Our Staff and Partners


STAFF

Adia Harmon-Massie, Executive Director, is an impact-driven change agent with progressive achievements and over a decade of experience in the areas of education administration, program management and youth development who has owned her role as a leader, dreamer and doer. Adia is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and has since then contributed to the success of numerous grassroots campaigns aimed to improve health and social-based outcomes among at-risk youth and women of color across the U.S., including long-term projects in Chicago, New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Prior to joining The Advocate Center as Program Coordinator two years ago, Adia served as Project U-Turn Associate at Philadelphia Youth Network where she collaborated with leadership at the School District of Philadelphia, the Mayor’s Office of Education, Community College of Philadelphia and numerous youth advocacy organizations to advance the work of Project U-Turn, Philadelphia's collaborative approach to dropout prevention and re-engagement, established by former Mayor Michael Nutter.  Adia is a native of Philadelphia, but spent thirteen years as a resident of Brooklyn, New York where she discovered her passion for educating and empowering young people, particularly those in underserved communities who struggle socially and emotionally.

A skilled writer, content creator and lover of everything arts, Adia’s passion for bringing creative visions to life through words and artistic expression has inspired her to share her gift with people of all ages and backgrounds. In her current role, Adia challenges the youth she works with to march fearlessly in the direction of their dreams and believes that in order to truly transform the mindset of young person, you must first get them to recognize and believe in their own power and ability to be successful - not just academically - but in every aspect of their lives. Her greatest aspiration is to impact the lives of youth in ways that are equally inspiring, empowering and transformative. Contact Adia at adiaharmon@theadvocatecenter.org.


PARTNERS

PERFORMING ARTS

Ardencie Hall-Karambe, Ph. D. , Founder and Director of Arts4All, is an associate professor of English/Theatre Arts at the Community College of Philadelphia, avid artist, and single mother.  She has worked as a college professor for 20 years; as an actress, she performed in NYC at The Public Theatre, Theatre for The New City, P.S. 122 and other theatres; in 2011, Dr. Hall’s musical “Ain’t Nobody…” was presented at TNC by her theatre company, Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Collective.  Most recently, she adapted and directed “Lysistrata, Cross Your Legs Sister!” presented at Community College of Philadelphia. She lives in Philadelphia with her son.

 
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Sharlena Johnson, Arts4All Drama and Dance Teaching Artist. At 27 years of age, Sharlena is a working actor and playwright who was born and raised in Philadelphia. She received her BA in Theatre from Temple University in 2014 and now works as a performer at Arden Blaire Enterprises, an upcoming theatre company established by Ardencie Hall-Karambe'. This is her second year working for Arts4All. Sharlena is excited that she can take her love for theatre and share the art of acting/dance with our youth. Some of her favorite hobbies include cooking, listening to music, reading and dancing to her favorite show tunes in her bedroom mirror.


VISUAL ARTS

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Patricia Thomas (b. 1995) is a painter and Teaching Artist living and working in Philadelphia, and a Tyler School of Art alum. She has exhibited all across the US and as far as Italy, is the recipient of the Edna Weinstein Grant and Richard Cramer Award, and has work in several collections including a private collection in the Smithsonian’s African American Museum of History and Culture. Her passion is to continuously grow as an artist and watch students creatively grow as an educator. 

Priscilla Bell was born in North Philadelphia and raised in the Hunting Park section of the city. She went on to graduate from Community College of Philadelphia and then transferred to Moore College of Art and Design where she received a BFA in 2D Fine Arts.  In 2010, Priscilla graduated with her Masters in Fine Arts in Painting.

"Throughout the years, I looked towards my family, surroundings, and cultural heritage for guidance and inspiration. I continue to explore the issues that mean the most to me, including: Parenthood, Indigenous Rights, Urban Decay, and what it means to be a Woman Artist. I seek to share my art with others in hopes of sparking thoughtful conversation with the viewer. It is my hope to help shed light on some of the often-challenging topics that I address in my work." 


ATHLETICS

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Up2Us Coach is the first national service program to identify and train young adults to coach and mentor kids in low-income communities. Up2Us Sports inspires youth to achieve their potential by providing them with coaches who are trained in positive youth development. Through partnership with AmeriCorps, Up2Us Sports trains coaches on how to translate athletic skills to life skills for youth living in communities afflicted by violence and other negative social behaviors.

In 2016, The Advocate Center was selected to serve as an AmeriCorps program site. AmeriCorps engages more than 75,000 members in intensive service annually to serve through nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations at 21,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. Since 1994, more than 980,000 Americans have provided more than 1.2 billion hours of service to their communities and country through AmeriCorps. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.

AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve.


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Kysheen Wilson, affectionately known to our students as “Coach K” is a North Philly native who has lived in the Hunting Park section of Philadelphia for most of his life. This is Kysheen’s first year serving as Up2Us Coach here at The Advocate Center via Americorps. Basketball has been Kysheen’s passion his whole life and coaching has been one of the most rewarding things he’s had the opportunity to do during his professional career. For Kysheen and many of the student-athletes who attend programs at The Advocate Center, basketball has served as an outlet and an escape from problems at school and home. Kysheen is excited for this new season and hopes to continue to have a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of the youth he works with here at the Center.


WELLNESS

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Dasha Saintremy, MSW, MDiv., Spiritual M.C. is a spoken word artist, interfaith spiritual counselor, and poetic preacher who loves to learn the world through the voices of the people as they share stories of their lived experience. She recently joined the Advocate Center after learning about its mission and activities that serve youth within an urban context, which were aligned with her passion and ministry to be an advocate for youth. Right after she graduated from seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, she did a short term mission work in North Philly working with youth to build urban gardens throughout the city. She has worked with youth for over a decade in various capacities as a mentor, youth minister, social worker, therapist and chaplain. Dasha has developed a creative platform to address the social emotional health of youth who frequent the Center and facilitates meditation groups, drum circles, and spoken word cyphers as an outlet for youth to begin to deal with their internal selves outwardly. Her overall mission is to do spirit work through living, loving and liberating.