MEET RSYP STAFF!

Ananda Timpane
Executive Director
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AnandaAnanda 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
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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

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Filipczak_photoSonia 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.

Ari Cameron
YOB & Special Projects Coordinator

Sexual Health Education Facilitator
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Ari is the Youth Operational Board and Special Projects Coordinator. Originally from Newburyport, MA, Ari spent the last six years working in a variety of afterschool programs, summer camps, and other informal educational settings in NYC. Her work has ranged from teaching poetry, to building curriculums focused on food justice, to leading workshops for educators and parents on managing and preventing identity-based bullying. In 2015, Ari was a featured speaker on Gender Inclusivity at the American Camping Association’s Tristate Conference. She believes deeply in the transformative powers of storytelling, intergenerational hangouts, and place-based learning. Ari is very excited to join the team at RSYP and looking forward to becoming a part of the South County community. In her free time, she likes to garden, ride her bicycle, and write poems. Her recent poems can be found or are forth-coming in journals such as Potluck, Storm Cellar, Whiskey Island, The Offing, and Vinyl.

 

Johnathan McFarland
Jobs and Careers Coordinator
Massachusetts Promise Fellow AmeriCorps Volunteer
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FOTD207Johnathan 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

StellaStella 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.