BOOST Ambassadors

Our BOOST global street team of advocates and champions.

Elena Arias roundElena Arias, Director of Programs (she/her/hers)2022 BOOSTer Since badge
After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles, CA

Elena Arias brings over 15 years of experience in the expanded learning field. As a High School Program Manager she has lead a team of individuals who provide a dynamic and supportive program for the youth in the communities of Los Angeles. Elena's passion is to work collaboratively with youth, staff and stakeholders to provide quality services that focus on developing youth and providing them real life experiences. Elena considers herself an everyday learner with a passion to give back.

Sheryl Blessing roundSheryl Blessing, Youth Services Recreation Supervisor (she/her/hers)2023 BOOSTer Since badge
Metro Parks Tacoma, Tacoma, WA

Sheryl Blessing is a parks and recreation professional who has 20 years of youth development experience. Sheryl specializes in youth engagement and managing staff to ensure young people have a safe, welcoming and fun space and environment. Developing teams and systems are current focuses for Sheryl who is serving the Tacoma area as a Youth Services Recreation Supervisor.

Kaitlin Brown roundKaitlin Brown, Site Coordinator, North Middle and Central High School Afterschool Club Hub (she/her/hers)2024 BOOSTer Since badge
Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, Rapid City, SD

Kaitlin is a Coordinator with the 21st Century OST Programs at North Middle and Central High School. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wyoming. Her passion for OST stemmed from helping students, watching them grow, and letting them practice skills in a safe environment away from judgment. She serves on the South Dakota School Age Care Alliance board, helping connect other SD OST programs to quality training and networking opportunities.

Richmond Brown roundRichmond Brown, Associate Director of Programs (he/him/his)2024 BOOSTer Since badge
Woodcraft Rangers, Los Angeles, CA

Richmond is a native of Charleston, SC, who recently relocated to Los Angeles, CA continuing 16 years of dedication, commitment, and service in leadership in the Expanded Learning and Afterschool (OST) Field. Upon arriving to Los Angeles, CA, Richmond immediately hit the ground running, serving the students and communities supporting the ELOP programs, following his current appointment as the Associate Director of Programs with Woodcraft Rangers, overseeing multi-school district partnerships.

Rachel Bryant round photoRachel Bryant, Youth Evolvement Manager (she/her/hers)2021 BOOSTer Since badge
Brightpoint JAG, Fort Wayne, IN

Rachel has lived and worked in the Allen County area all her life. She graduated from IPFW with a Bachelor’s in Sociology. Having a heart for those in need, Rachel began working with youth, in 2005. Rachel manages both the JAG and Focus Forward youth programs at Brightpoint. She volunteers as a mentor for young mothers with Journey Between Mothers and is a Lunch Buddy with Big Brothers Big Sisters. However, her favorite roles lie in her home where she is wife to Zeke, and mother to her four children, Demetrius, Jordan, Jay and Zeal and bonus daughter Aleana.
Diana Carrillo roundDiana Carrillo, Vice President of Programs (she/her/hers)2023 BOOSTer Since badge
arc Experience, Burbank, CA

Mission is improving the quality of programs with an emphasis on creating and developing accessible and high-quality programming for youth. She obtained her BA from CSUDH and obtained her MBA at MSMU. Her experience in various positions in the after–school field gives her a richer perspective of how to design and implement programming in a way that is effective for students, as well as the effective management of staff at all levels.

Gabriela Delgado roundGabriela Delgado, Director, Student Services and Programs (she/her/hers)2012 BOOSTer Since badge
San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego, CA

Gabriela has served in education for over 22 years. She currently serves as a Senior Manager for the San Diego County Office of Education. She is well versed in trauma-informed practices; group facilitation; restorative practices; student engagement; and grant development/management. Gabriela has an MA in Education/Counseling from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Master of Public Administration with from San Diego State University. She is the co-host of the 2 Counselors & a Mic podcast, which features stories of everyday people changing the world. She enjoys traveling with her husband and playing catch with their dog, Chiquita.

Susie Estrada roundSusie Estrada, Family & Community Engagement Specialist (she/her/hers)2022 BOOSTer Since badge
Utah State Board of Education, Salt Lake City, UT

Susie Estrada currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT and works as a Family & Community Engagement Specialist at the Utah State Board of Education. Previously, Susie has worked as a Program Director, Coordinator, and Preschool Teacher. Susie first moved to Utah in 2014 from the San Fernando Valley in California. Susie graduated from California State University of Northridge with a Bachelors and then went on to receive two masters from the University of Utah in Public Administration and Education, Culture, and Society.

Nathan Houston round photoNathan Houston, Founder/CEO (he/him/his)2018 BOOSTer Since badge

IAMIMPACT, Sacramento, CA

Nathan Houston is the visionary Founder of #iAmImpact. Nathan is dedicated to helping individuals unlock their full potential. Over 20 years of experience in Expanded Learning Programs across Sacramento and California, Nathan has a proven track record of serving diverse communities. Nathan's collaborative efforts with the California Afterschool Network and the California Department of Education's Expanded Learning Division have significantly enhanced the quality of youth programs statewide. Nathan is renowned for conducting impactful trainings, workshops, and seminars focused on Expanded Learning Program Quality Standards, Restorative Justice, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and After-School Education & Safety (ASES) grant compliance. His hands-on experience as a former Site Coordinator fuels his understanding of the transformative power of after-school programs.

Sheila James roundSheila James, MGM / STEM Specialist (she/her/hers)2023 BOOSTer Since badge
Ohio Afterschool Network, Columbus, OH

For 25+ years, Sheila passionately supports OST programming. As a director, STEM Specialist, and Professional Development Trainer, she makes a significant impact. Her leadership enhances site experiences nationwide, including Central Ohio. Sheila, a Master STEM Trainer and instructor in mental health and first aid, equips program staff with tools for success. Through delivering best practices and staying updated on afterschool trends, she actively promotes youth learning and social development.

2023 BOOSTer Since badge

Aaron Parker roundAaron Parker, Site Director (he/him/his)
Boys & Girls Club Western Heights OKC, Oklahoma City, OK

Aaron is the Site Director of John Glenn Elementary in the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County District. He has close to 4 years of experience supporting K-5 programs in the OKC area, scheduling after-school curriculum/activities for BGC, and establishing & maintaining healthy relationships with school & community partners.

Eric Rowles roundEric Rowles, CEO (he/him/his)2019 BOOSTer Since badge
Leading To Change, Huntersville, NC

Eric Rowles is a nationally recognized trainer, speaker, and consultant who has worked with over 200,000 youth, adults, administrators, professionals, and policymakers within the past 20 years. His presentations are legendary - by combining the energy and innovation of a master trainer, while at the same time reaching each of us through his stories, research, and on-the-ground strategies. One part inspirational speaker and published author, one part DJ, and two parts community organizer and parent of 2 daughters, Eric runs a customized consulting and facilitation practice that, through a network of over 20 dynamic and diversely talented trainers, works with for-profit and non-profit organizations to achieve progressive and dynamic change. Additionally, Eric is the founder and current Director of the North Carolina Youth Giving Network – a statewide association of over 1100 youth philanthropists that have granted over $400,000 to North Carolina communities since 2005.

Eric’s previous experience includes his work as Senior Director of Training with the Youth Leadership Institute where he designed a national training institute that provided over 1,000 days of training in five years to community organizations and coalitions throughout the country. Prior to his work with YLI, Eric was the Director of Leadership Development at Rutgers University (NJ), managed his own touring educational theater organization, Leadership Through Motivation Productions, was the Director of International Youth Summer Abroad programs, and spent five years as a substance abuse prevention coordinator in Southern California.

Additionally, Eric through his double bachelors and Master of Science degrees in Ethnic Studies and Educational Leadership, he has served as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte as well as Rutgers University (NJ) and has over a decade of innovative and cutting edge classroom instruction and facilitation experience. Eric has also been a volunteer trainer and partner for a wide range of social change agencies and organizations including the National Conference on Community and Justice, College Leadership Diversity Conference, and Teaching Tolerance Curriculum Instruction.

In addition to his training experience, Eric has also been a professional DJ and worked with artists throughout the entertainment industry, including Gwen Stefani, Billy Joel, Notorious B.I.G., Cypress Hill, Tribe Called Quest, The Fugees, Boyz II Men, Third Eye Blind, The Roots, George Clinton & Parliament, Henry Rollins, Radiohead, Smashmouth, Weezer, Edward James Olmos, Sinbad, George Lopez, Margaret Cho, and Maya Angelou.

Raynee RussellRaynee Russell, Operations Manager/Lead Teacher (she/her/hers)2024 BOOSTer Since badge
Global Kindness Initiative - The Kind Campus, Paradise, CA

Raynee Russell is a driven educator & speaker who is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of high-trauma and disenfranchised youth. With over a decade of experience, Raynee has developed a unique approach that focuses on empowering individuals to lead with love and lean into resilience. Her impact in the OST field has been widely recognized with the honor of the 2019 Region 2 Expanded Learning Unsung Hero Award, and the 2019 California Expanded Learning Emerging Leadership Award.

Dr. Sonia Toledo round

Dr. Sonia Toledo, President & CEO (she/her/hers)2019 BOOSTer Since badge
Dignity of Children, New York, NY

Dr. Sonia Toledo is a writer, speaker, researcher and social entrepreneur passionate about training educators in self-directed student learning and teaching youth social entrepreneurship. She is the founder & CEO of Dignity of Children, a global professional learning community designed to support forward-thinking educators in bringing positive change to education through training and complete K through 12 PBL curriculums. Dr. Toledo is a creator of iDEAS Empowered by Youth, an innovative teacher training program that equips educators with everything they need to help their youth thrive.

Interested in becoming an ambassador?

We are offering the opportunity to become a BOOST Ambassador. Our Ambassadors serve as a street team of advocates who spread the word about BOOST Conferences, online trainings, PD opportunities, and other initiatives in the field. Becoming a BOOST Ambassador will challenge and inspire you to build capacity in the after school, expanded learning, and in and out-of-school time fields. You are acting not only as a representative of your organization, but also on behalf of BOOST Collaborative.

Join the interest list here.

Ambassador Interest promo

We are committed to diversity and to equal opportunity and do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability (including HIV status), veteran status, military obligations, or marital status. At BOOST and in all BOOST related activities and events, we affirm the sexual orientation and gender identity of each individual and aim to create LGBTQ-inclusive and affirming environments and learning opportunities. This policy applies to hiring, internal, promotions, training opportunities, advancement opportunities, and terminations. This policy also applies to all employees, Leadership Team members, volunteers, clients, and contractors that present/speak/exhibit at or sponsor BOOST related activities and events.

2024 2025 Ambassador Interest promo

Ambassador Program Contact

Deanna Underwood
Deanna Underwood, Ambassador Program Manager
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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