Meet the 2017 St. Louis Fellows
Jordan Ault, Partner, Husch Blackwell LLP
Jordan Ault, a partner at Husch Blackwell, works as a litigator with the firm's Technology, Manufacturing, and Transportation industry team. His practice focuses on the defense of product liability, toxic tort, and commercial litigation. Jordan has handled cases across the United States and has successfully tried cases before juries in both St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Jordan received his B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University, where he studied political science with an emphasis on American elections, public opinion, and social policy. During his time at Illinois Wesleyan, Jordan's coursework led him to live and study at the Community for Creative Non-Violence in Washington, D.C., where he engaged in intensive study of urban poverty and homelessness. Upon moving to St. Louis after receiving his J.D. from the University of Illinois, his commitment to addressing urban poverty inspired Jordan to resurrect and oversee his firm's pro bono relationship with Grace Hill Settlement House. Through this program, firm attorneys donate hundreds of hours of volunteer legal assistance annually to residents of North and South St. Louis City. Jordan currently serves as vice-chair of the Board of Directors of Grace Hill. Outside of the courtroom, Jordan obsesses over state and federal elections, serves as an accompanist for local vocal ensembles, and explores the cultural and culinary offerings of St. Louis with his wife Chelsey, a United Methodist pastor, and daughter Jo.
Matthew Bernstine, Urban Designer, Washington University in St. Louis
Matthew Bernstine is an urban designer and project manager for Washington University in St. Louis. His newly created role at the University guides their civic design efforts, and long-term strategic real estate investments. Mr. Bernstine also lectures at the Sam Fox School of Design + Visual Arts, where he teaches and conducts self-directed research on informal urbanism, metropolitan sustainability, and community development. Matthew has a diverse background in the planning and design profession with over 8 years of experience working in both the private and public sectors. His work consistently sits at the intersection of disciplines where he has designed and managed projects including the Doha International Airport, construction logistics for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, Second Avenue Subway Community Outreach strategy, Stanford Research Institute Master Plan, and a winning design for international design competition -- Changing Course. He holds a Masters of Urban + Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Urban Design from Washington University in Saint Louis. He is a certified planner and LEED accredited professional and was selected as a 2016, Vanguard by the Next City organization.
Lee Camp, Staff Attorney, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc.
Lee is a staff attorney with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Inc. (LSEM) in St. Louis. LSEM is a non-profit legal aid society dedicated to closing the justice gap in Missouri and addressing the legal needs of Eastern Missouri's most vulnerable citizens. His legal practice primarily consists of law assisting low-income, elderly, and disabled clients address various housing needs including increasing access to affordable and federally-subsidized housing, preventing evictions and foreclosures, and fighting against housing discrimination. His practice also includes advocating for the human right to housing for those currently experiencing homelessness. Lee is particularly interested in finding community based solutions to address urban issues such as transportation equity, blight, and sustainable affordable housing. His professional experiences transcend a number of industries including health care, logistics, public relations, and land planning. These experiences have given him insight on how different industries reach unique solutions to systemic problems. Lee has a J.D. from St. Louis University, School of Law and a B.A. in Marketing Management from the University of Arkansas. He is a transplant Southerner living in South City St. Louis. Lee is an obsessive Arkansas Razorback fan and a fan of traveling the world in search of good food.
Jon Clancy, Empowerment Specialist, St. Louis County - Office of the County Executive
While attending Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, Jon Clancy became very passionate about social justice and the environment after seeing firsthand the devastating effects of mountain top removal. Directly seeing this environmental degradation brought to life the real world consequences that policies can have and this experience motivated him to pursue a career in politics and organizing. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science in 2010 and shortly after moved to California to work for the California Association of Realtors conducting voter outreach. He was then hired by Imprenta Communications Group, a political consulting firm, to run independent expenditure campaigns in Northern California on behalf of various PACs.
After taking some time off to backpack and travel the country, Jon returned home to St. Louis in 2013 and immediately tried to immerse himself into the political culture of St. Louis. He was hired in 2014 to manage and oversee the field operations for Steve Stenger's successful yet contentious bid for St. Louis County Executive. It was during this campaign, as the events in Ferguson surrounding Mike Brown's death unfolded, that Jon gained a unique perspective into the politics and policies that shape the St. Louis region. He has since actively participated in the Ferguson Commission, For the Sake of All, and Alive and Well meetings and he hopes to continue to learn how to shape and enact policy in order to bring together people from all walks of life to create a more equitable and unified region.
Jon Clancy currently works as an Empowerment Specialist for St. Louis County's Office of Community Empowerment under the umbrella of County Executive Steve Stenger. He is responsible for seeking out issues related to poverty in St. Louis County communities, raising awareness, and working within St. Louis County Government along with outside community organizations and non-profits to help connect resources to needs. His specialty lies in community organizing and field strategy and he is passionate about improving the quality of life for all. In his free time, you can find Jon outside hiking and camping with his dog Charlie, enjoying St. Louis's vibrant craft beer scene, or on the dance floor at a local show.
Colleen Cunningham, Campaign Strategist, Equal Justice USA
Colleen Cunningham is a campaign strategist with Equal Justice USA ñ, a national organization working to transform the justice system from one that harms to one that heals. Colleen was the lead national strategist on the successful legislative campaigns to ban the death penalty in Illinois (2011), Connecticut (2012), and Nebraska (2015). Following the Nebraska victory, a referendum put the repeal before the voters and Colleen served as the Political Director for the statewide ballot referendum campaign. Before joining the EJUSA team, she was the first Statewide Coordinator and then Executive Director of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. When not organizing things into spreadsheets, Colleen enjoys running with her pup, watching live art, and trying not to ruin recipes.
Stephanie Fabre, Sales Coordinator, Bridgeton Holdings
Born in New York to parents who immigrated from Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Stephanie is a recent St Louis transplant with many years of international non-profit experience. As a Senior Program Director at Panorama Service Expeditions Stephanie has served 5 years working alongside communities throughout Nicaragua on social and economic development projects. These projects include gaining access to sustainable water sources, providing long term and accessible medical care to rural communities, achieving economic growth through the production of goods, as well as improving access to education. She continues her commitment to the communities in Nicaragua from afar, while focusing on completing her Bachelor's Degree. As a working professional in the St Louis area, Stephanie has spent time working with local non-profits, and is interested in furthering her knowledge of the St Louis area through community based initiatives. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise, cooking, traveling, and exploring new activities.
Ronika Gillion, Founder and Consultant, Distinct Consulting Services LLC
Ronika Gillon, a St. Louis native, has over 7+ years in the accounting and finance industry. Currently, she is the Supervisor in Tax Reporting for a Fortune 500 company and it is in this role she encourages all employees and coworkers to continuously grow and develop themselves professionally. Ronika successfully trains and oversees a group of 25+contractors during tax season starting in October thru April the following year. In 2017 she will serve as the Finance Chair of the Black/African American Connection within the corporation. Outside of her corporate title she is the owner of Distinct Consulting Services LLC where she specializes in Career Development, Business Development, and Professional Writing Services.
Her motto is, "Building Confident, Energetic, and Professional Leaders by Refining your Professional and Business Brand." She is a highly motivated, passionate and hardworking young woman that is the embodiment of success behind the struggles. She loves to encourage, inspire, and motivate young women by sharing her story of triumph. In 2014 she taught classes at East St. Louis Community College of 20-25 people on resume building and computer training. She has hosted and spoken at numerous events on financial literacy, tax planning, motivating one's vision and goal planning. She prides herself on educating herself the community on financial literacy, business development and career development. Ronika plans to complete her Bachelors in Accounting within the next year while actively studying for her Series 7 Certification. She has developed a distinct declaration that she repeats to herself often:
Distinct DeclarationI am distinct.I am unique.I am expressive.I am well defined.I am recognizable.I am transparent.I am my passions.I am my dreams.I am my vision.I can MANIFEST MY PASSION!
Jake Hollander, Executive Director & founder, Saint Louis Strong
Jake Hollander is the Founder and Executive Director of the non-partisan advocacy nonprofit, St. Louis Strong. The organization seeks to create a healthier sense of community and a stronger regional economy by advocating for the combination of the City and County and the reconsideration of municipal services and borders. Prior to founding St. Louis Strong, Hollander worked in Washington, DC for the public affairs firm Dewey Square Group, concentrating on issues surrounding telecommunications and technology. Hollander also gained experience in the governmental and nonprofit sectors by serving as a volunteer teacher for adults seeking their GED at the Academy of Hope and interning for the office of Senator Claire McCaskill. Hollander attended American University, graduating with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy with a concentration in law.
Richard Juang, Attorney, Polsinelli PC
Utilizing his degree in biomedical engineering, Richard Juang has the technical experience necessary to guide his clients through the complex world of intellectual property. Richard's practice focuses on a variety of intellectual property issues including patents, trademarks, and copyright matters. He provides litigation support in all phases of discovery, assists with depositions, and drafts arguments for contested motions. Richard's varied background allows him to emphasize patent cases involving any matter ñ from life sciences to computer software and hardware.
Grace Kyung, Planning Manager, Trailnet
Grace Kyung is the Planning Manager at Trailnet, a non-profit improving walking, bicycling, and transit as a way of life. In this role, Grace provides technical assistance on how to improve the built environment to increase accessibility for all ages and abilities throughout the state of Missouri. Grace enjoys the challenges and opportunities of using tactical urbanism approaches to engage and educate stakeholders about safer street designs. Grace is interested in using place-based approaches to create healthy equitable communities. Before moving to St. Louis, Grace received a Masters in Public Health and Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
While a student, Grace ran a successful campaign to bring in a permanent funding source for bicycle-related projects at the university, led social justice campaigns, planned student service trips, and served on a local non-profit board. Grace serves as co-chair on the Healthy Communities Collaborative an interest group of the American Planning Association. She is focused on bridging the connection between public health and urban planning to address transportation and equity concerns. Grace enjoys conversations about how to create livable communities where people come first. Grace is a multi-modal commuter who loves riding her bike to find doughnuts and a good book to read.
Sheela Lal, Research Director, Progress Missouri
Sheela was born in mid-Missouri and attended the University of Missouri (2012) where she earned a Statistics and International Studies dual degree. During her time at Mizzou, she actively learned from the university's social justice programs and took this to her work at Center for American Progress, the Missouri House, Progress Missouri, and the National Bureau of Asian Research. After graduating, Sheela moved to Sri Lanka for a Fulbright grant, where she quantitatively examined gender based violence in film and wrote a short fictional film, which recently won an international award. She then worked in Kolkata at iMerit Technology Services, a social enterprise, where she focused on relationship management, grants and awards, and research, including running a two-month feasibility study in New Delhi with support from UNHCR. Sheela was on a train in Northern Vietnam when she realized just how much she missed the malarky known as the Missouri legislature.
She moved back to Columbia to work in government transparency, and now at Progress Missouri, Sheela does all things policy and legislature. She has been involved with mid-Missouri politics and campaigns in some form since 2008, and during the 2016 election cycle, volunteered on four local campaigns. When she's not working, she's talking to someone about the tomfoolery at the Capitol, probably on her podcast Almirah Radio Hour. Outside of politics, Sheela spends her spare time pretending to run long distance, practicing hatha yoga, creating new audio projects, and spending time with friends who are certainly smarter than her.
Jessica Lambrecht, College Persistence Program Manager, Wyman Center
Jessica Lambrecht, MSW is a native of Colorado and has lived in Saint Louis since 2006. She graduated with a B.S. in Rehabilitation Services from Maryville University and a Masters of Social Work with a focus on Social and Economic Development from Washington University in St. Louis. Jessica has more than six years of direct practice experience with an emphasis on youth development and advocacy. She has worked in the criminal justice system, residential treatment facilities, batterer intervention programming, and after school programming in St. Louis city schools. Since 2014, Jessica has worked as an organizational consultant for local non-profits and as a program coordinator for the East St. Louis Immersion Program at the Brown School. She has also run two political campaigns for state representative candidates in 2014. She spent two years as a United Way Allocation's Panel member and has recently returned to the Wyman Center as the College Persistence Program Manager for their Teen Leadership Program. She is dedicated to civic engagement and finding ways for the nonprofit and political arenas to collaborate in St. Louis.
Jessica Payne, Marketing & Communications Associate, Prosper Women Entrepreneurs
Jessica relocated to St. Louis in August 2014 to pursue a position with the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group as an AmeriCorps VISTA, where she served full-time for two years, organizing community meetings, planning fundraising events, and leading neighborhood health initiatives. Prior to this jump into community work, she was a Senior Marketing Manager for Wintrust Financial in Chicago, leading the creation of a comprehensive social and digital media strategy for more than 60 community bank and specialty financing brands. She received a BA in Advertising and a minor in Studio Art from Oklahoma State University in 2007 and is currently pursuing her MSW at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University where she was selected as the first Equifax Community Development Scholar.
In her first practicum experience, she helped coordinate the North Corridor Collaborative, a project of Grace Hill Settlement House that includes area residents, businesses, and nonprofits who work together to create measurable change within the community. She is completing her final practicum with the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council where through marketing and research, she supports the St. Louis Equal Housing & Community Reinvestment Alliance, a coalition of area nonprofits that works to increase investment in minority communities and in low- and moderate-income communities by ensuring that banks are meeting their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending laws. In addition, she works part-time with Prosper Women Entrepreneurs ñ Prosper Institute as the Marketing & Communications Associate, helping the organization to expand its impact in the St. Louis region. In her spare time, you can find her managing the North City Farmers' Market, talking to her neighbors in Old North at the local coffee shop, and tending to her plot in the 13th Street Community Garden.
Katy Peace, Marketing & Digital Media Manager, Forest Park Forever
Katy Peace is a native New Yorker who came to St. Louis by way of Pittsburgh. She attended the State University of New York at New Paltz where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Art History and Religious Studies in 2006. After spending almost 4 years working at a contemporary art museum, she left New York to attend Carnegie Mellon University where she earned her Master's of Arts Management degree in 2012. Over the course of her career, she has held roles in exhibitions, communications, public art, and gallery management. Shortly after moving to St. Louis, she founded Community Supported Art - Saint Louis, a subscription service for local art. The CSA model allowed Katy to support local artists through honorariums, while simultaneously making it easier and more affordable for people to purchase original artwork. Katy currently works as the Marketing & Digital Media Manager for Forest Park Forever where she had the opportunity to spearhead a special initiative to bring an artist in residence program to Forest Park. Katy is also a board member for Midwest Artist Project Services and serves on the Generation Listen STL Leadership Council for St. Louis Public Radio. When she's not working, she enjoys baking, visiting museums, playing with her cats, and traveling whenever possible.
Molly Pearson, Visitor Services Manager, Pulitzer Arts Foundation
Molly Pearson grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and relocated to St. Louis in 2005 to study English Literature and Women and Gender Studies at Webster University. While in school, she volunteered for Safe Connections by answering the Crisis Helpline, serving victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, she applied her volunteerism to her studies by curating an independent study course exploring domestic violence in literature. Further developing her dedication to gender equity, she served as a Program Coordinator at Trailnet, a local non-profit dedicated to making biking, walking, and public transit a part of everyday life in the St. Louis region. In this role, she researched and developed the organization's first women-specific outreach program, provided bicycle education to diverse audiences across the region, and wrote periodic columns for the St. Louis Beacon (now merged with St. Louis Public Radio).
Currently, Molly is employed at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors for The Monthly Cycle, a local advocacy and bicycling outreach organization serving women and gender non-binary St. Louis residents. Through a feminist lens, Molly advocates for a more equitable St. Louis through improved transportation access and welcoming public spaces.
Mia Ranard, Strategic Director, Dactylion Creative Studio
Mia Ranard is a small business owner who believes strongly in accessibility, accountability, and equality. She earned her Master's degree in Special Education from Indiana University Bloomington, and completed thesis research on teacher collaboration as a way to better serve both general education and special education students in the same classroom. She also has a BA in International Studies and Anthropology from Indiana University, where she focused on medical anthropology and human rights. After moving to St. Louis, Mia got involved in the startup community and became interested in the ways collaboration was and was not being used to make community resources and economic opportunities accessible to women and minorities.
Her work at TechArtista and Prosper Women Entrepreneurs has helped her better understand the obstacles many individuals face in trying to start a business and is active in trying to find ways the St. Louis community can overcome those hurdles and increase its citizens' economic mobility. Mia started her own business in 2016 and is a participant in Brazen's Growth Groups program. Through her company, Dactylion Creative Studio, she now provides branding and design services to support women business owners in telling authentic and socially conscious stories. When not working or traveling, Mia can often be found reading, writing, or seeking out stories.
Samuel Rayburn, Communications Coordinator, Fox C-6 School District
Sam Rayburn is an award-winning Communications Director in public education. His work includes public relations and community engagement for a 75,000 member community as well as strategic planning and professional development for educators and administrators. Sam is a member and presenter for the Missouri School Public Relations Association, the Gifted Association of Missouri, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Additionally, Sam is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hollow Harbor, a civic-minded publishing company dedicated to providing local artists and authors a voice. The company launched its first title, the comic book TYRANTS, in 2015, spawning opportunities to present to students in the St. Louis area about reading, writing, and literacy. Sam is a lifelong learner and educator who strives to show others the meaning of love, service and care through public service. He is a graduate of Webster University but continues his educational journey as an MPA candidate in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. In addition to education and media, Sam's interests include organizational behavior, group psychology, gardening, hiking, art, film, advocacy, and graphic design.
Bronwyn Ritchie, Content Strategist, Timmermann Group
Bronwyn is a seasoned digital marketing professional with extensive accomplishments in both the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors. With a degree in International Business, Economics, and Finance from Saint Louis University, Bronwyn's specific focus is bolstering the economic and cultural vitality of communities through unconventional channels. Bronwyn works as a Content Strategist at Timmermann Group, a local digital marketing firm with the mission of making St. Louis a desirable career location for digital experts by producing quality work that challenges St. Louis' reputation as a ìflyover city.î In her role, Bronwyn has helped position Timmermann Group as a thought-leader in web development for not-for-profit institutions. She regularly shares her expertise with her industry peers, speaking at events like St. Louis Digital Symposium, The Social Media Club of St. Louis Half-Day Summit, and Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for The Arts. Bronwyn also acts as a Project Coordinator for ready + willing, a 501(c)3 that provides pro bono marketing and advertising assistance to other not-for-profits in the St. Louis region.
Bronwyn serves as the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for St Lou Fringe. Part of a national network of independent performing arts organizations, St Lou Fringe acts as an arts-first platform for amplifying the opportunities available to the disenfranchised groups that inhabit the St. Louis metro area. With Bronwyn's organizational leadership, St Lou Fringe has expanded its programming from a single two-weekend festival to a robust five-month season designed to infiltrate, engage, and unify key neighborhoods within the St. Louis community. Bronwyn also sits on the board of directors for Solid Lines Productions, a growing production company creating programs that foster community dialogue about socially relevant issues through live theatre. When she's not sharing her opinions on the 4th Industrial Revolution over a glass of red wine, Bronwyn enjoys participating in the 48 Hour Film Project, curating Spotify playlists, and lurking around Off Broadway listening to local music.
Alona Sistrunk, Civil Rights Litigation Specialist, MacArthur Justice Center at St. Louis
Born and raised in North County St. Louis, Alona Sistrunk has a deep and demonstrated commitment to progressive values, especially freedom and equal justice for all. She currently serves as the Civil Rights Litigation Specialist with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at St. Louis (RSMJC), a public interest law firm that advocates for human rights and justice system reforms through litigation. Prior to joining RSMJC, Alona served as the communications and development associate for the ACLU of Missouri before, during, and following the unrest in Ferguson. She helped produce and distribute materials to inform the public and media about its rights when interacting with law enforcement and exercising free speech. Among other duties, Alona supported coalition communication efforts to promote the Fair and Impartial Policing Act as a means to end racial profiling in Show-Me-State policing.
Prior to joining the ACLU of Missouri, Alona served as the communications and development associate at the National Employment Law Project (NELP), a workers' rights advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. Previously, she had the honor of interning with the U.S. House of Representatives and the Department of Justice (DOJ), Voting Rights Section. At the DOJ, she traveled to investigate claims of disenfranchisement, and reviewed proposed election changes under the authority of the Civil Rights Act. Through her diverse experiences, Alona learned first-hand what a significant role effective communication plays in achieving true progress. As visionary civil rights activist and attorney Charles Hamilton Houston articulated, ìLawsuits mean little unless supported by public opinion. Nobody needs to explain to a (Black person) the difference between the law in the books and the law in action. The really baffling problem is how to create the proper kind of public opinion.Alona strives to use her talents to be part of the solution to that problem.
As a singer and performing artist in her spare time, she uses her craft to give voice to those that too often go unheard and unseen. Her most proud performances were with the African American Collective Theater, a Washington, D.C.-based production company showcasing Black LGBTQ life, and with the KUUMBA Players, a socially-conscious theater troupe in D.C. Alona is a card-carrying member of the ACLU and the NAACP, as well as a proud graduate of Howard University, where she received her bachelor of arts degree in sociology.
Wolf Smith, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Board, St. Louis Anti-Violence Project
Wolf Smith founded and now co-chairs the St. Louis Anti-Violence Project, the first agency in St. Louis dedicated to ending relational violence within and to LGBTQ+ communities. As a co-chair of this budding nonprofit, ze works tirelessly to advocate for LGBTQ+ survivors in all spaces. STLAVP started as The St. Louis LGBT Anti-Violence Task Force, which Wolf joined in 2012. When the Task Force began dissolving, Wolf and zir co-chair decided to continue the mission and incorporate the Task Force into STLAVP.. Wolf has worked in the St. Louis LGBTQ+ communities for seven years as an Outreach Coordinator under the MpowerSTL project, the LGBTQ+ Educator at Safe Connections, and as a volunteer, intern, and most recently a Director of Pride St. Louis. This past year, Wolf has worked to reopen the LGBTQ+ community center of St. Louis, which is now called The Pride Center. A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Wolf is continuing pursuing higher education in the form of a law and social work dual degree from the Brown School and Wash U School of Law. In the future, Wolf hopes to run STLAVP full-time, turning it into the go-to resource for LGBTQ+ survivors or maybe become a judge, ze isn't quite sure yet. When not trying to save zir sliver of the world, Wolf enjoys playing video games and trying the many restaurants that call St. Louis home.
Darian Wigfall, Community Activist and Organizer
Darian Wigfall is an author, activist, arts organizer, DJ and entrepreneur. After graduating from the University of Missouri in Columbia with a degree in Biology in 2006, Darian moved back to St. Louis to be a catalyst for better education and cultural development in the community that raised him. Darian co-directs the St. Louis based FarFetched music collective, an art imprint that produces progressive music and art in St. Louis and beyond. Darian currently works as an artist teaching the art of the DJ while helping renew the Civil Ape clothing line and formerly ran Artists as Tutors (2014-2015), an after school homework, arts, science and mentoring program that he founded in 2014 following the Ferguson uprising. Darian's involvement with business partner Damon Davis, led him to join an artist social justice collective known as the Artivists, following the shooting death of Michael Brown. Darian's direct action in Ferguson as part of Artivists led to his protest sign being inducted into the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opened on September 24, 2016 and a feature in Smithsonian magazine in December 2015.
In recognition of his efforts in civil rights and business successes outside of the traditional protest and corporate settings, respectively - Darian was featured alongside several of his collaborative partners in the February 2016 issue of Fortune Magazine in an article about the paths young black men are charting for themselves instead of becoming marginalized in a corporate board room. While working as a scientist in the Department of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis Medical School, Darian found his passion for civic engagement, volunteering both as a facilitator with the Diversity Awareness Partnership and as an UrbanFUTURE Inspire mentor in 2007 and 2008. These experiences inspired him to write A Dying Breed Volume 1 - a juvenile fiction book about a young man struggling to stay on a straight path despite being raised in a declining inner city. As well, Darian has written a second book in the Bright Lights series, Not So Princess Jasmine, which will be available in 2016.