Monday, November 5, 2012

Meet Our Emerging Leaders: Profiles of AmeriCorps Members

Catalyst Miami is proud to host many amazing AmeriCorps members, who are giving a year of service through the VISTA and Public Allies programs. This dynamic group of young professionals are supporting key programs, from the Prosperity Campaign to ReServe and SoundOut to Connect for Good communications; everyone is working to build capacity here at Catalyst Miami. Meet our emerging leaders:

Felix Acuña won't stop believing, holding on to the feeling. He is a native of Chile, a land of poets (as he likes to think). He is a recent graduate of New College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. His motivation to get a  Psychology degree is questionable, so he is considering graduate studies in Sociology or Education. He hopes to get involved in a long term project enabling him do his part in saving the world from its own neglect. He is the New Media Coordinator at Catalyst Miami. His social media skills are applied to his work as a moderator for the Miami Thrives Network.

Elmasie Antoine is a first year AmeriCorps VISTA at Catalyst Miami. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Nonprofit Management. In her down time, she loves to read and practice creative writing. She looks forward to a productive year in the Catalyst family!
Jerry Percy Bethel is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in Miami, Florida. He joined Catalyst Miami as a VISTA in August 2012 after graduating from the Parent Leadership Training Institute at Catalyst Miami. He is looking forward to supporting the Prosperity Campaign during his term of service.  Jerry enjoys playing Fantasy Football and is currently undefeated!
Jill Gedeon is a native of Tampa, Florida. She came to Catalyst Miami as an AmeriCorps VISTA during the summer of 2012 to support the department of Civic Leadership as a Network Engagement Coordinator. She facilitates the 22-week SoundOut program for youth engagement and is helping to coordination of this year’s series of Imagine Miami conferences.  Fun facts: Jill has traveled to Haiti three times, and she met basketball player Ronnie Turiaft of the Miami Heat on her first day of work as an AmeriCorps VISTA.
Vaughan Alexander Johnson is a Chicago, Illinois native. He graduated magna cum with a degree in Aeronautical Science from Florida Memorial University in the spring of 2012. He aspires to be the sole proprietor of several renowned business ventures, including a marketing/promotions firm and a nightclub. When asked what drives him the most, he smiles and says his ambition is purely a result of his mother's legacy and the promises he made to both her and his sister. He is a Public Ally working with the Prosperity Campaign this year.
Mnar Muhareb is a native of Miami and recent graduate of Florida International University, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She plans to help better Miami with the help of peers and community during here service term with Public Allies Miami. She supports the SoundOut and Miami Thrives programs as a facilitator and program recruiter.
Kaplan Ocbe is a native of Ft. Lauderdale and a recent graduate of the University of Miami. He holds a Bachelors in Business and majored in economics and marketing and minored in English. He moved to Miami in his sophomore year of college and has since decided to stay indefinitely. After graduating from UM, he began working in property management and commercial real estate preceeding his journey with the Public Allies.  He has a long history of grassroots organizing for causes such as labor rights, student’s issues and the rights of low-income communities.
Born and raised in Miami, Philip Picaza had always suspected that he might someday take up a more active role in the civic life of the Magic City. While studying Journalism at Miami-Dade College, he stumbled across "A Tale of Two Cities," a study released by The Center for Citizenship and Democracy that documented the dire state of civic engagement in his hometown. Sensing opportunity for growth from what might otherwise be deemed a dismal scenario, Philip was catalyzed to action by this study and set out in search of a way to become involved. Months later, he was accepted into the Public Allies program and placed as a marketing coordinator at Catalyst Miami, where he develops communications platforms and promotes events for the many programs offered here.

Sarafina Robinson  moved to Miami from Durham, North Carolina to begin her service term as a Public Ally. She is working as the Communications Coordinator at Catalyst Miami, supporting various program initiatives through story-telling and marketing. She graduated from Furman University with a degree in Communication Studies. She enjoys traveling, exploring various cultures and engaging in the arts community. She is looking forward to her work as a Public Ally and is eager to engage with the Miami-Dade community.  

Jaheera White is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she majored in Sociology and African American Studies. She came to Catalyst Miami as Community Learning Coordinator VISTA AmeriCorps Member where she recruits local volunteers for specific program initiatives at Catalyst Miami. After her AmeriCorps service term, Jaheera hopes to attend law school.