In 2019, we launched our first Community Advisory Group — a group of individuals with deep relationships and networks in the communities they serve — to provide perspective and insight on our grantmaking strategy and implementation. Since that time, our advisors have served as invaluable partners in the creation and implementation of our grantmaking strategy focused on advancing racial equity in public education. Each step of the way, they have offered critical insight, feedback, and perspective on how to show up as engaged and supportive funders in this space.
This summer, we are pleased to welcome six new youth advisors to the Community Advisory Group, and know that they will continue to play a key role in moving our work ahead:
Micaela (Mica) Arenas (she/her/hers): Mica is a sophomore at Manchester High School in Connecticut and, in addition to serving on the Nellie Mae Community Advisory Group, is a member of her district’s Youth Equity Squad. Mica is an aspiring author who enjoys reading, playing soccer, watching old musicals, and spending time with her parents and older brother. She believes in the power of words to change the world.
Davyon Clark (he/him/his): Dayvon is a young Black youth leader who is a sophomore at Manchester High School in Connecticut. After high school, he plans on pursuing his next steps in college and is hoping to play sports and major in some type of business management. In his free time, you can find him on the football field or the basketball court! His favorite class in school is math, and has experience participating in his school’s Youth Equity Squad — a safe space for talking and building relationships with others.
Gabrielle Oulette (she/her/hers): A junior at Blackstone Academy Charter School, and a youth leader at the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) in Providence, Rhode Island, Gabrielle is an active member of her community and continues to seek change within herself and the world around her. She calls Pawtucket home and loves nature, animals, food, laughing, and being around loved ones.
Dara Song (she/her/hers): An incoming senior at Manchester High School in Connecticut, Dara is involved in her school’s student leadership body, tennis and volleyball teams, mental health club, and town youth commission. Dara is hoping to attend a four-year college after graduation.
Naomi Felix Monanci (she/her/hers): Naomi is a Dominican-American youth leader at the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) in Providence, Rhode Island. Naomi attends Highlander Charter School, and in her free time you can find her singing at her church and doing pantomime! She is passionate about combatting social injustices happening in the world and aspires to be an engineer.
Khaiya Proeung (she/her/hers): Khaiya Proeung isa Khmer-American student attending Cranston High School East in Rhode Island. Khaiya is a youth leader with the Alliance of Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) and has been surrounded by activism throughout her life. Khaiya continues to strive towards her passion for activism in her daily life and has a passion for cosmetology and skin care!