Ananda Timpane, Executive Director
Ananda is Executive Director at Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP). Ananda grew up in South County, attending the Stockbridge Plain School, the Great Barrington Steiner School and Hawthorne Valley High School in Ghent. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2002 and is a Masters candidate in the Social Justice Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. From 2004-2009, as an Outreach Educator at the Berkshire Violence Prevention Center, Ananda worked with South County youth to prevent sexual harassment, relationship and sexual violence. While at UMass Amherst, Ananda was the Education and Prevention Specialist at the Center for Women and community where she taught and supervised their Educator Advocate program until 2012. In her current role at RSYP, Ananda continues to support youth with the behind the scenes work it takes to run a small youth organization day-to-day. When she is not at RSYP, Ananda hangs out with her dog, Stella, reads, and keeps tabs on current pop culture trends with a healthy dose of TV watching.
Kamal Johnson, Deputy Director
Kamal is the Deputy Director at Railroad Street Youth Project. Kamal grew up in Hudson N.Y. and graduated from Columbia Greene Community College in 2005 and SUNY New Paltz in 2007. Kamal has a background in various after-school/summer programs. As well as working in various forms of the agency Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood which is based on the iconic Harlem Children’s Zone. Kamal saw RSYP as his dream job to be able to bring his various experiences under one roof. When not at RSYP you can find Kamal on the radio show WGXC Drive Time on 90.7 or running his Fatherhood Initiative POPS.
Sonia Filipczak, Director of Youth & Community Health
Sonia is the Director of Youth & Community Health at RSYP. Originally from Morristown, NJ, Sonia studied Biology at Essex County College in 2012 and completed her degree at UMASS, Amherst with a B.S. in Public Health Sciences in 2014. During her stay at UMASS, Sonia was active in her campus community serving as a certified Peer Health Educator through University Health Service and the Center for Health Promotion. Sonia also spent her two years at UMASS doing research in Microbiology and Biomedical laboratories. Sonia is so excited to join the team here at RSYP. She intends to use her passion for empowering youth, mixed with a fusion of hard science and public health, to help strategize a health conscious change to RSYP and surrounding towns. When Sonia isn’t at work, you can find her creating edible art, finger painting, learning something new or just exploring the world with her puppy.
Luiza Trabka, YOB & Special Projects Coordinator
Luiza is the Youth Operational Board and Special Projects Coordinator. She is a certified sexual health educator and facilitator in our Sexual Health Initiative where she leads program coordination at Simon’s Rock College. She was born in New York City but raised in Berkshire County. After attending two years at Monument Mountain High School she attended four years at Bard College at Simon’s Rock where she studied Cross-Cultural Relations. During her senior year at Simon’s Rock Luiza served as an intern at RSYP helping to organize community events. That internship was her introduction to youth development work and it opened a world of possibilities. As she takes on her new responsibilities, Luiza hopes to continue to provide the support for local youth to make informed decisions about their lives, and to take complete control of their lives. In her free time Luiza loves to spend time milking cows, making art, dancing, and learning as many skills as possible that might come in handy during the Apocalypse. Her life-long goal is to be a Youth Empowerment Cowgirl.
Caitlin Hugel, Apprenticeships and Careers Coordinator
Caitlin is Coordinator of the Railroad Street Apprenticeship Program and oversees RSYP’s Jobs and Career support and programming. She is a certified sexual health educator in our Sexual Health Initiative, coordinating programming at Monument Mt. Regional High School. Caitlin came to us as the Americorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow at RSYP last year and we couldn’t be happier to have her stay on. Originally from Gloucester, MA, Caitlin loves her new home in the Berkshires and life “over the bridge.” Caitlin graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a BA in Theatre Education and summa cum laude honors. She has also attended university in Ireland and the Netherlands. In the past, Caitlin has been a student, a director, an actress, a museum educator, a secretary, a teacher, a bartender, a backpacker, a Peace Corps trainee, and now, an Americorps Volunteer. She looks forward to helping RSYP’s constituents navigate their own professional goals. In her spare time, Caitlin pines for Ireland, goes on frequent Netflix binges, sings in her car, talks people’s ears off, is learning ukulele, and tries to say “yes” to new adventures and experiences!
Johnathan McFarland, Jobs and Careers Coordinator and Massachusetts Promise Fellow AmeriCorps Volunteer
Johnathan is the current AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow serving at RSYP. He is originally from Arizona but was raised mostly in San Antonio,Texas and Sharon Springs, New York. In March of 2015 Johnathan became an enthusiastic constituent at RSYP, after moving to West Stockbridge. He hopes to gain the necessary skills to earn a college degree in social justice and non-profit management in order to fulfill his dream of opening a charter school. In Johnathan’s spare time he enjoys playing basketball and co-op board games.
Stella, Puppy in Residence
Stella joined the RSYP team as the Puppy in Residence in 2013 at 10 weeks old. She is a life long learner currently attending Real Life Obedience School in Egremont, MA, while continuing her on the job residency. Stella works directly with youth and staff to bring laughter and fun to the Drop-in Center and conduct outreach to youth around town. In her time off, Stella enjoys hanging out at the dog park, long walks and playing tug with just about anyone.