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 completed her Masters 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.
Sexual Health Education Facilitator
Chris is the Deputy Director at RSYP. He grew up in Delaware, Ohio and graduated from Muskingum University in 2000 and UCLA in 2003. Chris spent the last eight years as the Associate Professor and Director of Theatre at Heidelberg University. Since 2003 he has also worked as a counselor, Program Director, and Director in Los Angeles and Northwest Connecticut for summer youth programs. He has been a featured speaker and program coordinator at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the American Camp Association’s Tri-State and New England conference on a number of social justice and youth programming issues. He also is a passionate theatre maker and his work has been featured in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Berkshire Eagle, the Valley Advocate, Rural Intelligence, Metroland, Berks
YOB & Special Projects Coordinator
Sexual Health Education Facilitator
Ari is the Youth Operational Board and Special Projects Coordinator. Originally from Newburyport, MA, she 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 food justice curriculums, to leading collaborative storytelling workshops. In 2015, Ari was a featured speaker on Gender Inclusivity at the American Camping Association’s Tristate Conference. 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.
Sabrina is the Mentoring Coordinator, focusing on building empowered youth and adult relationships. She spent her early years in Southern Berkshire County, later residing in all 4 corners of CT over the span of 25 years. She returned to her roots in the Berkshires in 2013 with her husband and 2 children. Sabrina graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2000 with a BA in Psychology. Early in her career she worked in the mental health field and social service insurance programs for low income families. She spent the next 12 years working in both the insurance and renewable energy industries in sales, management, coaching and training. Her work in energy and eco sustainability allowed the opportunity to help build an international library in Ghana, Africa and a water accessibility project in West Java, Indonesia. Sabrina left the corporate world to pursue her artistic passions, started a self- empowered blog, Pinky’s Pen, while creating a series of free form dances she calls Freedom Dance. You can find her at home with her family, which includes backyard chickens and a puppy. There she paints, writes poetry, sings and creates improv dance pieces.
Apprentice Coordinator and Mentoring Associate
Huckleberry Elling is a visual artist, originally from Los Angeles. She uses her textile arts to create interactive installations and encourages participatory experiences. Huck is also a teaching artist and shares her practice with students with the goal of deepening our understanding of identity, empathy and optimism. She has worked with students at Bard Academy at Simon’s Rock, IS183, The Montessori School Of The Berkshires, and students from Northern Berkshire County as an artist in residence at Mass MoCA.
Maeve is the Development Associate at RSYP. Maeve grew up in South County, attending Mount Everett in Sheffield and Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington. She completed her B.A. in Psychology and Studio Arts with a specialization in Art Therapy at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson in 2013. During her time at Bard, Maeve was an active member of B.R.A.V.E (Bard’s Response to Rape and Associated Violence Education) and a co-founding member of the Body Image Awareness Alliance. Inspired by the impact donors can have on RSYP’s mission to empower youth and support inter-generational community in Southern Berkshire County, Maeve joined the RSYP team in 2016. When Maeve is not at work, you can find her in the ceramics studio, training for another half-marathon, or spending time in her garden.
Key is a 21-year-old human, who was born in Boston, MA, grew up in the cornfields of Canaan,CT, while commuting to Rudolf Steiner School in Great Barrington, MA for 11 years. They then moved with the family to Otis, MA, and attended Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, MA. After they graduated, they attended Holyoke Community College for two years. As a traditional student, Key transferred to Mount Holyoke College as a Sophomore and Jack Kent Cooke Scholar. Currently, Key is the originating designer, co-founder, and facilitator of the Railroad street Youth Student Empowerment Program known as the RYSE Program. When they are not bustling around, Key loves to hang out with friends, sprawl across the floor, and sleep.
Community Health Advocate
Mason Amann is a photographer, activist, and Anarchafeminist. New to Great Barrington, he has found a home in the Youth Project and the people involved with it. Mason is passionate about liberation through community building and care for our environment. He is working to educate himself through experience and reading as many books as he can get his hands on. Mason spends his days making delicious food and planning how to destroy oppression and coercion in all its forms.
DuBois Mural Youth Coordinator
Zufan is a rising senior at Monument Mountain High School. Zufan is a captain of the varsity soccer team and ran in states for her 4×4 team in track and field. Zufan is the youth leader on the W.E.B. Du Bois Mural Project which has been helping her develop her leadership skills and making new friends. She is passionate about education and free speech. In her free time, she likes to watch movies and spend quality time with friends and family.
Theresa is a senior at MMRHS. She participates in chorus, an A capella group, and Shakespeare Fall Festival at school. After a friend introduced her to RSYP, she quickly came to know it as a positive, safe space where she can make connections with new people within her community. She is passionate about singing, acting, and catching food in her mouth. In her free time, she likes to eat salt and vinegar chips and pet her pets.
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.