Anjanine Bonet, Scholarships & Operations Manager
Born in Oakland and raised in San Pablo and Berkeley, Anjanine dedicated her youth to the pursuit of classical music, theater, and academic success (nerd alert!). After completing her undergraduate degree, Anjanine worked as, among other things, a violin teacher, gigging/recording instrumentalist and vocalist, and academic tutor in New Haven, CT before returning to California – this time, to Richmond, which she is happy to call home. Before becoming the Scholarships & Internal Operations Manager, Anjanine served with Richmond Promise as the Scholarships & Data Coordinator (Americorps VISTA) and is truly thrilled to work alongside such an incredible team serving such promising Scholars.
“This work is deeply important to me. Throughout my youth, I was immensely fortunate to have encountered equity-minded adults who wanted to see me succeed and worked to help me access opportunities I sincerely doubt I would have had otherwise. But for me, this work is not only about giving back (important as I think that is) – it’s also about trying to do my part, however small, to move us forward as a people.”
Catherine Collins, Communications & Development Associate (Americorps Vista)
Catherine recently moved back to her hometown of San Rafael, CA, following graduation from Gonzaga University with a BA in International Relations and Spanish. Growing up in a household of teachers, Catherine has always been passionate about educational equity and how classrooms might better celebrate and support students from underserved communities. After three years of marketing work with Gonzaga’s Center for Community Engagement, Catherine returned to the Bay Area with a desire to understand the intersections of community health, development, and education in/around her home. She now joins the Richmond Promise team as a Communications and Development Associate through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She can frequently be found reading or attempting recipes inspired by Chef’s Table marathons in her free time.
“When old systems fail, there’s this opportunity for our work. The work/lived experience of small business owners, Richmond residents, local officials, educators, etc. to come together and make magic out of shared love and commitment to this city’s health. It has been an incredible privilege to continually witness, learn from, and highlight the hope, creativity, and connection among our youth and neighbors.”
Miguel Molina, Manager of College Access Programs & Partnerships
Born and raised in the streets of Richmond, California, Miguel Molina is a graduate from Richmond High and most recently UC Davis. As a young adolescent growing up through a turbulent time period of gang violence, economic recession, and infrastructural decay, Miguel understands the harsh conditions many communities like our own have suffered through. Miguel’s past work experience includes working as a mentor and instructional aide at Davis Senior High with ESL Students, and most recently as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Richmond Promise as Communications and Outreach coordinator. He currently serves as our College Access Coordinator, outreaching to the community & school sites, as well as coordinating our access and awareness programs.
“I am motivated to work at Richmond Promise because I am able to provide support services to my community. As a first-gen student I understand how difficult it is to gain access to and success in college. I am eager to provide our youth with the power and knowledge to thrive in higher education!”
Briana Quarles, College Success Coordinator (Americorps Vista)
Briana was born and raised in the state of South Carolina. A graduate of the University of South Carolina (the REAL USC) with a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies with a Sociology cognate, Briana has the desire to dismantle barriers to excellent education for marginalized populations across the country. She’s served as an Americorps site coordinator and reading interventionalist for Reading Partners and spent two years as a Teach For America corps member teaching for Meeting Street Schools. She found her next opportunity to serve youth in the pursuit of better education through Richmond Promise as the Americorps VISTA College Success Coordinator. She will also be attending Holy Names University in the pursuit of a Masters in Educational Therapy.
“I am motivated to work at Richmond Promise because I know how hard is to get into and stay in college as a first-generation college-going student. My hope is that I can provide scholarship recipients the support that I wish I had when I was in college, giving them that extra boost it takes to get through the experience.
Maribel Rodriguez, Development Director
A proud immigrant with Roots in La Piedad Michoacan, Mexico, Maribel has dedicated her career to working towards social justice and equity while uplifting the voices of People of Color. Maribel holds a double degree from UC Santa Cruz in Sociology and Latinx Studies as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration from CSU East Bay. Before joining Richmond Promise Maribel worked at a various non-profit organization in the bay area providing both direct services and most recently focusing on fund development. She approaches fundraising from a community-centric approach and is invested in dismantling the notion of scarcity created by the non-profit industrial complex.
“I am fortunate to be part of the team because my academic journey was influenced by organizations like Richmond Promise! Being able to provide a humble contribution to such a powerful mission and witness the rise of the next generation of leaders feels me with joy.
Jessie Stewart, Executive Director
Jessie brings over a decade of experience at the intersection of education and community development to the Richmond Promise. Prior to joining the Promise, Jessie served as National Director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities + Schools Y-PLAN (Youth-Plan, Learn, Act Now) Educational Initiative. As Y-PLAN National Director, Jessie built cross-sector partnerships to engage schools and young people in a range of city and education policy issues across the nation. In this role, Jessie worked here in Richmond and the WCCUSD with city, school, district, community and business partners to plan and implement various projects with students and teachers at Kennedy, De Anza, and Richmond High. Jessie began her career in education as a founding high school history teacher at Golder College Prep in Chicago, IL where she had the privilege of handing out diplomas to the school’s first graduating class.
As founding Executive Director, Jessie provides leadership, fundraising, program coordination, and budget administration for the organization.
“Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, home of the groundbreaking Kalamazoo Promise, and a proud graduate of Kalamazoo Public Schools, I know great things can happen when a college-going culture becomes an ethos of a city and higher education is a right for all, rather than a privilege for a few.”
Troy Burts, Scholarships & Data Coordinator (Americorps Vista)
Troy spent most of their life in Buffalo, NY, before moving to further their education in North Carolina. They come to us as our Vista Scholarships and Data Coordinator as a recent graduate from University North Carolina Chapel Hill with an emphasis on data management and sustainable business practices. Go Tar Heels!!! Troy’s focus is to bridge the educational retention gap through tech by the means of accessible data management. COVID-19 times have sparked even larger questions about equity gaps in our communities surrounding internet access and basic computer skills. During their free time, they love buying the bulk spices from Berkeley Bowl.
“How do we get our data to work for us? What questions have to be asked? Who has accessibility to the data? How do we create equity through our data?”
Desirae McNeil, College Success Coordinator (Americorps Vista)
Raised in Hercules, California, Desirae attended Diablo Valley College before transferring to UC San Diego, where she obtained a BA in Psychology. Desire has a deep desire and passion for empowering those who come from marginalized communities and assisting them with navigating higher education. While attending community college, she was given the opportunity to work as a computer lab assistant for Disability Support Services (DSS). Upon transferring to UC San Diego, she worked as a program assistant at an on-campus wellness center and served as a transfer peer mentor for the Black Resource Center. Before joining the Promise, Desirae served as a Student Success Program Coordinator for the First-Year Experience Program at Contra Costa College. There she assisted students with navigating their first year of college and provided college success workshops. As the Americorps VISTA College Success Coordinator, Desirae now develops college transition programming and supports RP Scholars.
“If it were not for the support I received in college, I would not be where I am now. My passion for helping others is deeply rooted in my experience of others, helping me succeed in school. I am eager and excited to start providing that same support I was given to our Richmond Promise students.”
Ana Isabel Perez, College Access Coordinator (Americorps Vista)
Ana Isabel was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and moved to San Pablo as a pre-adolescent. She is a Richmond High School alumna and received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Davis. Ana Isabel is currently in the last phase of completing her Master’s degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies from San Jose State University. She has served as a mentor, advisor, and social justice advocate in her previous roles. Ana Isabel has a drive and passion for helping students figure out their college and career pathway(s) post-high school. She is also a makeup enthusiast who likes to uplift women, build confidence, and provide holistic support to first-generation college students. Additionally, as a Senior Legal Assistant at the Chan and Jang Law Firm, she enjoys helping families understand their options and find pathways to adjusting or changing their immigration status. Ana Isabel currently serves as the VISTA College Access Coordinator, where she assists and leads college access programming and supports students with Financial Aid.
“I am excited to continue my journey with the Richmond Promise team because, as someone who grew up and attended schools in the WCCUSD, I understand the barrier students experience to access higher education. It has been important for me to return and give back to my community. I am excited to continue to pave the way and support first-generation students as they embark on their college journey.”
Cynthia Ramirez-Parra, College & Career Success Manager
Cynthia was born and raised in the City of Richmond. As a scholar within WCCUSD, she graduated from John F. Kennedy High School and joined the first Richmond Promise cohort. Having experienced and dedicated her undergrad career at UC Berkeley to support college students, she knows of the many barriers students face— academic, financial, mental, social, and more. As the new College and Career Success Manager, she works closely with the RP team to develop and implement the necessary programming to establish college and career success metrics for our college students.
“I am fortunate to work for the Richmond Promise because of the diverse and talented students they serve and represent. I know from first-hand experience the barriers that exist and persist even after graduating high school. I only hope that my advocacy, expertise, and passion can help students succeed beyond their aspirations.”
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