New Publication Profiles Latest Class of Children and Family Fellows

Posted June 10, 2016, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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Drea­ma Gen­try left behind a law career to lead Berea College’s Part­ners for Edu­ca­tion, a pro­gram that works to improve edu­ca­tion­al out­comes for more than 35,000 young peo­ple in her native rur­al Appalachi­an Ken­tucky. Riti­ka Shar­ma Kurup saw pover­ty up close while grow­ing up in India, and now helps kids reach their poten­tial through Mont­gomery County’s Cam­paign for Grade-Lev­el Read­ing in Day­ton, Ohio. Mark Payne, who has lost friends to vio­lence or to prison, has devot­ed his career to com­mu­ni­ty safe­ty as exec­u­tive direc­tor of Cease­Fire Illinois.

Gen­try, Kurup and Payne are among 16 lead­ers from 13 states in the 20162017 class of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­low­ship, an inten­sive, 16-month exec­u­tive-devel­op­ment lead­er­ship pro­gram the Foun­da­tion start­ed in 1993. A new pub­li­ca­tion tells the sto­ries of how these lead­ers came to work on behalf of chil­dren, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties and what they hope to accom­plish in the future. The eight men and eight women in the tenth class of Fel­lows come from a wide array of back­grounds and play piv­otal roles in pro­grams focus­ing on edu­ca­tion, child wel­fare, youth devel­op­ment, coun­sel­ing, afford­able hous­ing, health, juve­nile jus­tice, vio­lence pre­ven­tion and com­mu­ni­ty development.

In many cas­es, per­son­al expe­ri­ences inspired the new Fel­lows to pur­sue careers serv­ing oth­ers. Raquel Donoso’s expe­ri­ence as a sin­gle moth­er at the age of 18, for exam­ple, fueled her inter­est in pur­su­ing large-scale pol­i­cy changes to increase oppor­tu­ni­ties for strug­gling families.

Donoso now directs the Mis­sion Promise Neigh­bor­hood in San Fran­cis­co, a fed­er­al­ly fund­ed ini­tia­tive sup­port­ing young peo­ple from cra­dle to career, and looks for­ward to using the Fellowship’s focus on results-based lead­er­ship devel­op­ment to advance her work. The Fel­low­ship can help me build the skills, tools and net­work of peo­ple doing large-scale sys­tems work to learn how we can align the ser­vices and con­tri­bu­tions each part­ner is mak­ing to have a deep­er impact,” she says.

Read more about the Fel­lows in the 2016 Class of Casey Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­lows Pro­file Booklet

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