I attribute a lot of my curiosity for movement and culture with how I was raised and where I come from. The way I grew up felt completely normal to me but it was as an adult I realized it was unique.
One of seven kids spanning 23 years from oldest to youngest (I’m the third. People always want to know…), I spent my early years making mud pies, building forts in the woods, trying every sport a Maine suburb could offer, and generally being an aggressive girl trying to prove to my older brothers that I could do anything they could do.
Starting at age 8, I spent more and more training on the ice, hanging out with my skating friends in the city, and maintaining my aggressive nature—this time with glitter.
Throughout all parts of my growing up life I lived in a house with my parents, our pets, my siblings, and almost always another person. A foreign exchange student, a birth mother, a friend in need. My house was the one that always had ice cream in the freezer and unlocked doors. I’d visit my dad’s family in rural Maine, pulling carrots from the garden and washing them off with the hose in the summer and riding snowmobiles in winter to help my grandparents cook dinners at the church. I’d constantly ask my mom questions about her Puerto Rican family, hearing a mix of traumatic experiences—a result of abuses and oppressions in line with racism and misogyny—as well as stirrings of magic and matriarchy from the beauty of the island itself to the way my grandmother and (her grandmother and her grandmother…) overcame and persevered and quite literally practiced magic.
The household rules set by my parents were quite simply to always be honest and to love all people. Having complex conversations, reading the political sections of the newspaper, and learning how to courageously speak up for others was as regular as sibling rivalry.
And it was the norm of these things in my life that made me feel so awkward at ice rinks. Challenging the system, questioning authority, speaking out when something seemed wrong? The ice arena is where you’re supposed to “leave conflict and problems at the door”. When that meant not confronting the elitism on and off ice, the racism in the very ways the sport operates, and the ways that the sport lacks in its ability to address mental health concerns I became committed to making sure my life developed in more ways than in skating alone.
Since 2008, I’ve worked, and trained, and studied deep and wide to better understand the world around me and how to better love all people:
Behavioral Health Professional, in home and support to children with developmental disabilities
Behavioral Tech III, direct support to children with co-occuring developmental and mental health disorders in a crisis/in-patient hospital setting + mentorship to other direct care staff.
200hr yoga training + development of a yoga program for autistic youth and adults.
Connection Coalition (formally Yoga Gangsters), completed yoga + behavior/trauma training and taught in Maine schools and youth programs.
Piece by Peace, a project I started to support direct care workers in finding identity, community, and care to address severe stress and burn-out.
Speaking Up For Us, Chapter Advisor and Statewide Training Director for Maine’s self-advocacy organization for adults with developmental disabilities.
Adam’s Camp New England, Siblings Coordinator/Adventure Camp Lead
Off the Mat, Into the World, completed several trainings with the yoga-based leadership and activist development organization and later worked as their communications director.
CTZNWELL, Story and Communications Designer, intersecting wellbeing, politics and justice towards wellbeing for all
Figure Skating in Harlem, Assistant Skating Director.
University of Southern Maine, BS in Leadership and Organizational Studies/MA in Leadership
Montagu Project, a collaboration between the University of Southern Maine, Red Zebra, and the RAD foundation bringing together diverse youth from the US and South Africa to develop in leadership through rhythm, music, dance, and performance.
Although I’ve worked hard to learn about youth development, performance, justice, love, and liberation from amazing leaders far and wide, I also recognize the importance of being a confident and knowledgeable coach in the mechanics of skating itself. Uniquely, I had the privilege of beginning to coach skating at age 13. For 5 years I worked alongside mentors and coaches who taught me how to teach. Once I began teaching on my own professionally, I continued to coach alongside those who supported me growing up on the ice until I moved to New York City at age 26.
It’s my dream to combine these many skills and passions into skating performances and communities like none other.
Are you ready to party?