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speaker-info

Ayana Crichton

Senior Project Manager for Educational Initiatives, United Way of Rhode Island/Rhode Island Afterschool Network

Ayana Melvan is the Senior Project Manager for Educational Initiatives and the Lead for the Rhode Island Afterschool Network at United Way of Rhode Island. Mrs. Melvan started working with youth programming and community development, by helping at risk youth become exposed to opportunities outside of their normal learning and neighborhoods, when she was a young person at a day camp in her hometown, as a councilor in training. She has helped design, run, and advocate for youth programming, outside of the school day that impacts young people and their families, for over 20 years. Mrs. Melvan graduated cum laude with her BA in Communications and a Film Studies Certificate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Ayana, in addition to leading the out-of-school time field through the Rhode Island Afterschool Network, is also the Rhode Island Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance and a Program Advisor for Fuel Up to Play 60 (an initiative through the National Football League, United States Department of Agriculture and New England Dairy). Her belief is in better quality of life for all and during her work with youth, healthy students show up to school on time, eager for learning so they can focus on a educational pathway to a career or college readiness. This includes work around racial equity, food security, social emotional growth and learning, combating neighborhood factors, and partnering with local businesses to see what skilled workers they require. During her work with youth in Cranston, Ayana discovered that some experience inequities and they attribute it to the color of their skin and socioeconomic status. These youth are not afforded the same opportunities as their counterparts. Mrs. Melvan has made it her life’s work to advocate for youth and their families through anti-racism work, so they are given equal opportunities to help insure a better quality of life. Ayana grew up poor with a single father and two older brothers. As a black young woman growing up in an affluent town, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Melvan worked extra hard at proving her worth and moving away from the unfortunate shadow of racial bias her brothers had lived through during their time in Shrewsbury’s public school system. The system’s mistreatment and inequality towards people of color seeking a proper education motivated Ayana in her work. Now, the new mother of a daughter and son of mixed race, Melvan hopes her children are afforded an equitable education and knows the work she does now can have a ripple effect. Ayana says looking at systems and changing them is important. We must work with a sense of urgency to combat old traditional inherited biases and write a new narrative where equitable practices are woven into American education systems and sustained.

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Do You See What I See: How to be an Advocate using Equity as a Lens

AM & PM Sessions

Do You See What I See: How to be an Advocate using Equity as a Lens – AM Session

Room 102

Walking through quick steps in how to advocate as a young person. Doing a power analysis to determine who are power of influences in young people’s lives that can help change policies, procedures, and practices. Learning how to identify problems and come up with ways to create powerful collaboration tables to help with any movement. […]

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Do You See What I See: How to be an Advocate using Equity as a Lens – PM Session

Room 102

Walking through quick steps in how to advocate as a young person. Doing a power analysis to determine who are power of influences in young people’s lives that can help change policies, procedures, and practices. Learning how to identify problems and come up with ways to create powerful collaboration tables to help with any movement. […]

Advertising Civic Engagement Communications Enrichment Journalism Lifestyle Marketing Social Media Youth Development
READ MORE