educator, she has worked with students by creating and fostering a trusting and supportive learning environment. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, eating good food and spending time with her family and dogs. Overall, as a summer search alum, Darlyne believes in the importance of having mentors and peers that provide a safe, supportive, and productive environment where one can build the skills and tools necessary to achieve one’s goals.
Destynee has spent her career working with young people in both classroom and community settings throughout Buffalo, NY, West Palm Beach, FL, and NYC. She enjoys creating the space for young people to share their interest, motivations, fears and the things that bring them joy. Destynee aims to continue assisting young people as they navigate through their questions and feelings with the use of creative outlets, conversation, and personal research.
Destynee received her MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University in London and her BA in child Psychology from Buffalo state. She recently worked as a Sexuality educator providing middle and high school students with comprehensive sex education.
During her spare time, Destynee writes stories, makes music with her band and spends time reading and watching tv. She loves to travel and is always planning her next location to visit.
Dominic Cathey loves traveling around the world, meeting new people whenever possible, and enjoys attending the arts, tasting chocolate desserts, listening to music, going to brunches, swimming and gathering with friends and family. He is also a first-generation college student, the oldest of 5 younger brothers, a former collegiate athlete, an artist, an entrepreneur, and a recently married gay Black man.
Dominic earned his M.S.W. and Social Enterprise Administration degree from Columbia University, as well as a B.A. in African American Studies where he concentrated on social policy, at-risk community development and the African Diaspora in relation to power, privilege and oppressive ideology from the University of California, Berkeley.
As a leader, Dominic is focused on developing social emotional learning cultures and innovative programs rooted in equity, antiracist ideology and young people’s voice. He’s deeply passionate about cultivating safe environments for marginalized humans to push past systematic barriers and reimagine life’s possibilities and their full potential.
Liz is deeply passionate about empowering youth through introspection of their identity, goals, and interests. She believes that every young person deserves a mentor to lean on, trust, and laugh with to get through these sometimes challenging, but important years.
Liz is a Philly native and new to NYC! She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Urban Studies and Sociology. In school she focused on youth and education in cities. Her passion for empowering youth grew from her work at an education non profit that encouraged students to graduate with a dedicated post-secondary plan. There, her passion grew for working with students and helping them along the way. She is excited to continue working with students as a mentor!
In her free time, she loves cooking and baking for her friends, exploring new parks, and biking through the city. She cares for her cat, Lady and her many many plants in Brooklyn!
Gisel comes to Summer Search with a deep passion for restorative justice. As a first-generation migrant born in Ecuador, they understand first-hand the effects of environmental racism on low-income brown and black communities. They hold a BFA from the School of Visual Arts here in NYC where they studied Visual and Critical Studies. When Gisel is not working at Summer Search, they are organizing in their community, farming and cooking up new foods!
Hilary has been in the development world within nonprofit organizations for the past eight years, propelled by her natural desire to help and connect with people whenever and however possible.
Hilary is a Washington, DC native and graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a degree in Psychology and Sociology. She was drawn to Summer Search because of the mental health benefits that come along with the work that our mentors do with our participants. She is thrilled to be a part of the Development team and integral in planning our annual Gala and Associate Board Soirée to help support the Summer Search community.
In her free time, Hilary enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, and soaking up the sun outside. Preferably, all three of those at once!
Isabella finds joy through connecting with others and being outside. She spends most of her spend time with family and friends and her favorite thing is to travel. She loves working at Summer Search because it is basically all those things!
Isabella studied General Science and Philosophy in college (at Fordham). She gets life from working with young people and is constantly impressed and inspired by their wisdom.
Janique was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She identifies as Jamaican and loves to go back home to St. Mary, Jamaica as often as possible.
She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Black Studies and Education from Tufts University. In addition, she received her Master’s Degree in Childhood Education from Relay Graduate School of Education. She has a wealth of experience empowering young minds in a variety of settings. She worked for 3 years at Boston Mobilization, a youth powered, anti-oppression organization that utilized Popular Education to explore the experiences of high school students as well as facilitate workshops on identity development, youth leadership, and dismantling systems of oppression. She also has experience as an elementary and middle school teacher in schools across Brooklyn.
She has a passion for mentoring youth and empowering them to be leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers in their own right.
Dedicated to social change and a commitment to understanding history, culture and the impact that racism and other intersections have on individuals and communities, Jené is continually inspired by authentic conversations and relationship building.
Jené provides mentoring and training support to Program Associates and loves the opportunity to create spaces where people feel supported and heard.
Jené graduated from Brandeis University and holds a MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work.
In her spare time, Jené enjoys laughing, learning from, and supporting her friends and family. She enjoys music, reading fantasy books, cats, swimming in the ocean, and sleeping in. She has spent the last couple of summers travelling to Cuba, and getting involved with community organizing efforts.
She currently lives in Brooklyn, and dreams of spending the winters in the Caribbean.