Luther Brewster President Dr. Brewster is an Assistant Professor, Chief of the Division of Policy and Community Development, and Community Director for Green Family Foundation Neighborhood HELP, Department of Humanities, Health, and Society. His background is in community development; he has worked both in the private and public sectors. Since beginning his career in 2003, Dr. Brewster has held academic and research positions at the City University of New York and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. He served as consultant for the expansion of the 125th Street business improvement district in Harlem, New York and the Arsenal, F.C. Emirates Stadium housing regeneration project in London, England. The focus of Dr. Brewster’s work is on the identification and correction of health risks created by programs and policies that typically are not viewed as having a relationship to health. He has a consistent track record of implementing grassroots strategies to address community concerns. In 2005, Dr. Brewster joined Florida International University (FIU) as faculty in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work. In March 2008, he became faculty at FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine to lead the development of the community-based initiatives. As Founding Chief of the Division of Policy and Community Development and the Community Director of Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP™ (Health Education Learning Program), Dr. Brewster oversees the development of a broad network of community partners and the recruitment and retention of households for the Green Family Foundation Medicine and Society community-based educational activities. He is co-founder of the Historic Overtown Public Health Empowerment (HOPE) Collaborative, Overtown, Florida. In July 2010, Dr. Brewster was a recipient of the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship through the German Marshall Fund, which brings together Americans and Europeans to increase understanding and to build transatlantic networks among the political, media, business, and nonprofit communities.
Vance A. Aloupis Vice-President After practicing law in South Florida, Vance Aloupis joined The Children's Movement in June 2010, now serving as the organization's CEO. Having spoken across both the state and country on issues specific to the first five years in children’s lives, Vance has become a new face in the conversation around early childhood investment. A former Student Body President at the University of Miami, student trustee on the UM Board of Trustees, and a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, Vance was the Judge Peter Palermo Fellow in the University of Miami Center for Ethics and Public Service's Street Law program creating and teaching curricula for and in juvenile detention centers in South Florida. As a proud alum of the University of Miami, Vance now serves a member of the UM Alumni Association Board of Directors. Prior to joining The Children’s Movement, Vance worked as both a civil litigator and with the Legal Services of Greater Miami’s Homeless Project. In 2012, Vance was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to serve as a commissioner on the Governor's Commission on Community Service - also known as Volunteer Florida – which oversees much of the state’s AmeriCorps programs. A member of the board for the Miami Coalition for the Homeless and founding board member of the Awesome Foundation Miami, Vance is a graduate of Class VI of the Miami Fellows (the community’s most prestigious leadership development program) and Class IV of Connect Florida (a program focused on the next generation of statewide leaders). In late 2014, Vance – along with two colleagues – helped found the James Madison Institute’s Leaders Fellowship, a one-year leadership development program focused on fostering free market principles. A graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Education program Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management, Vance was selected as one of 90 young professionals from across the country to join in the first cohort of HBS’s 2015 Young American Leaders Program. In 2014, Vance was honored by The Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida as the Young Floridian of the Year. And, in 2016, Vance was honored with the Emerging Leader Award from Florida International University’s Center for Leadership, the Ruth Shack Leadership Award from The Miami Foundation, and one of three “next generation” visionaries by The Miami Herald. Vance and his wife, Mariella, live in Aventura, Florida with their two daughters, Isabella and Aria.
Anthony "Tony" Brunson Treasurer Tony began his career in 1978 with the big 4 accounting firm, Ernst & Young and upon relocating to Miami, Florida, he joined Price Waterhouse Coopers and fast tracked to an audit manager serving governmental and banking industries. He joined Darryl Sharpton, a former Price Waterhouse Coopers associate in 1985. Tony has over 30 years experience as a CPA and serves a senior partner at Sharpton, Brunson & Company, P.A. (SBC). Over the past two decades, Tony has helped SBC grow to become the largest African-American full-service CPA firm in the southeast U.S. with offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tallahassee. SBC is ranked among the top 25 CPA firms in South Florida and among the top 100 Small Businesses in South Florida. A native Miamian, Tony has professional affiliations with the Amercan Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA), and Florida Government Finance Officers Association (FGOA). He has served as Proctor for FGOA certification programs and has been a contributing author to governmental accounting publications. Tony has gained extensive experience working with governmental, housing, transportation and the healthcare industries.As a principal at SBC, Tony has gained extensive experience performing economic impact studies and providing economic development consulting services to developers, governments, and community development organizations throughout South Florida, but with specific emphasis in the downtown Miami core. Because of his commitment to civic involvement, Tony has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Claude Pepper Award in the Volunteer category presented by United Home Care Services, the Award of Excellence from the Louie Bing Scholarship Fund, Inc., and Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce's "Up and Corners' Business Awards." Tony's community involvement has included the playful role of serving as Santa for underprivileged children, to advocating for serious causes such as domestic violence programs, to enhancing the quality of life for the elderly, as well as contributing to programs that positively impact the lives of youths. His educational background includes a B.S. degree from Jackson State University, Jackson, MS; Fellow at Dartmouth College (Minority Business Enterprise Program) in Hanover, NH. He recently opened his own firm, Anthony Brunson P.A, offering comprehensive CPA services to businesses and organizations throughout South Florida.
Maria Cristina Barros Secretary Maria has been the Director of Marketing and Community Relations for WSCV Telemundo 51 since October of 2008. She joined WSCV in January 1985 as part of the team that put the station on the air in June of that year. Her responsibilities include management of the station’s community, public relations and programming, and director of Creative Services to oversee all aspects of on-air and off-air promotions and advertising. From April 2005 until October 2008 Maria Cristina also managed Community and Public Relations for WTVJ NBC6. In her current role, Maria Cristina’s primary responsibilities include providing the creative and strategic direction for marketing the station, as well as managing the stations’ partnerships, special events, public service campaigns, and media relations. She also oversees the NBC Universal Foundation’s grants in South Florida, which currently funds four programs for at-risk high school students in Miami Dade and Broward Counties and which to date has distributed $550,000 in foundation grants to local organizations. She also produces the station’s annual Liga Contra el Cancer telethon which during the last thirteen years has helped to raise a total of over $40 million dollars for this local organization which provides free cancer screenings and all types of treatments to uninsured victims of the disease. Prior to starting her career in broadcasting in 1985, Maria Cristina’s professional development had been in the public sector, having worked first as a Court Counselor in the Juvenile Court system, and subsequently serving as Director of Latin Affairs for Miami Dade County government for four years before joining WSCV. She is also the recipient of two Suncoast Emmy Awards and has held various leadership positions in community, arts, and business organizations throughout the years. She has a degree in Political Science and Urban Affairs from Jacksonville University and is married with one son.
Ana Castilla Ana is the Vice President, Community Development Manager for the South Florida and Treasure Coast branch of TD Bank, America's most convenient bank®. she will manage community relationships and support regional market retail and commercial staff in developing and implementing responsive community development lending, service and investment to revitalize and stabilize low-and-moderate geographies and promote financial empowerment for individuals in South Florida and along the Treasure Coast. Ana joined the Federal Reserve in January 2000 and served as a commissioned bank examiner in addition to her CED responsibilities until 2010 when her department was assigned to the Research Division of the FRB Atlanta. She regularly speaks on community development initiatives and the role of financial institutions in community revitalization at events across the U.S., as well as to international audiences in support of the FRB Atlanta Americas Center. Previous to the Federal Reserve, she enjoyed a 12-year career in banking that included responsibilities in marketing, compliance and most recently community development lending. Ana regularly contributes articles and created publications for the FRB Atlanta and has also collaborated on FRB System research projects on subjects including remittances and concentrated poverty, among others. Born and raised in the Washington DC area, Ana has lived in Miami for the past 24 years and has been active in numerous community development and professional groups in South Florida. Fluent in Spanish, Ana has undertaken extensive outreach and research initiatives within the Hispanic community relative to home ownership, financial education, and micro-finance. Ana is also an adjunct professor for the Center for Financial Training at Miami-Dade College. She graduated from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and obtained an MBA at Florida International University. Prier to joining TD Bank, Castilla served as the regional Community Development Senior Manager at the Miami branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Benji Power Benji is the Operations Manager at McKenzie Construction, working on urban planning and real estate development. He has worked on a series of real estate development related projects in Miami, including working with the Goldman Properties Company on a historic preservation redevelopment toolkit for the Miami Downtown Development Authority and serving as a project manager with a retail developer. He has experience in real estate development, urban planning, and community development, with extensive knowledge of South Florida’s communities and their history. Benji was born in Santiago, Chile and has been a resident of Miami for 30 years. His undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania explored the intersection of urban design and community organizing issues and he is a dual degree alum from MIT’s Masters in City Planning and Master of Science in Real Estate Development programs. Outside of work he is a member of the Miami Fellows program's Class 6 cohort, is one of the founders of the Miami chapter of the New Leaders Council, and is an active member in the ULI Southeast Florida District's Young Leaders group.
Alison Austin Alison has had an extensive international career in ecotourism, community and youth development, with the Organization of American States (OAS). And most recently as CEO of Miami’s Belafonte TACOLCY Center, Austin listened to the needs of the community and implemented programs & services that positively impact youth and families. Her current passion is designing mindfulness programming for young adults. These programs are created for youth that are "aging out" of dependency or are homeless. The latest curriculum design; Finding Your Power, Purpose and Presence, is a personal development and well-being course that guides students on a journey towards self-awareness and workplace etiquette and learn to be comfortable in their truth. Austin studied broadcasting at Miami Dade College and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2007. She earned a B.A. in Communications from University of South Florida, a M.S. in Hospitality Management from Florida International University, a Certificate in Non-profit Leadership from the Harvard Business School and a MS Ed in Community & Social Change from the University of Miami. Austin currently serves as a consultant and Organizational Coach for non- profit organizations.
Tim Coffey Tim Coffey has 25 years of experience in the fields of public health, public policy, and social sciences administration, research, and evaluation. Having worked in a variety of health care, academic, and government settings, he has experience in basic and applied research activities in the area of behavioral health, as well as treatment and social services delivery. As Project Coordinator for the 11th Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project, Tim is responsible for the development, implementation, and evaluation of a variety of court-based projects and programs designed around the needs of people with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders involved in the criminal justice system. In addition, he works on the development of local, state, and national policy and legislative priorities. Before joining the 11th Judicial Circuit, Tim was employed in public and private health care and community mental health settings, as well as academic research settings. Tim is a graduate of Auburn University with a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology, with a concentration in Behavioral Pharmacology and Substance Abuse.
Kevin Probst Kevin, a staff attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., has served as co-director of the firm’s Homeless Legal Assistance Project since 2012 and currently directs the Children’s Advocacy Project as well. He joined Legal Services in 2009 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and, for the first two years, spearheaded a medical-legal partnership for children. As a member of the Health and Income Maintenance Unit, Kevin represents clients in such areas as special education, disability, and Medicaid law. Prior to moving to Miami in 2003 to attend the University of Miami School Of Law, Kevin lived in Washington, D.C. where he pursued a graduate degree in special education and taught middle school students with disabilities. At Miami Law, Kevin furthered his commitment to public service through internships with the Children & Youth Law Clinic and Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office, and a post-graduate fellowship with the school’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. During the years between completing his undergraduate studies at Goucher College in 1996 and pursuing his law degree, Kevin served as an AmeriCorps member with DC Public Allies and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia.
Reverend Harold "Hunter" Thompson Reverend Harold “Hunter” Thompson is the fourth pastor in Miami Beach Community Church’s illustrious history. Rev. Thompson has worked to expand ministries and programs, particularly to vulnerable and disenfranchised populations. The church’s commitment to youth programming, mission projects, homelessness, hunger, prison visitation, and an inclusive outreach are all milestones of his leadership. Rev. Thompson came to Miami Beach from Lebanon Christian Church in Semora, North Carolina, and Allied Churches of Alamance County, Inc., a homeless shelter, soup kitchen and emergency assistance network in Burlington, North Carolina. As a bi-vocational pastor, Thompson worked as executive director for Allied Churches. Prior, Thompson worked as the founding director of the Carolina Homeless Information Network (CHIN) for the North Carolina Housing Coalition. CHIN was a homeless management information system which linked nonprofits, government agencies, and churches together to share information in the fight to end homelessness. CHIN was nationally recognized twice by HUD for innovation and project management. Before CHIN, Thompson served as the director of Community Outreach Services at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW). At UNCW, Thompson led several of his division’s civic engagement initiatives focusing on distance learning, economic development, public policy, and community partnerships from 1994 to 2004. In 1995, Thompson was presented with North Carolina’s highest civic honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Rev. Thompson is married to Pamela De Haas and has two children, Oliver and Rachel. He is currently pursuing a Th.D from the Global Ministries University and Mahidol University International College in Thailand. He has a Masters of Divinity from the Earlham School of Religion.
Adrian L. Mesa, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC Adrian L. Mesa is a Lecturer at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies. He also owns his own company, AMP Group, Inc. which is a start-up for profit aimed at bringing quality psychiatric care to nursing home patients in Miami-Dade County. He is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as both a Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. In 2001, Adrian enlisted himself in the Army. He believes that the military gave him a sense of duty, discipline and a desire to contribute more to society. Adrian began his studies at Miami Dade College where he earned an Associate’s Degree in 2004 and then transferred to the University of Miami. Adrian went on to complete an undergraduate degree at the University of Miami’s school of nursing in 2006. He then worked with children in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Plantation General Hospital. In 2010, Adrian accepted his calling and began to work with the mentally ill population at an inpatient psychiatric unit at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. While employed at Aventura, he obtained a Master’s degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Florida Atlantic University in 2013 and then a Post-Master’s Certificate in the specialty of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in 2014. Adrian was previously employed by Camillus House, a private, non-profit organization that provides health care, shelter, permanent housing and social services to the homeless and poor in Miami-Dade County. Adrian’s role with Camillus House was unique. Not only did he see patients in the usual office setting, but he also took healthcare “to the curbside” to see the homeless population atop their cardboard boxes and on the streets of downtown Miami rather than in the typical office setting. His willingness to see how his patients live and to sit alongside them while offering physical and mental healthcare gave him tremendous insight into the homeless life. His work on “The Lazarus Project”, a collaborative outreach effort between Camillus House and the Miami Homeless Assistance Program which brings medications, social services and case management to the street was what really gave Adrian a first-hand experience of the homeless life. Adrian acknowledged the significance of his experiences on the street and states “Being out there on the street assessing the needs and desires of the homeless was one of the most impactful, eye-opening experiences of my life. I learned very quickly that the goals of the health care provider do not necessarily align with the goal of the homeless individual.” Throughout his career, Adrian has taken the time to serve abroad on missions trips to Haiti in 2010 (Project Medishare days after the earthquake) and again in 2015, Guatemala in 2012, and in orphanages in the Dominican Republic in 2006 and 2007. “I go on these medical missions or out to serve the less fortunate thinking that I am saving them, only later have I realized that they are saving me.”
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