Our team of professional mentors have extensive backgrounds in youth development and women’s studies (alpha order):
LYTASHA MARIE BLACKWELL
LyTasha is a writer, educator, motivator, and lover of words. She has been featured on stages with legends such as Nikki Giovonni, Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, Ericka Huggins and the late Dr. Maya Angelou. She is currently a Student Advocate and Adjunct Professor at Southern Connecticut State University (teaching Intellectual and Creative Inquiry Seminar). She has an M.A. in Women's Studies from Southern Connecticut State University where she focused on Programming and Curriculum Development. She is the Founder of "She's A B.O.S.S.-- Beyond Ordinary Setting the Standard" which focuses on young urban women ages 14-25.
Erika Brunwasser is a New York State Certified counselor who has been working with K-12 students for more than eight years. Erika has worked in some of New York City's most diverse and largest public schools. During her time as a school counselor, she saw a great need for girls to have female role models and mentors.
Katie Campbell is a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Saxe Middle School with 12 years of teaching experience. In addition, she has coached girls volleyball at the middle and high school level for ten years. She has her BA from Skidmore College and MA from Sacred Heart. She feels strongly about empowering girls to discover and explore the dynamic characteristics which make them unique and valuable parts of the larger community. Her life motto is, “Don’t forget to be awesome!"
Kelisha Dort is a Quinnipiac University Graduate who earned her B.S. in English and is in process to earn her Masters in Counseling. Kelisha has previously worked with young girls of all ages as an Assistant Counselor and a Senior Youth Counselor. She has extensive experience working with K-12 youth, including at New Haven Youth Services, Hamden Youth Services, The Jewish Community Center, and The Haitian American Catholic Center. Kelisha is passionate about marginalizing power in women and girls so that they can play a significant role in society.
Sarah Lauture is a Norwalk native and High School Academic Coach for Horizons National at New Canaan Country School. She earned her Masters in Counseling from John Hopkins University and B.S. in Communications (with a minor in Spanish) from Southern Connecticut State University. Sarah is currently in pursuit of earning licensure as a Professional Counselor and is a student in the University of Bridgeport's advanced graduate study program in Counseling. In June 2016, Sarah co-founded Woman to Woman - whose mission is to encourage women (ages 20-40 to build each other up, while simultaneously inspiring them to give back to their communities through the avenues of networking, mentorship, empowerment, and volunteerism.
Sara is a seventh grade Social Studies teacher at Saxe Middle School in New Canaan. Sara attended the University of Connecticut where she studied History and Secondary Education. Sara previously worked as an Assistant Trip Director for the Alternative Breaks Program overseeing and training team leaders. She also served as an intern at the Connecticut Historical Society where she taught diverse students in grades K-12 from the Hartford area using artifacts, images, exhibits, and hands-on activities. Sara is passionate about gender equality, equal educational opportunity, and community service.
Caroline B. Simmons serves as a Connecticut Congresswoman representing the 144th District in Stamford, Connecticut. She is House Chair of the Commerce Committee. Previously, Caroline worked at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for four and a half years. As Director of Special Projects in the Counterterrorism Coordinator’s Office at Homeland Security, Caroline provided support for DHS’s domestic and international counterterrorism programs. Before this, Caroline interned at the U.S. Department of State for the Middle East Partnership Initiative within the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, where she assisted with economic empowerment programs in the Middle East. Caroline received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 2008 and a Master of Arts degree in Middle East Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University in 2011. Caroline also studied at the American University in Cairo, Egypt and the Arabic Language Institute in Fez, Morocco. She currently serves on the Board of the Women’s Business Development Council.
Juana Yanes is the Counseling Coordinator & Child Advocate for The Center in Stamford, Connecticut. She is responsible for providing both English and Spanish crisis intervention and counseling to victims of sexual assault and their families throughout the community. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University and received her Masters of Science in Criminal Justice from Iona College. Juana is passionate about serving as a positive role model for girls while empowering them to be leaders.