Kelley helped lead the effort to organize The DOME Project/Strycker’s Bay partnership and co-authored the The Commons Concept Paper. Her experience in the youth development field grew from her work as a community and tenant organizer and as a parent in need of affordable quality afterschool programming. Kelley is an alumnus of The DOME Project’s 1978-79 Drop-Out Prevention Program, which offered her the opportunity to be paid for the volunteer work she was already doing at Strycker’s Bay, and obtained her GED before the program ended. She continued to work with Strycker’s Bay after graduating from the program and became the Executive Director in 1987 at age 25. Kelley went on to found Strycker’s Bay’s after-school program and other youth serving programs now operating at The Commons as part of its portfolio of programs. She also co-founded The Community Action School (middle school) located in the Joan of Arc School Complex on West 93rd Street. She has a strong background in program development and operations and believes in developing strong long-term relationships with community residents, including children, to ensure they have a safe space to learn, play and discover the world around them. Because of her bi-racial background and life-long connection to the Latino community on the Upper West Side, she is able to communicate with diverse audiences and creates a personal connection with the people and groups she works with. Kelley attended BMCC and studied philosophy, anthropology and sociology.
Janice specializes in Eviction Prevention, Crisis Intervention, and Entitlements & Benefits. With nearly 18 years of experience in the eviction prevention and social service field, Janice has worked with a diverse group of adults, with participants’ ages ranging from 21 to 95. She provides case management services to clients who are at risk of losing their homes, benefits and services through advocacy, information and referrals. Janice is passionate about her work at the Commons. She’s empowered by the organization’s mission and the positive impact on the lives of so many individuals in need of our support. Janice prides herself on exhausting all possible solutions to help families.
Erica’s experience working with nonprofits began at age 14 when she became a participant in NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program and filled an Assistant Group Leader position in our summer day camp. She has been with the organization ever since. She has extensive experience working with children and families. Now a mother herself, she has a passion for parent engagement and advocacy in public schools. Erica is a graduate of York Preparatory School and attended MaryMount Manhattan College.
Starting as an AmeriCorps member at The DOME Project, Christine has had the opportunity to be a part of many of the programs offered by The DOME Project and Strycker’s Bay, and helped in the development of our middle school programming. Christine has a dual degree in History (with a concentration in US history) and Jewish Studies. Prior to college, she attended Millennium High School, where the focus was on college prep and youth development practices from the YMCA. This gave Christine her first insight into Youth Development and it is why she is so invested in it today. While serving in her current position she earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and became a licensed social worker. Christine is passionate about access to quality, trauma-informed care for children of color.
Rebecca manages our grant writing and institutional giving. She has a MFA and 16 years of experience in grants and program development, fundraising, research, and strategy services to nonprofit organizations. She first worked with The West Side Commons in 2003 as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer. During her VISTA service, she facilitated our certification as a federal Housing Counseling agency under the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and secured our first federal grant with HUD. Rebecca has worked with various other organizations over the years and has a successful track record of securing private and public funds totaling more than $35 million.
She first began her journey with us as a first grader in our after-school program. Through mentoring, community service opportunities, and participation in our youth workforce development program, she developed the skills and experience necessary to take on her current role at The Commons. Her experience as both a resident of the Upper West Side and program participant has allowed her to engage and connect with many of the children and families that walk through our doors. In between working with our program participants and her involvement within the community, she attended Borough of Manhattan Community College and earned an Associate’s Degree in Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Her goal is to one day own a business that gives back to the community what was given to her.
Noeliz assists our after-school program with operations and program activities. She began her career with us first as a kindergarten participant in our program. Throughout the years she has participated in each level of our youth programming becoming a rising leader in the youth development field. Her love of children, art, and vlogging has allowed her to create programming that engages our youth and promotes their overall wellbeing. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and hopes to use her skills to bridge the gap in health disparities that communities of color face.
Nobal is a Group Leader in our after-school program. He initially got involved in our youth program as a participant in elementary school when his grandmother enrolled him as she was seeking a safe space for him to learn and grow. What motivates Nobal to continue his work within our program and the community is knowing that he is a support system to the many youths he engages with. His love of sports and technology has allowed him to lead programming that introduces our youth to skills in these areas.
Albert is a Group Leader in our after-school program. He has worked within our organization as a high school student in 2017. In addition to his role as a Group Leader, he also assists us at the administrative level. He brings a genuine care and concern for the youth he works with, often ensuring that they leave the day knowing that they are cared about. Albert is interested in business and wants to be an entrepreneur. He is currently pursuing a degree in business management.
Jasmine is an Assistant Group Leader with our after-school program. Jasmin became part of The West Side Commons at age 14 while participating in our summer youth employment program. She is a student at A. Phillip Randolph High School. In her role at The Commons, she helps children with their homework, leads group activities and checks in with them on how their day is going. Jasmin lives on the Upper West Side with her parents. She loves living in the same neighborhood where her father grew up because, “I have a lot of people looking out for me.” She enjoys painting and is inspired by the following quote: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”