Field Instructor - Internship Program
Avi Bowie, LCSW (they/them) is a proud Chicago native born and raised and currently residing in Humboldt Park. Avi’s passion lies in working toward the collective healing and liberation of all historically marginalized groups and individuals through the processes of cultivating compassion, building community, and developing innovative and creative education, advocacy, and healing tools.
Avi’s expertise lies in the areas of non-profit management, program development and evaluation, youth homelessness, childhood trauma, mindfulness awareness, racial justice and equity, and LGBTQ+ health. Currently, Avi works as a therapist at IntraSpectrum Counseling, conducts research on Sexual Minority Women’s Health with the University of Illinois Chicago, and is the Officer of Training and Curriculum for Morten Group, a national Chicago-based consulting firm.
K. Tajhi Claybern
Field Instructor - Internship Program
K. Tajhi (she/her) is a black trans femme born in Detroit but raised in rural North Carolina. She attended the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago for her Master of Arts (AM) in Social Service Administration with an emphasis on Clinical Social Work. She is committed to supporting the healing, self-actualization and mental wellness of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) LGBTQ communities, especially Black trans women and femmes. She has previously organized with the Black Trans Gender Non-Conforming Collective (BTGNC), as well as other organizations. She currently serves as the Coordinator of Therapy Services at the Broadway Youth Center, the youth services department at Howard Brown Health.
Bran Fenner has been a leader in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years. During that time, he has worked as as a trainer and curriculum developer, in topics ranging from housing inequality, protest security, and movement history. As a young black trans activist, Bran became politicized while in high school, via mentors who had been involved in the Stonewall riots, the Young Lords, the Black Panthers and the campaign to save Mumia Abu Jamal. In the early 2000’s Bran became an Open Society Institute Fellow, creating a leadership training program, called the Education for Liberation Project, at FIERCE, an organization that he co-founded for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth of color and homeless youth.
Out of a passion for attending to the health and wellness of his communities, Bran pursued a degree in nursing. He worked as a nurse for many years, specifically as an emergency room and hospice nurse. Over the past several years, Bran has worked as an organizational development consultant, through which he has helped social justice organizations shift culture, led strategic planning and board development processes, and served as a coach for executive directors. Bran currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he is from, with his spouse, toddler and two dogs.
Joy Messinger is a queer, disabled, femme organizer of spreadsheets, funding, and people to build sustainability, healing, wellness, and power for reproductive justice, queer and trans liberation, and disabled, migrant, and POC communities. As a Program Officer at the Third Wave Fund, she manages a $1M rapid response, capacity building, and general operating support grantmaking portfolio of youth-led gender justice activism, organizing, and community mobilization organizations and leads the fund's philanthropic advocacy efforts within the Funders for Reproductive Equity network.
Before joining Third Wave, she spent more than a decade as a youth worker, sexuality educator, social worker, and birth doula with reproductive justice, health, education, and social justice groups in the Northeast, South, and Midwest. Joy is also an adjunct instructor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and community educator on race, gender, sexuality, adoption, and nonprofit operations and management. When she's not working, Joy spends time reading, cooking, gardening, learning about herbal medicine, and soaking up Chicago's short but beautiful summers.
A global citizen, Naz relocated to Chicago nearly four years ago to start a new adventure. Drawing on a robust career helping emerging organizations gain efficiencies, define culture (focused on diversity & inclusion) and get organized, Naz is a great asset to the YEPP family.
After studying art and sociology, Naz served in a variety of roles in HR, operations and administration. Major accomplishments include helping expand organizations from local to national footprints and overseeing hundreds of employees. Since leaving Corporate America, Naz has focused on “paying it forward” in a variety of capacities, including a resident administration role at YEPP. She is well-versed in leading teams, effectuating growth and positive change management. Her “no nonsense” manner helps tie up loose ends and ensure that no detail is missed. A natural people person and fast learner, Naz’s energy is infectious.
Corporation Lawyer Consultant
Terrie is an attorney, specializing in corporate and appellate litigation. Her law practice encompasses representing non-profit organizations in connection with Board governance and structure. Originally from the Mission District of San Francisco, California, Terrie is a reverse transplant, arriving in Chicago in 2014. With her primary education in Urban Planning and affordable housing development and financing, Terrie’s advocacy incorporates equitability, justice, and access to what she believes are fundamental human rights: housing, education, healthcare, and economic participation and inclusion for historically oppressed and marginalized groups. Her interests include research and writing about financial literacy as an aspect of economic equitability and community fortification. She also enjoys reading and educating herself on cognitive-emotional development and healing from trauma.