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.
Chris is the Deputy Director and Director of Empowerment 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 serves as an Artistic Director at Bazaar Productions which produces the Berkshire Fringe and the work of Kickwheel Ensemble which has been featured in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Berkshire Eagle, the Valley Advocate, Rural Intelligence, Metroland, Berks
Director of Youth & Community Health
Sonia is the Director of Youth & Community Health at RSYP. Originally from Morristown, NJ, she 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.
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 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.
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 improve dance pieces.
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.
Lead Public Health Coordinator
Jayne is the Lead Public Health Coordinator at RSYP. Jayne grew up in both Arizona and Maine and graduated from Hermon High School in Maine. She completed her A.A.S. in Ecology and Environmental Technology from Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks before completing a B.S. in Natural Resources: Soil and Water Technology from University of Maine, Orono. Jayne moved to the Berkshires with her husband and two children after 4 corporate transfers in her husband’s career, which allowed them to live in many places, including Florida, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. With each move, Jayne became more involved in working with youth and prioritized making a positive impact in each community that she lived. After moving back to the Berkshires in 2014, Jayne has been very active in local prevention efforts and is excited to work on meaningful projects with RSYP. When not working, Jayne is an avid gardener and enjoys spending time with her family and tending to the many animals that reside on her small farm.
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.