Joseph Abay is originally from Baltimore, MD. He studied Political Science at Salisbury University in Salisbury, MD. While at Salisbury, he volunteered with Stop The Violence while interning at the global anti-poverty inititiave Borgen Project. He also wrote for their sister company Borgen Magazine. Recently, he worked for Solutions for Change, INC. as an Senior International Policy Analyst writing articles for several major news publications before joining Americorps. Through Americorps, he works as a Site Coordinator for Arcola Elementary School’s after school Gator Program for students.
Diego Barrientos is currently serving his time at AmeriCorps with the YMCA at Einstein high school. He is a full time student at Montgomery college, completing his AA in Business and economics. Planning to transfer to Maryland for fall 2015, he is looking forward to the upcoming year hopefully filled with a great experience and many learning opportunities.
JerMarkus Booker is within his first year with Project Change/ Study Circles program. He graduated from Dillard University New Orleans, LA with a degree in political science and Urban Studies/Public Policy. He enjoys being able to use his experience and personality, in his work with Study Circles. He recently relocated to Maryland, from Houston, Texas. While in New Orleans, La he worked with Youth Empowerment Project as a youth advocate for the After School and Summer Enrichment Programs. He enjoys working with communities throughout Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties and is looking forward to seeing the program develop over the next couple of years, with the hope of continuing his career creating equality and social justice for all.
Caprecia Camper is participating in her first year as an AmeriCorps member for Project CHANGE. Caprecia attended the University of California San Diego where she majored in Political Science Public Policy and Minored in African American Studies. She is currently interested in education equity and policy. Caprecia previously interned with the San Diego ACLU office’s Inspire program where she helped develop programs to inspire high school students to vote. Originating from California, Caprecia is excited to be a part of the Study Circles team here in Montgomery County.
Asha Diggs, a native of Takoma Park, Maryland, is a recent college graduate. She attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, before transferring and receiving a BA in Communications Studies from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. While attending high school she discovered her passion for video productions but also felt the need to give back to the community. While still in high school, Asha began serving as a mentor and tutor for children in the local community, which then continued when she moved to Princess Anne, Maryland to attend college. As a member of AmeriCorps Project Change, Asha is currently working at Gandhi Brigade as the Youth Media Trainer, where she leads a group of youth in the specialty of photography with a social justice related theme. While learning about diversity and social equality, they also develop leadership and job readiness skills. She will also be serving as the media trainer for an after school program called Dig Lit at Eastern Middle School and then at Silver Spring International Middle School the following semester.
Benjamin Eichberg is in his first year as an AmeriCorps Project CHANGE member, serving at Montgomery County Public Schools’ Study Circles Program. He recently graduated from the University of Maryland in May 2014 with a B.A. in Sociology and is now looking forward to giving back to MCPS. At Study Circles, Ben is working to identify, examine, and eliminate institutional barriers to African American and Latino student achievement by engaging diverse stakeholders in productive dialogue around race and equity. He is passionate about social justice, public policy, and education reform issues. Before AmeriCorps, Ben worked as a writing tutor at the University of Maryland Writing Center and as a special needs camp counsellor at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington. In his free time, Ben enjoys hiking, reading, community gardening, and playing the oboe. During his AmeriCorps year, Ben is excited to further his career goals of advocating for positive social change through education.
Emely Olivais was born in Los Angeles, California but raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. While in high school she discovered her passion for teaching children. She graduated Montgomery Blair High School in June 2014 and is now studying at Montgomery College. Although the youngest member in AmeriCorps she does not let my age define the work she does with Montgomery Housing Partnership, where she helps students with their homework and teach preschoolers the basics to get them ready for Kindergarten. The things that mean the most to her is her family, community, and becoming a successful elementary school teacher whilst also seeking to receive her psychology degree.
David Payne is figuring out his own path and found it initially difficult to decide what to do as he started University. He knew during the summer of 2014 that he wanted to give back to the community that he had grown up in. After consoling his mentor during my Senior year at Howard University, she steered him toward doing AmeriCorps. David says that ‘ever since then, it has all been a wonderful, yet bumpy ride and this experience is nothing that can be duplicated’.
Ashley Peralta was born and raised in the Maryland metropolitan area but is strongly connected to her Panamanian heritage. She is especially proud of being the first American-born and first in her family to go to college in the United States. As a current senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, Ashley is majoring in Social & Cultural History on an education track with two minors in Asian American Studies and U.S. Latina/o Studies. She aspires to one day become a scholar or museum educator. This is her second year as a returning Corps member working with third graders and high school students at the George B. Thomas Learning Academy (Saturday School) in Montgomery Blair High School. Her passion for education is what makes her especially excited to be a part of AmeriCorps. She hopes to use what she learns AmeriCorps’ Project CHANGE in her future career.
Cinthia Razakalalao has a love of children that is equaled only by her love of life. As an AmeriCorps member for Montgomery Housing Partnership, she infuses all of her interactions with her students with a warm, compassionate and positive presence. Her priority is to make every child she comes into contact with feel heard, supported, and loved so that they can thrive both personally and academically. Cinthia plans to become a licensed clinical social worker to provide psychotherapy and counseling to minority children and youth in the community. She enjoys working with people of different cultures. A native of Madagascar who grew up in France before moving to the U.S, she has a B.A. in Spanish, and speaks French, Malagasy, Spanish and English. She volunteered with children in Peru for two weeks and backpacked independently throughout China and Southeast Asia for four months. In her spare time, she volunteers for a suicide prevention hotline as well as a sexual assault online hotline, and meditates daily.
A native of Northern New Jersey, Gregory Silber studied Writing Arts at Rowan University. He now uses his talent and passion for writing through AmeriCorps: Project CHANGE, teaching writing enrichment to advanced fourth and fifth grade students at JoAnn Leleck Elementary School at Broad Acres. While at Broad Acres, he started an after-school “Comics Club” to help fourth and fifth graders learn about sequential art and storytelling. Greg aspires to write comics, novels, screenplays, and other forms of creative writing, and strongly believes in the power of reading, writing, and storytelling to educate, entertain, and transform people throughout their lives