2024 AOI Awards Program Judges

Samuel “Joey” Alleyne
Youth Services Director
Kids in the Spotlight
Van Nuys, CA

With over two decades of experience in skill-building, networking, community outreach, and mentorship, Joey Alleyne serves as the Director of the Youth Services department at Kids In The Spotlight. In this capacity, he facilitates mentorship and workforce development initiatives. Additionally, Joey coordinates community outreach efforts at KITS, ensuring that programs are accessible to youth alumni. He maintains open lines of communication with current, former, and prospective youth, diligently tracking data and outcomes. Moreover, Joey spearheads special programs, activities, and counseling sessions aimed at supporting youth in developing life skills, navigating academic challenges, and preparing for careers. As the Founder of Alleyne Connect U, Joey focuses on network building, fostering youth entrepreneurship, and strategic outreach. His dedication to addressing economic disparities, particularly among Black and brown youth, reflects his commitment to driving positive change and promoting fairness and community engagement in diverse communities.

Rashidah Bryant
Director of Programs
Life Skills Foundation
Durham, NC

Rashidah’s journey began at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, where she embarked on her academic pursuits, culminating in a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a specialization in social work. This educational foundation laid the groundwork for her impactful career dedicated to the well-being of youth in foster care. Her professional trajectory has been defined by a diverse array of roles, each contributing to her comprehensive understanding of the intricacies within child protective services. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by transition-age youth, she champions initiatives aimed at leveling the playing field, ensuring that they have equal access to resources and support systems essential for their success. As Rashidah continues her journey, her passion remains undiminished, fueled by the conviction that every young person deserves a chance to flourish. Through her tireless efforts, she continues to make a tangible difference in the lives of those she serves, embodying the ethos of compassion, advocacy, and empowerment.

Alex Cornell
Regional Manager of Education Program Services
Seattle, WA

Alexandria Cornell serves as a Regional Manager of Education Program Services at Treehouse, whose mission is to create opportunities for young people in foster care to thrive. Treehouse believes and invests in young people throughout their childhood, education and transition to young adulthood. Partnering with them and their communities to transform the systems that are holding them back. Having grown up in the foster care system in Washington state, Alexandria is passionate about helping youth break barriers they face daily. Alexandria believes that each youth, given the opportunity can use adversities as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block.

Megan Davies
Director of Program Quality and Impact
Seattle, WA

Megan Davies is currently the Director of Program Quality and Impact at YouthCare, a Seattle-based organization dedicated to ending youth homelessness. Prior to YouthCare, Megan has over 10 years’ experience spanning all ages of youth development. Megan has worked in in patient mental health settings, Head Start, and now within the deeply complicated world of homelessness. Across these many facets and age groups, Megan has supported young people who were or had been in foster care and understands the unique challenges they face. Megan successfully completed her Master’s in Social Work in 2022. Now, at YouthCare, Megan’s primary role includes managing the agency’s Public Funding portfolio, managing agency databases, and ensuring consistently high-quality services are delivered through a continuous quality improvement cycle.

Haley Farver
Senior Program Coordinator
Ohio Children’s Alliance
Cleveland, OH

Haley Farver serves as the Senior Program Coordinator at the Ohio Children’s Alliance (Alliance). With a master’s degree in public administration and over 12 years of experience empowering individuals and communities, her role includes oversight of the Alliance’s Therapeutic Child Care Program, and oversight of the Alliance’s grant infostructure and new business development. Haley has dedicated her life to advocating and empowering Ohioans and has devoted herself to fostering positive change across Ohio.

Hannah Hodgson Katzman
Associate Director
Family Harvest Farm, John Muir Land Trust
Pittsburg, CA

Hannah puts her experience in environmental program management to work at Family Harvest Farm, a program of John Muir Land Trust. She manages strategic planning, operations, finances, fundraising, partnerships, volunteers, and community outreach. Hannah grew up on a small horse ranch in Martinez, CA and enjoys the Bay Area for its diversity and beauty. Her past work experience includes project management, environmental programming, education, and community organizing for the National Park Service, Resource Conservation Districts, and public utilities. Hannah attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and earned a B.A. in Community Studies with a focus in Economic Justice and a certificate in Experiential Leadership.

Christopher Lopez
Director of Programs
THRU Project
San Antonio, TX

With over 15 years of experience in child welfare, Chris began his career as an Investigator with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, where he developed a deep understanding of Child Protective Services. Later, he served as a Case Manager with the Preparation for Adult Living Program at BCFS, supporting young adults transitioning out of foster care. Currently, Chris is the Director of Programs at THRU Project. A non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and empowering young adults with a history of foster care. His extensive background equips him to address the needs of both children entering the system and young adults striving for independence. Chris demonstrates a steadfast commitment to improving outcomes and advocating for the well-being of those young adults with lived experience within the foster care system. 

Maria Paparella
Founder and Executive Director
Cleveland, OH

Maria began her career in the nonprofit space after researching foster care and adoption until she found out about the plight of many foster children, especially those who age out of foster care at 18 years old. When Maria learned that many of these young adults find themselves living alone with little to no furniture or household supplies, she decided to take action. Here began the start of Chair-ity, which provides and delivers furniture and household goods turning their house into a home and connects these young adults with community resources that help them continue on their journey towards success. Maria had grown Chair-ity to serve six counties in northeast Ohio and the organization created a sense of home for 584 individuals. Maria is a graduate of Kenyon College with a BA in political silence and sociology. Additionally, Maria was recognized by Crain’s 20 in their Twenties in 2021 and made the local Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2023. She graduated from the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Bridgebuilder Program in 2023 and the Cleveland Foundation’s Foundation for Philanthropy Program in 2022.