Our Team

Learn more about the “who” that advance our mission, manage our programs, perform and follow through with our no-cost consulting projects.

Who We Are and What We Do

Learn More About YMC

Play Video

Staff

 

9715-001

Atrayus O. Goode

President & CEO

Atrayus O. Goode (he/they) began his professional mentoring journey by founding Movement of Youth (MOY) in 2006 as a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This award-winning mentoring and youth development agency was based on a program he completed in high school sponsored by the 100 Black Men of Charlotte. At its peak, MOY operated in several states, and students achieved a 100% high school graduation rate and 96.5% college attendance rate.

Atrayus has global experience, including consulting in South Africa with Vuleka School, leading several all-Black delegations to Cuba to examine historical and present-day Cuban realities, and traveling to Palestine to explore issues of detention and incarceration, the Israeli military court system, and Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace with justice.

Atrayus is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the UNC Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Young Alumni Award and the North Carolina Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service, the state’s highest award for volunteer service. He has also been featured on various media platforms, including StoryCorps and TED.

Atrayus holds a Master of Science in Organization Development from the American University School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was initiated into the Mu Zeta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

He resides in Durham, North Carolina, and is the proud father of Everette Rose, 12.

BIPOC person smiling at the camera

Kanalyn Jackson

Vice President of Youth Programs & Organizational Culture

Kanalyn Jackson (she/her/hers) is a Durham native with a background in higher education. She has extensive experience with leadership development, training and facilitation, and community engagement.

Kanalyn has also worked in the non-profit sector providing leadership opportunities and resources to residents in rural North Carolina. It was through that experience that she learned the value of being civically engaged in the community, and it is something that has become important in her career and personal life.

Kanalyn holds a B.A in English Literature and Masters of Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She enjoys interior decorating, spending time with friends and family, and the occasional candle making.

6291-001

Sontee Dean

Manager of Youth Advocacy & Community Engagement

Sontee Dean (she/her/hers) is a North Carolina native that has been passionate about helping others since a young age. She has previously volunteered at the Compass Center as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and advocated for social injustices against Black and Brown students at UNC-Chapel Hill.

While interning at Youth Mentoring Collaborative, her interest in social justice and community advocacy was enriched to a new level. Her values include joy, integrity, curiosity, and passion which she reflects in her work ethic and personality. Sontee holds a B.A.Ed in Human Development and Family Science and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Aiming to support and empower youth, Sontee is excited to continue advocating for a better future for today, tomorrow, and the generations to come. In her spare time, Sontee enjoys spending time with her husband Tré and fur baby Ava.

Consulting Team

 

an older BIPOC individual staring at the camera

Frank Pollock

Consultant

For more than 20 years Frank Pollock (he/him/his) has worked at the intersection of marketing, innovation, and technology. He honed his craft at Disney/ABC, Frito-Lay, General Mills, and Colgate-Palmolive before founding The Pioneer Group, where he works with high-growth companies to develop marketing strategies, deploy marketing technology stacks, and drive results. In addition to his professional background, he has served on a number of non-profit boards including chairing the Kidznotes Marketing Committee.

Jasmin Spain_2

Jasmin Spain

Consultant

Jasmin Spain (he/him/his) holds a Bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Wesleyan College in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree from North Carolina State University in Counselor Education with a concentration in Student Personnel in Higher Education. Jasmin has two decades of higher education experience, currently serving as the Assistant Vice President of Student Support at Pitt Community College. Jasmin also serves on the advisory boards for the North Carolina Community College System’s Minority Male Success Initiative, Student Conduct & Title IX and First Generation. Jasmin has an Equity Coach certification as well. Jasmin is also the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) of The M.A.I.N. Initiative LLC, which stands for Males Addressing Issues & Needs as well as the Founder & President of U Good Bro, Incorporated. Essentially, the purpose of both entities is to assist in the holistic cultivation of the male population, with a special emphasis on Black men and boys with their psycho, social and emotional health at the forefront. Jasmin is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and is also a Campaign for Black Male Achievement American Express Leadership Fellow.

an older BIPOC individual smiling for the camera

Dr. Harvey Hinton III

Consultant

A native of Durham, North Carolina, Dr. Harvey Hinton III (he/him/his) comes from a tradition of Black people who were leaders, educators, athletes, builders, and healers. Throughout his 20-year professional career in leadership and influencing others, he has relied on such traditions in pursuit of his passion of engaging youth and creating change in his community. His insights are garnered from working closely with higher education leadership, non-profits, local and regional corporations, and community organizations in creating equitable experiential learning experiences. Dr. Hinton is Executive Director at Kuumba, LLC and a Culture of Health Leaders fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Hinton is a proud AGGIE having earned his B.S. in Industrial Technology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University before earning his M.S. and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University. AGGIE PRIDE and Boiler Up!

Megan McCurley-cropped

Megan McCurley

Consultant

Megan McCurley (she/her/hers) is a Latina educator, facilitator, and mother based in Durham, NC. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Latino Educational Achievement Partnership (LEAP), an organization that empowers children in Durham to achieve academic success by providing a high-quality, dual-language preschool and on-going support throughout middle school. Megan has a BS in Childhood Education and an MA in Anthropology and Education and brings both non-profit leadership and organizing experience as well as a deep commitment to supporting Latinx families in Durham.

Since moving to NC in 2008, she has worked at Duke and at UNC Chapel Hill, where she served as the Executive Director of the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education and as an Adjunct Instructor. She helped to build the Bull City Community Schools Partnership as one of the first Community School Coordinators in Durham Public Schools, implementing Improvement Science to support and transform Public Schools in North Carolina. Megan lives with her partner and two children who attend Durham Public Schools.

Board of Directors

 

Barbara Jessie-Black

Barbara Jessie-Black

Board Chair

Barbara Jessie-Black (she/her/hers) received her BBA from Augusta University in Augusta, GA. During her 15 year career as a retail manager with a national retail chain, Barbara received her MBA from Meredith College, in Raleigh, NC and became co-founder of a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to search for innovative ways to achieve socio-economic equalities in communities through holistic and entrepreneurship based education. Currently, Barbara is the President/CEO of CommunityWorx (formerly the PTA Thrift Shop, Inc.) whose mission is to enrich lives by building collaborative partnerships and transforming charitable donations into educational and community investments. She is active in both the communities in which she lives and works by serving on several boards and volunteering her time to causes close to her heart, which include workforce and economic development; access to health care; issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as other issues in the social justice space. She is fluent in German, a yoga enthusiast, and includes in her spiritual practice daily meditation and annual silent retreats.

7C306FAB-1B7D-45D8-8CE3-81802F6122E6

NaShonda Bender-Cooke

Board Vice-Chair

Ms. NaShonda Bender-Cooke (she/her/hers), an award winning and internationally recognized eighth-generation educator, is a 23 year veteran of North Carolina’s public school system. Originally from Pennsylvania by way of Mississippi, she grew up the eldest of 5 children in a single-parent home. A graduate of Edinboro University of PA, she earned honors for academic and athletic performances. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and received her Master's in Special Education from UNC at Chapel Hill in 2010. Ms. Cooke is active in several roles advocating for marginalized students such as increasing the number of educators of color in schools. Ms. Cooke has been director and lead mentor of after school programs serving Durham and Raleigh students 3rd through 12th grade. In her free time, she is a blog writer on topics of equity in and out of the classroom, addressing the needs of students and teachers, as well as raising a child with Autism. She teaches in Wake County and serves as Vice Chair for Governor Roy Cooper’s Teacher Education Advisory Committee. Recently serving as a steering team committee member for Wake County Public School’s Helping Hands mentoring program, she chaired the task force to begin the mentoring program STARS that addresses the needs of Black and Brown female students. Currently she is a lead mentor of DIAMONDS at Millbrook High School. She continues to serve as a consultant to support participants and parents of similar programs statewide as well as a beginning teacher mentor. Ms. Bender-Cooke teaches at Millbrook Magnet High School and lives in Raleigh with her two daughters.

JaLisha Richmond

JaLisha Richmond

Board Co-Treasurer

JaLisha is Thread Capital’s director of lending and client support. She leads Thread Capital’s loan origination, coaching, connections, and customer service efforts, with the goal of executing Thread Capital’s mission of strengthening entrepreneurship and expanding access to capital for small businesses in North Carolina. Prior to joining the Thread, JaLisha worked as a program associate for the NC Rural Center and was a dedicated AmeriCorps member, spending time working with various nonprofits through the southwestern region of the United States. From there, she returned to assist nonprofits in her native community.

JaLisha is a Durham native and a graduate of Emory University with a bachelor’s in chemistry and a minor in global health, culture, and society. She enjoys filling unclaimed time with traveling, pretending to exercise on social media, and binge-watching TV with Garrett and two dogs, Jim Bean and Dacarius.

Derek Williams

Derek Williams

Board Co-Treasurer

Derek Williams joined Self-Help in 2018 and is the Capital Development Associate on the Development, Policy, and Impact team. Derek oversees the daily operations of the organization’s $200 million CDFI Bond Guarantee Program allocations and supports the fundraising of debt and equity capital for Self-Help’s New Markets Tax Credit investment pools, commercial real estate projects, and general liquidity needs. In his role, Derek also focuses on compliance management and relationship building with key funders of Self-Help.

Prior to joining Self-Help, Derek managed a $2 million microloan fund for rural entrepreneurs at the NC Rural Economic Development Center. He also spent time working with local angel and venture capital investment firms, providing research and due diligence support.

Derek earned his Master’s of Business Administration Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his B.A. from Duke University. He currently serves on the board of directors of Housing for New Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Durham, NC, and regularly volunteers with Youth Education for Savings Consortium to teach children money management, business, and finance skills.

Kenny Bond

Kenny Bond

Kenny Bond (he/him/his) spent his early years growing up in Southern Maryland. The oldest of 14 children he was a mentor, leader, and role model to his siblings as well as his young cousins.  In 1972 Kenny moved to Washington DC where he began what became a 37-year career with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke/Grants Management Branch. Kenny rose in the ranks as he pursued his studies at George Washington University. Applying both his natural talent for mentoring and his years of experience in leadership, his career led him to the position of Section Chief, Grants Management Officer, a position he held for over 20 years. The greatest highlight of his career was laying the groundwork for starting Neuroscience Programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and successfully creating 12 neuroscience programs at HBCUs within the continental US and domestic territories.  After retirement in 2008, Kenny married Dr. Sheila Bridges and moved to join his wife in Durham, NC. In his retirement he pursued his passions in mentoring youth, genealogy research, and memoir writing.  Kenny has published seven short stories along with his co-authors in, The Storyteller’s Pen: Friday Morning Writers Collected Works 2008-2015. He continues to engage in memoir writing with plans to publish his next book. Kenny is motivated to serve, guided by the philosophy “to much is given, much is expected.”

Dr. Shauna Cooper

Dr. Shauna Cooper

Board Member

Dr. Shauna M. Cooper (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of the Strengths, Assets, and Resilience (StAR) Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Faculty Excellence, RTI Scholar, and an affiliated faculty in the Frank Porter Graham Institute/Center for Developmental Science and the Institute of African American Research. Currently, Dr. Cooper is an Equity Scholar at the Urban Institute  in Washington, DC.

Dr. Cooper’s areas of expertise include examining how race-related experiences and inequities are related to the well-being (e.g., mental health; school adjustment) of racially and culturally diverse children and families. Highlighting the individual and interactive influences of family, school, and community contexts, her work spans several areas of expertise, including the racial and cultural context of parenting, father involvement and engagement among African American fathers, girls’ health and well-being, and community-level risk and protective factors. Dr. Cooper has published in a variety of scientific journals, including the Journal of Research on Adolescence, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Journal of School Psychology, Psychology of Men and Masculinities, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, American Journal of Men’s Health, and Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. Dr. Cooper’s research has been funded by several agencies and organizations, including the National Institute of Minority Health Disparities and National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, as well as the distinguished National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award. Dr. Cooper is also an Associate Editor for Child Development, an Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Family Psychology, Psychology of Men and Masculinities, Social Development, and Child Clinical and Family Psychology Review as well as an ad-hoc reviewer for over 15 journals.

Bruce Mack

Dr. Bruce Mack

Board Member

Dr. Bruce Mack currently serves as the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Chief Academic Officer, for Cleveland Community College. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing over 100 programs and more than 70 full-time faculty. Before taking this role, he served as the Vice President of Economic Development for North Carolina Community College System. Prior to taking this position, June 2021, Mack served as the Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development for Cleveland Community College. He was at Cleveland for 25 years, serving as a faculty member, director, dean, and vice president.

Prior to working in higher education, Mack was a Manufacturing Engineer with Curtiss Wright Flight Systems and an Applications Engineer at Wirtz Manufacturing. A native of Shelby and a graduate of Crest High School, Mack has an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Industrial Engineering Technology from Gaston College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a Master of Engineering from NC State with a concentration in mathematics, and Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Gardner-Webb University. In 2008, Mack was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award from Cleveland Community College. He also is a 2014 graduate of the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program.

He currently serves on the board of directors for the Cleveland County YMCA, the United Way, the State Employees Credit Union, the Cleveland County Schools Educational Foundation, and the Community Math Academy. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Mack and his wife, Michelle, have two children and reside in Kings Mountain.

a young BIPOC person smiling for the camera

Kennedy Ruff

Board Member

Kennedy Ruff (she/her/hers) is a youth board member on the Youth Mentoring Collaborative Board of Directors. She is originally from Durham, NC and attended Durham School of the Arts. She was introduced to mentorship in high school where she participated in Movement of Youth while engaging in other extracurricular activities. She is a recent graduate from Guilford College where she studied Psychology and Biology. During her time at Guilford, she participated in the Guilford Student Body Association, Black Student Union, Enrollment Committee and a Peer Mentor. Upon graduating Guilford college, she is now working as a research associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Inequity; she coordinates for the Hank & Billy Aaron Suber Young Scholars Research program, collaborates with researchers projects, and conducts her own research. In her free time, Kennedy enjoys spending time with her family, exploring North Carolina with her son, and catching up on movies.

Justice Skinner_Cropped

Justice Skinner

Board Member

Justice Skinner (he/him/his) is in his third year at North Carolina State University, majoring in Animal Science; he plans to attend veterinary school upon completion of his B.S. Currently, Justice serves as a Youth Board Member at Youth Mentoring Collaborative. In his spare time, he enjoys archery, cooking, photography, and traveling. One of his professional and personal passions is working with youth in mentoring and advocacy capacities.

Salima Thomas Headshot

Salima Thomas

Board Member

Salima Thomas (she/her/hers) is an award-winning leader, strategist, speaker, and trainer with a passion for systems-thinking and meaningfully engaging communities. She grew up in the Triangle area with roots in the "Big Apple" of New York. Salima has spent over fifteen years of her professional career serving the public sector including nonprofits, government, and faith-based organizations. Salima exemplifies her passion and commitment to organizational capacity building that leaves a positive impact on people and communities. She is a diligent advocate for equity and inclusion. She uses her platform to champion causes that excite her including leadership development, health & wellness, and the performing arts and culture. Salima has served on boards and committees throughout the state and nationally. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In addition, Salima has been recognized with awards such as the Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Leadership Award and the Association Executives of North Carolina’s Rising Star. A Spartan and Forty-Niner alumnae, Salima received her bachelor’s in music education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s in public administration with dual concentrations in arts administration and nonprofit management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In her free time, she enjoys the arts, traveling to new places, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.

52497767304_d25a280a54_o

Resources

Peruse our carefully researched and refined mentoring resources for caregivers, mentors, programs, and youth.

52497958555_379ccf4da9_o

Apply for a Consultancy

Looking for capacity-building support? Look no further! We provide no-cost quality consulting for youth-serving programs and initiatives across the Carolinas and beyond.

Youth gathered in a college library.

Stay Up-To-Date

Follow along with our current happenings, including guides, conversations, op-eds, and more on our blog!