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Directors, Board & Administration

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Tameka Mclean

Tameka Mclean is the Founder and Executive Director of Poppy Muse Inc. She is a foster care alumna who is passionate about making a change in the foster care system and eventually, the world.  Amidst all of life’s challenges, she obtained a degree in Computer Applications Management, and is also an alumna of LIM (Laboratory Institute of Merchandising). Her ultimate aim is to transform the statistics, ensuring that current and former foster youth can thrive no matter their background.

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Dr. Sonaliz Morel-Baker, Ed.D.

Dr. Sonaliz Morel-Baker, Ed.D. is a Board Member at Poppy Muse. She received a B.A. in Political Science and English Literature from Baruch College, a Master’s in Public Administration from John Jay College, and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Educational Technology Leadership from the New Jersey City University.

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Ms. Rodia Dorcely-Nicaisse

Rodia Dorcely-Nicaisse is a Board Member at Poppy Muse, and a foster care alumna. She is certified in early childhood care and education, with a whopping 15 years of experience. Rodia has a passion for helping others; by day, she manages a day care center, and by night, she is a loving wife and mother to beautiful twin girls. 

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Katie Twomey

Katie Twomey is a Board Member at Poppy Muse, overseeing financial management and grant writing. In addition to her work at Poppy Muse, Katie is the Director of Finance & Operations at the nonprofit organization, Mama Hope and sits as an Advisory Board Member of the nonprofit organization, Invest in Girls. Prior to joining Mama Hope, Katie worked at a global asset management firm before leaving to pursue Mama Hope's Global Advocate Program. Katie received her MBA from the Heller School for Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University and is a graduate of Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. 

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Sav Aiello

Sav Aiello is Execuitive Assistant to Tameka, in addition to being the Yoga & Wellness facilitator. Currently she has been working within the grant writing sect of the organization, along with administrative duties. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Religion (Buddhism + Hinduism), and Anthropology with honors from The New School, New York City. Visit her website here.

Gianna Rettino

Gianna Rettino is our Communications & Public Relations Contractor here at Poppy Muse. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Moravian College and has a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit sector. Gianna is highly adept in coordinating programs to promote awareness of various policy issues and orchestrating practices to maximize an organization’s community impact. She is a self-starter with a commitment to creating social change and a proficiency in improving civic engagement. Much of Gianna’s work at Poppy Muse consists of content generation, newsletter management, and monthly outreach.

Grace Williams

Grace Williams, J.D. is Program Manager and Computer Basics & Office Administration Facilitator at Poppy Muse. Grace earned her B.S. in International Business from Johnson & Wales University and Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. She is passionate about raising the percentage of women of color in the legal industry, providing high-quality legal services to low and moderate income individuals and small businesses, and making room at the table for all.

Arielle Carrara

Arielle Carrara is our Youth Coach here at Poppy Muse. In her everyday life she is a Career & Business Coach who helps unique individuals have the careers they love, start and scale their businesses, and make the money they want to make. She is passionate about helping everyone she works with feel empowered, free, and reach their full potential.

Facilitators, Interns & Volunteers

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Sav Aiello

Sav is our Yoga and Wellness Facilitator at Poppy Muse. She began her yoga practice in 2015, and became certified in 2018. Sav teaches how YOGA is a means to become SAVVY with the Self, and encourages students to harness what is already inside of them—uniting the subtle and physical bodies. Sav holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Religion (Buddhism + Hinduism), and Anthropology with merit from The New School, New York City. Visit her website here.

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Serena Holguin

Serena Holguin is our Career Development Facilitator at Poppy Muse. She is a Curriculum Designer with over 10 years of experience. She holds an M.P.H. in Health Education from California State University, Northridge. Serena has created curricula covering various topics, from teen pregnancy prevention to youth unemployment. Her sessions at Poppy Muse include resume/cover letter writing, job interview skills, and college prep.

Ms. Lauren Purnell 

Lauren is our Health and Wellness Facilitator at Poppy Muse. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach.  She holds a B.A. in Science & Sociology from Wittenberg University.  Lauren has extensive social service experience and has coordinated her own nonprofit programs at other organizations. In her sessions, she covers topics such as self-awareness, increasing confidence and power by uncovering and embracing one's special purpose.

Zettery Seases

Zettery is our Beauty Facilitator at Poppy Muse. She is an entrepreneur and a licensed cosmetologist. Zettery has been doing hair and makeup for 13 years. With the help of her husband and mentors, she decided to become a licensed professional. Connecting with foster youth is something Zettery has been a part of her whole life. Some of her closest friends were foster children - learning about their experiences and seeing how much they have grown is phenomenal! Zettery wants to be a part of the village that pushes our youth to the next level – she believes there is a happy ending to every story as long as you have a strong village behind you. 

Melissa Lara

Melissa is our Project Management Intern at Poppy Muse. She was born and raised In New Rochelle, NY. Currently, Melissa is a full-time student at Monroe College, graduating this spring with her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She's also a Certified Makeup Artist. In her free time, she enjoys listening to tasteful music in the R&B genre such as SZA, Jhene Aiko, Doja Cat, and many more. Melissa also likes staying active with at-home workouts and Pilates. Be on the look-out for her make-up programs coming soon!

Sophia Rouze

Sophia Rouze is a certified Vinyasa and kids yoga instructor, and is one of our lead teachers for Weekend Community Classes. Based in Harlem, NY, Sophia has over three years of experience teaching adults and kids of all ages. Classes are fun, engaging and creative. Sophia incorporates movement, props and music to connect with the play side of yoga. She speaks French fluently and conversational Spanish, which she likes to include in classes. At the heart of her teaching, Sophia fosters a joyful, loving and safe space where everyone can freely express themselves.

Paxton Kirpes

Paxton is our Nutrition Educator, and has had a passion for health and wellness since high school. She earned her Bachelor in Science in Nutrition from NYU, and then began working with youths and their parents doing nutrition education. She also worked with a chef to help instruct kids on culinary skills. Paxton has a holistic approach to health and wellness. She enjoys practicing and teaching yoga and meditation. Her drive is to empower people with knowledge to help people feel their best and help them flourish. At Poppy Muse she created the nutrition curriculum with the goal of making nutrition understandable and easily applicable to real life.

Grace Williams

Grace Williams, J.D. is Program Manager and Computer Basics & Office Administration Facilitator at Poppy Muse. Grace earned her B.S. in International Business from Johnson & Wales University and Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. She is passionate about raising the percentage of women of color in the legal industry, providing high-quality legal services to low and moderate income individuals and small businesses, and making room at the table for all.

Additional Thanks

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Poppy Muse would not exist without the efforts of our broader community. Special thanks to Atiera Hopkins, Jodie-Ann Alverenga, Leigh-Anna Nielsen (Foster Care Alumna and 1st Social Media Intern), Stephanie Vega (Recipient of our "Emergency Displacement Fund," turned 2nd Social Media Intern), ICHS Girls, Mary Bogen, and Michael Torres.

To our entire team, we thank you for all the work and time you put into helping our organization.  We are so grateful to be amongst such lovely souls - we couldn't do it without you.

 

Thank you, Musers, for your continued contribution!


Interested in becoming a volunteer? Click here to learn more!