PSAYDN Announces 2023-2024 Afterschool Ambassadors

Sept. 11, 2023

Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) welcomed its 2023-2024 Afterschool Ambassadors to Harrisburg in August to begin their 10-month opportunity.

“With no dedicated state funding for afterschool programs in Pennsylvania and more than 750,000 children waiting for access, it is critical that our policymakers and elected officials have a thorough understanding of the benefits of afterschool programs and the significant funding gap that exists,” stated Contrell Armor, PSAYDN director. “Our Afterschool Ambassadors have an in-depth understanding of the needs in their communities. As ambassadors, they will receive the tools, training and support to share these needs with their local decision-makers.”

The Pennsylvania Afterschool Ambassadors Program is designed to establish a coalition of leaders throughout Pennsylvania who possess the necessary knowledge and experience to champion and advocate for high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs.

From more than 50 applications, 20 ambassadors were selected who represent nearly every region of the state and include professionals from community-based programs that offer afterschool programming for youth. “We are excited about the response and wish we could offer this opportunity to all applicants,” stated Armor. “This level of interest underlines the urgency to increase access to high-quality afterschool programs.”

Here are the 2023-2024 PSAYDN Afterschool Ambassadors:

  • Cera Alber, Program Director, Green Trees Early Learning Center, Inc., Milford
  • Claudia Aust, Senior Association Director of Before and After School Programs, YMCA of Greater Brandywine, West Chester
  • Melvina Banti, Assistant Director of OST and Youth Programs, Episcopal Community Services, Philadelphia
  • Gillian Byerly, Executive Director, Girls on the Run Mid State PA, Enola
  • Cori Edwards, Executive Program Manager, Youth Leadership Institute of Erie, Erie
  • Diamen Green, Youth Service Coordinator, Housing Opportunities Unlimited, Duquesne
  • Kashif Henderson, Executive Director, Neighborhood Learning Alliance, Pittsburgh
  • Dawnise Kozen, Director of Opportunity Pathways Programs, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, Opportunity Pathways Programs, Pittsburgh
  • Jessica Lausch, Vice President of Youth Development, YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
  • Alia Logan-Turner, Director, The Learning Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia
  • Amanda Masters, Youth Program Manager, The Cooperage Project, Honesdale
  • Jessica Neely, Program Coordinator, Opportunity Pathways Program, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
  • Mary Pannier, Children and Youth Program Director, South Hills Interfaith Movement, Pittsburgh
  • Amanda Peretin, Tutoring and To Go Coordinator, Online Science Instructor, The Learning Lamp, Sidman
  • Lorraine Shaffer, Executive Director, Kid’s Innovation Playground, Slippery Rock
  • Chelsea Smith, Child Care Director, River Valley Regional YMCA- Tioga County, Mansfield
  • Samantha Sweigert, Community Impact Director, Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, Lancaster
  • Marisa White, Founder, Love Lessons, Pittsburgh
  • Dwayne Wiggins, Director, Community Education Alliance/IGNITE After-school Enrichment Belmont Charter High School, Philadelphia
  • Glenn P. Williams, Professor, Harrisburg University Summer Enrichment Robotics Camps, Harrisburg

Individual photos of ambassadors available upon request.