We are proud to have an energetic and caring team! See the details below…
Lorenza Wilkins, Executive Director
As an advocate for youth empowerment and community development, Lorenza Wilkins’ connection to the city/county of Durham dates to 1991 as a student-athlete at North Carolina Central University. During the mid-1990s, Wilkins spent time with RTP based technology companies Motorola and Cree Research. In 1998, Wilkins joined Jacksonville, Florida based CSX Transportation, where he spent 17.5 years in Operations, Training & Development, Workforce Analytics, Career Progression Planning, Recruiting, Process Improvement, and Talent Assessment. Understanding the importance of education and its relevance to improving the socio-economic mobility of life’s most vulnerable populations, Wilkins began to leverage his time in the private sector as a tool to strengthen his presence in servant leadership.
In 2009, Wilkins began to invest heavily in the community by serving as President, Chairman, and CEO of Compass Youth Center. As a 501(c)(3) organization connecting hundreds of North Carolina students to comprehensive STEM and Robotics, Compass aims to expose underserved and underrepresented students in k-12 as a means to enrich their academic, social, and emotional preparedness while combatting the school-to-prison pipeline.
As a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Wilkins credits the Aspen Institute (Aspen, CO) as well as Dr. Tom Peters (South Carolina Coalition for Mathematics and Science at Clemson University) with helping to broaden his network and commitment to leading change in America.
When he is not serving the community and completing the dissertation phase of his Doctorate in Business Administration at Columbia Southern University, Wilkins enjoys time with family, exercising, gardening, and caring for one dozen pet sharks.
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.
DPS Support Staff
Mrs. Marchell Franklin
Dr. Michele Hicks
Ms. Ericka Boone
Madison Edwards, LSU
Madison (they/them) is a final-year graduate student earning their Master of Social Work through Louisiana State University. Originally from Texas, they now happily reside in Durham, NC with their dog and chosen family. Madison’s interests cover a wide range of topics, such as creative writing, socioeconomic and restorative justice, abolition, hiking, video games, collective care, and gardening. In their free time, Madison spends time organizing with like-minded people in local and national groups, such as Bull City Tenants United and The Debt Collective, and ultimately wants to help to create a new world where everyone has what they need.
Martha Lobo, LSU
My name is Martha Lobo and I am currently a grad student at Louisiana State University working towards my master’s degree in Social Work. I received my bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Liberty University. I am originally from Upstate New York but have called North Carolina my home for 24 years. I have worked in behavioral health and case management with members of the military for the last 8 years. I have also completed internships with Head Start Program of North Carolina and the American Red Cross.
Tamara Vanie, NCCU
My name is Tamara Vanie I am located in Durham, NC were I along with my husband are raising our five children. I am a senior undergraduate student at North Carolina Central University pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work. My primary goal is to do my part as a social worker to be a part of the process of changing educational outcomes of my community for my children and other families in Durham.
Zoë Clay, UNC-Chapel Hill
Zoë is a junior at UNC Chapel Hill, earning her B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies and minoring in Social and Economic Justice. Following undergrad, she hopes to pursue a JD and MSW dual degree in order to work within the intersection of law and human rights. She is critical of punitive measures, particularly within the education system, and thus connects with Rebound’s commitment to restorative justice. In her free time, Zoë enjoys spending time outdoors, drinking coffee, and doing crossword puzzles.
Tiandra Jenkins, NCCU
My name is Tiandra Jenkins and I am currently a graduate student at North Carolina Central University working to obtain my Master’s degree in Social Work. I am from Raleigh, NC and during my free time I enjoy painting or coloring for self-care.
Sharee Jones, NCCU
I was born and raised in Durham, NC. I have always had a passion for helping others. I have worked closely with children and families for many years through interning and employment. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from NCCU. Currently, I am pursuing a MSW, also at NCCU. My mission is to assist children of all ages on their journey to becoming the best that they can be. I believe if we can help our children find their strengths we can have a positive impact on our community.
Noah Lee, UNC-Chapel Hill
Noah Lee is a first-year graduate student in the 2-year Master of Social Work program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Originally from Farmville, North Carolina, Noah is a queer slam poet who loves to read and perform poetry, play video games, and work in social justice spaces. He is a proud fan of Beyoncé and One Direction and loves to make people laugh. Previously, he worked as an assistant to the Children’s Librarian at the Farmville Public Library.
Ja’Quaisa Murray, NCCU
Ja’Quaisa Murray, 22, of Wilmington, NC, is a recent graduate from UNC Greensboro holding a Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies. Now a first-year graduate student studying for a Master of Social Work at North Carolina Central University, Ja’Quaisa is dedicated to research focused on youth and families within oppressed communities. Murray is now a Graduate Research Assistant within the MSW program at NCCU on the Train, Respond, and Connect Early (TRACE) project studying the effects of training Boys & Girls Club staff on early signs and detections of youth mental health and first-aid issues.
Kenneth Strickland, Naropa University
Kenneth is passionate about youth empowerment. Since graduating from Duke University, he has worked with youth in a variety of settings ranging from SEEDS education garden to before and after school group leader at E.K. Powe Elementary. He is currently pursuing a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal with a Counseling Concentration from Naropa University. From past experiences, Kenneth learned that not only is education liberation but also the mind has to be primed to learn by the environment. Consequently, he works hard to create a safe container in the classroom for students to find their inner safe space. He believes from this space of inner stillness, students will thrive–regardless of their ethnicity, social-economic statuses, races, gender, and ability.
Alleyah Watkins, NCCU
Hi, I’m Alleyah Watkins. I attend North Carolina Central University and my major is Social Work. I recently graduated from Shaw University with a BA in Social Work. I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC. I love to travel and I have my own hair business. My passion is making an impact on people’s lives. When I finish my graduate studies, I would like to be a licensed therapist.
Korey Williams, NCCU
Korey is currently attending North Carolina Central University pursuing a Masters in Social Work. He is from Raleigh N.C and in his spare time, he likes to travel, exercise, and work on computers.