Erika is a first-generation Dominican, born and raised in Boston. She has been a youth worker and community organizer for over 7 years. As a youth, she worked for Beantown Society and The City School in Boston. Erika was part of the METCO Program attending Concord-Carlisle Regional High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Africana Studies from Simmons College. Erika’s passion is to empower youth of color to analyze power and oppression in society and to embrace their gifts, strengths, and leadership through love and the spirit of community.
Lina Maria Cañon was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her passion for engaging in social change efforts was born through her time as an undergrad at Suffolk University. Since then, she has managed, enhanced, and created programs focused on a variety of topics including homelessness, civic engagement, education, and youth advocacy. Lina is actively involved in her community and is currently pursuing her MBA from Boston University’s Questrom.
Erika (Eh-ree-kah), also known as Elo, was born and raised in Washington Heights (NYC). She uses the power of her mixed culture/heritage (Salvadoran and Venezuelan) to dive deep into conversations about identity, while also helping create a community that aims to understand missed nuances around identity – instead of fearing them. She is a recent graduate of Boston University’s School of Public Health and as the Programming and Evaluation Manager, looks forward to building the foundation for Chica Project to evaluate the impact of their program. Her north star is a not so distant future where we use numbers to supplement our stories instead of the other way around.
Samantha is a current first-generation Mexican-American student at Boston University, originally from Dallas, Texas. She is currently a projected May 2022 graduate, studying Latin American politics, International Relations, and Spanish. Outside of her role at Chica Project, she is also the vice president of Alianza Latina, the largest Latinx student group at Boston University. Sammie also sits on the senate of Boston University’s Student Government, focusing on diversity and inclusion.
Wendy Hernández is an operations-and-administrative specialist with over 15 years of supporting high-profile executives, small non-profits, and philanthropists. In her role, at Chica Project, she works closely with the Executive Director and Associate Director on operational projects including human resources, stewardship management, and vendor relations. She holds a B.A in Human Resources Management and Writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she attended on a Talented Minority Scholarship, an M.Ed from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Wendy lives in West Quincy with her partner Je’Nae and their rambunctious Lhasa Apso Remy.
Windry is a proud Dominican who was raised in Lynn, MA. She joined Chica Project in 2014 as a participant and after graduating high school she decided that she wanted to give back to her community by becoming a mentor in 2019. She loves sharing her testimony in hope that she will be able to make an impact in other youths’ lives just like Chica Project made an impact on hers.
Lizzie is a first-generation Haitian American, born and raised in Boston, MA. She has worked with youth for over 5 years, where she’s noticed a strong need for Women of Color empowerment. She is currently a Junior at Stonehill College, double majoring in Sociology and Criminology. She is also the Co-Coordinator of a Women of Color dialogue group, called R.I.S.E. and a E-Board member of the Black Students Union on Campus. She was a Chica Project participant when she attended Cathedral High School.
A social justice practitioner, strategic thinker, successful fundraising professional, skilled facilitator and community leader, David A. Kay, M.A. has over 20 years of experience applying an intersectional (race, class, gender) approach to social justice challenges in culturally rich but resource challenged urban communities. Working at the interstices of youth development, violence prevention, human services, education, athletics, community development and the arts, David uses his diversified skills (writing, facilitation, project management) and interdisciplinary perspective to drive success for community based organizations from conceptualizing projects and securing funding to implementing high quality programs.
Jessica is a first generation Mexican-American and was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. In 2019, she became one of our CP mentors and is now our first Network and Research Fellow. She is currently studying Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University with plans of pursuing public health and medicine. Jessica is passionate about the power of community and personal healing and how that transfers into our overall well being.
Giselle is currently supporting Chica Project to empower women through La Colaborativa. As a freshman at Chelsea High School, she is interested in pursuing a career in Law and Business. Raised in Chelsea, Massachusetts, Giselle comes from a Salvadoran immigrant background and is passionate about helping and uplifting others within the community. In her free time she enjoys going on morning jogs as a form of meditation, baking, and loves going on road trips with her family (whenever it is safe to travel again).
Joel came from the Dominican Republic in 2015 with a suitcase filled with dreams and aspirations of improvement through a repertoire and experience in systems. The last few years he has been supporting organizations with different platforms, Salesforce, system improvement, and data collection. Joel enjoys working with data and analytics, as well as providing reports for critical decision making. He loves challenges, offering solutions, and satisfying his clients. “I want to leave a good legacy of data and system solutions at Chica Project!