Jen Taylor, Senior Director of Programs and Operations
Jen has a passion for helping people realize their strengths in transforming their own lives. She works within the Durham community to assist students in reaching their academic and behavioral goals. One of her missions is to dismantle the stigma of mental health and strengthen the community. She utilizes a strength-based approach when working with youth and families. She also incorporates restorative practices to help build relationships. She believes that everyone possesses the ability to be better but may need assistance on the journey, which is where she steps in.
Jen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York and a Master of Social Work from North Carolina Central University. Jen is a self-identified lover of ice cream, dream chaser, and difference-maker.
Rasheda Royster, Site Director
Rasheda Royster is a native of Durham, NC. Since 2017, her role has been the Director of Community Engagement. She has an Associate Degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. With training in Motivational Interviewing, Conflict Resolution, Trauma-Informed Care for Adolescents, and Restorative Practices, she excels at building relationships and gaining the trust of hundreds of youth and families in the Durham community.
Rasheda has a passion for working with youth and wants to continue to help to create platforms for families to feel supported in the school system and connected to resources in their communities.
Bobby Ellis, Communications and Development Associate
Bobby Ellis is a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where he received a degree in Public Relations. While he was at UNC, he was a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America and helped host student marketing competitions.
He has worked with numerous other non-profit organizations assisting in communication, marketing and outreach. In these roles, he helped with connecting to various audiences.
For Bobby, giving back to the community is very important. He has had a passion for helping people from a very young age that has stayed with him to this day.
Bobby is from Charlotte, NC and is an Eagle Scout. In his spare time, he loves watching and playing sports, listening to music, writing, and drawing.
The Board of Directors sets vision and brings resources to Rebound. They offer diverse experiences and skills to serve a common vision of a community in which all students are supported and no school days are lost to suspension.
Millicent Rogers, Board Chair
Millicent Rogers, Board Chair, is a graduate of Appalachian State University. Millicent started her advocacy work in high school while attending Durham School of the Arts. She redirected her advocacy for a youth focus after the birth of her son, working with his school’s local PTA unit. It is through her PTA experience that she gained an understanding of the need for more exceptional advocacy in reducing the impact of the suspension on high school students. Millicent was able to bring awards and a great resource to local PTAs and began serving on the Rebound Board of Directors in 2019.
When Millicent is not advocating for youth, she enjoys spending her time playing Bid Whist with her family.
Allyson Cobb, Vice-Chair
Allyson is a San Francisco native who has spent her entire professional career in North Carolina, most notably working with several notable nonprofit organizations throughout North Carolina. As a former DPS Educator, she understands the daily impact of school suspension and the systemic issues surrounding it that plagued many of her students. Currently, she serves as the Leader of Community Engagement at the United Way of the Greater Triangle located here in Durham, NC leveraging relationships between nonprofit organizations and corporations wanting to make an impact throughout the Triangle. Allyson received both her B.A. in History and M.S. in Adult Education from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC.
Allyson shared the following quote to sum up her belief in the community:
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King
Ameshia Cooper, Secretary
Ameshia A. Cooper is a public servant committed to improving the lives of North Carolinians. She received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Small Business and Entrepreneurship from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2010 and her Juris Doctorate in 2013 from Charlotte School of Law. During her time at Charlotte Law, Ameshia discovered her passion for litigation and leadership.
Ameshia is employed as an Assistant Attorney General for the North Carolina Department of Justice. There she advises and litigates on behalf of the two agencies that certify law enforcement. Prior to assuming her current role, Ameshia served the people of Durham County as a Felony Prosecutor. As an Assistant District Attorney she ushered victims of crime through the criminal justice system with compassion and ensured that persons charged with crime were provided the rights afforded to them by law and the dignity they required as human beings. Ameshia has been recognized by various organizations for her skill and contributions to the Durham community.
Ameshia was born and raised in Durham, NC, and was educated in the Durham Public School System. Her parents instilled in her the values of hard work and integrity. Ameshia serves her community in numerous capacities. She is a member of The Durham People’s Alliance Board of Directors and serves as Board Secretary for Rebound. Additionally, she is a life-long member of Union Baptist Church, she serves on the Durham County Bar Grievance Committee, volunteers with the Durham County Teen Court and Restitution Program and is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Dewarren K. Langley, JD, MPA, MHFA
DeWarren K. Langley, JD, MPA, MHFA is an equity-minded community, civic and higher education leader, black male achievement specialist, career pathway strategist, policy analyst and strategy consultant. He is the Visionary & Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc. which is an academic, leadership and professional development nonprofit organization which provides a continuum of programs, services and mentorship to educate, engage, empower and equip young boys and men of color with the strategies they need to secure socioeconomic success by transforming academic policies and connecting them with professional opportunities to become high-results leaders in corporations, government, nonprofits and entrepreneurial ventures.
Mr. Langley is also the Principal Consultant & Chief Strategist for Solutions Consulting Services, LLC which provides innovative guidance, solutions, and capacity building services designed to support the specific needs of nonprofit and business clients to create social change and improve effectiveness in governance, operations, and programs to promote organizational stability to achieve better outcomes.
In addition, Mr. Langley is the Research Compliance Manager in the Office of Research Compliance & Technology Transfer within the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs at North Carolina Central University. He is responsible for managing the oversight and monitoring of human and animal subject research compliance activities to ensure work is completed in accordance with federal and state regulations, institutional policies and procedures and the high standards of ethics, equity, integrity and responsibility in research at North Carolina Central University. Mr. Langley also serves as Deputy Title IX Coordinator in the Office of the Title IX Coordinator responsible for conducting prompt, thorough, equitable and objective investigations of sexual discrimination, harassment, misconduct to assist in providing an open, diverse and inclusive learning and working environment at North Carolina Central University.
With a strong commitment to the academic and professional success of youth and young adults, Mr. Langley also is a Black Male Achievement Leader-in-Residence Fellow with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement; President of the National INROADS Alumni Association – Triangle Chapter; Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board for Kid’s Voting Durham; Vice President of Men of Vision and a member of the Equity Affairs Advisory Team for the Office of Equity Affairs of Durham Public Schools and Youth Council of the Durham Workforce Development Board.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management & Economics with a minor in Leadership Studies from Hampton University, Juris Doctor with a concentration in Civil Rights & Constitutional Law from North Carolina Central University School of Law, Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Government Administration and Public Policy from North Carolina Central University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. Mr. Langley earned a Certificate in Mental Health First Aid from the National Council for Behavioral Health, and a Certificate of Completion in Technology of Participation Group Facilitation Methods from the Institute of Cultural Affairs. He also completed the SPARC Nonprofit Board Training of the United Way of the Greater Triangle and Racial Equity Training I of the Racial Equity Institute.
Jessie Larkins is a United Methodist pastor who has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative leadership positions within the North Carolina Conference of the UMC. She has led congregations and served as Assistant to the District Superintendent allowing her to exercise a broad skill set in pastoral administration, coaching, teaching, and organizational leadership. Her passions are youth, children, public schools, and racial equity.
Jessie recently transitioned to work at Duke Global Health Institute to engage as the Program Director for the Clergy Health Initiative at the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research. In this role, her job will be to help bring to life “Selah”, a mental health and stress intervention.
Jessie and her family live in Durham, NC and are proud parents of two DPS middle schoolers. They have served as foster parents to youth in the custody of Durham County Social Services.
Tiffany Meekins is a Site Activation Team Manager at Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD). PPD is employed by Pharmaceutical companies to help facilitate clinical trials.
Tiffany believes the youth are our future and when we properly invest in them, we ensure the future is bright for all of us. Tiffany serves Rebound as a financial advisor and board member.
Tiffany has served on the Junior Leadership Durham Board of Directors, served as a Girl Scout Troop Leader for NC Coastal Pines and she continues to serve as an Awana teacher and Children’s church teacher at Orange Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Tiffany holds a Bachelors of Arts from Winston Salem State University in Mass Communications.
Rebound works with Durham schools to end the detrimental impact of out of school suspensions. We provide alternative programming that focuses on the inherent strengths and potential of each student to help them successfully engage with their schools and communities:
- convert suspensions from a time of exclusion and setback to a time of connection and growth.
- reduce the negative impact of suspension on students and schools.
- provide safe and productive space for high school students currently on suspension.
- prevent future suspensions from happening.
- build students’ personal assets and resilience through connection to school and community resources.
- examine personal and systemic root causes of suspension.
- provide alternative program resources that support schools in their move away from punitive discipline.
Rebound envisions a community in which:
- behavior issues do not prevent students from learning or teachers from teaching.
- students are met with connection rather than exclusion
- corrective actions consider the whole child.
- students have meaningful opportunities for restoration and responsibility when they have made a mistake.
- we reject the false dichotomy that we must either suspend students or accept poor behavior.
- alternative discipline practices make schools a safe place to learn, but also a safe place to make a mistake.
- responses to undesirable behaviors transform systemic inequities of race and poverty rather than re-inscribing them.
Respect (honesty, healthy communication, listening)
- Staff models healthy communication
- Use of student names
- Avoid assumptions and stereotypical thinking
- Help students to correct disrespectful communication
- Maintain high expectations
Empowerment (student centered, self esteem, student agency, leadership,
- Name student strengths as they are observed
- In activities, center student voices: students talk 75% of the time
- Have students help with program day where appropriate
- Encourage Student Leadership
- Engage students in decision making
- Think about doing with instead of doing for
Boundaries (safety, limits, interpersonal)
- Maintain clear boundaries and rules within program
- Maintain the structure of the day
- Help students name their own boundaries
- Give strategies for solutions when boundaries are crossed
Open-Mindedness (non-judgemental, growth mindset)
- Encourage open-mindedness in listening
- Encourage trying new things
Unity (conflict resolution, Rebound as a community, restoring relationships)
- Use conflict resolution language
- Expect students to interact as a community
- Practice small restorations and community building within the program
- Support students in restoring relationships
- Connections to school and community support
- Help students find ways to take responsibility for harms caused
Navigation (mentoring, path finding, guidance, overcoming obstacles)
- Problem solving sessions
- Connecting to outside resources, school resources
- Helping students identify natural mentors
- Educating on various paths forward
- Short term goals/small steps to break down obstacles
Determination (self-determination, motivation, trying again after failure)
- Growth Mindset
- Practice and Praise Self Control
- Help student identify internal motivations
- Normalize failure and needing help
We have transformed 1,805 suspensions since 2014!
More and more students are choosing to spend suspension days at Rebound instead of at home. The 2016 School Board discipline policy change was a key factor in growth.
Rebound started as a small pilot program at Reality Ministries, when students from their after-school program needed a place to be when they were suspended short-term.
MSW Lizzie Ellis-Furlong had spent time in an internship at Boomerang, an Alternative to Suspension program in Chapel Hill, so during the 2012-13 academic year, she and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Pam Gray decided to pilot a similar program in Durham. The program succeeded at providing strengths-focused interventions for youth on short-term suspension in Durham, and received overwhelming support from participating youth, families, and school and community stakeholders to continue. In 2014, Rebound moved into the Durham Teen Center and served 24 students during a semester long pilot with Durham Public Schools.
Since 2015, Rebound has been the main provider of alternative to suspension day programming in Durham. Over the years, attendance and school buy-in have increased dramatically, especially after the 2016 Durham Board of Education revision of the Student Discipline policy and Student Code of Conduct. In the 2018-19 school year, Rebound assisted 421 students on 565 suspensions.
In 2018, Rebound piloted its first prevention program at Riverside High School. The Rebound ReCenter @ Riverside provided a full time clinically trained social worker to help prevent conflict and stress from leading to out of school suspensions. The ReCenter also helped to welcome students back to school after suspensions, supported the RHS Restorative Practice Center (formerly ISS), and provided after school programming for a small group of students. At the end of the 2018-19 school year, Riverside had the lowest out of school suspension rate of the 5 comprehensive high schools in Durham.
Going forward, Rebound continues to assess the best ways to serve students who are showing signs of disconnection from school by creating a network of support around those who need it.