I’ve been champing at the bit to introduce the people with whom I am privileged to work. Getting everyone to write a short bio for the first time was a significant task, but check out the results. I’d say it was worth the wait.
Candice Miller is a skilled researcher with over ten years of experience. She recently graduated with an M.A. in Sociology of Education from New York University. Prior to graduate school, she worked in the for-profit sector, where she analyzed television ratings and viewer behaviors. Over the past two years, her research has centered on education reform, foster care youth and juvenile justice. She advises Minds On Fire in solidarity with their mission to provide safe and supportive spaces for young adults to engage in identity exploration.
Candice has spent 16 years volunteering with youth. Her passion to help young people in the community is deeply rooted in her personal childhood experiences. She believes life experiences shape who we are but do not determine our destiny. A self proclaimed changemaker and lover of quotes, Candice has hopes of leaving imprints on the hearts of others.
Zinyusile Brian Khumbula was born in Zimbabwe and raised in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. He moved to the United States in September of 2009 and has been in foster care with Graham Windham since August of 2010. As a Waiver Services Provider at the agency he helps children and youth who have developmental disabilities handle emotional and social challenges. He majors in Public Accounting at Pace University.
Brian enjoys exploring new environments, meeting new people, and watching movies. But most of all he enjoys helping others. He serves Minds On Fire as a youth advisor out of the conviction that they are building a program that every youth needs. He believes we all need to establish that bridge that joins (and separates) childhood from adulthood, and as with everything else, it is easier when one has a guiding hand. As an advisor he is simultaneously able to share his insights and broaden his knowledge. He anticipates that the program will eventually set his mind on fire.
Nahjee Cook is a senior at John Jay College, majoring in Public Administration. She entered foster care at 16 and stayed in care until she aged out at 21. She has also experienced homelessness on more than one occasion. Over the years Nahjee has come to realize that youth in care are not always aware of their entitlements and must learn to advocate for themselves at a very young age. She wants to revamp the foster care system and lighten the burden for other children.
Nahjee has eight years of experience working with young people in various capacities. She began volunteering at her local Boys and Girls Club in middle school and was eventually hired onto the staff in high school. During her junior year in college she went on to work with Advocates for Children. She is currently doing independent work speaking to high school and college students, as well as administrators working directly and indirectly with youth in underprivileged situations. Nahjee also serves on the New Yorkers For Children Youth Advisory Board. She looks forward to starting an internship this fall at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and aspires to enter law school by September 2014. She is adamant about advocating for youth in care.