Fedora Galasso, MPAff, MSSW, Executive Director (She/Her)
Fedora Galasso is the Executive Director of the Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) where she leads the organization in strengthening services for Texas youth and young adults. Prior to joining TNOYS she was the Southern Regional Director for Young Invincibles, a national, nonpartisan policy research and advocacy organization committed to amplifying the voices of young adults and expanding their economic opportunity.
Fedora has extensive state government experience. At the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, she managed several innovative statewide programs that fostered public and private partnerships to expand access to health, education and economic supports for Texans. At the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Fedora worked as a senior policy analyst and Child Protective Services investigator and legal liaison. In these roles she identified and disseminated evidence-based best practices, program models, and policies to improve the child welfare system.
Fedora graduated with dual master’s degrees in Public Affairs and Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin where she specialized in social and economic policy with a focus on innovative child and family social policy and programs. During this time she worked at Ascend at the Aspen Institute and the Texas Council on Family Violence, researching, implementing, and evaluating family economic security programs. She received her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University – Commerce.
Fedora was born and raised in Guyana, South America, and has lived in Texas for the past twenty years. In her spare time, Fedora enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, swimming at Austin swimming holes and parks, and eating breakfast tacos.
Lauren Rose, MPAff, Director of Public Policy (She/Her)
Lauren joined TNOYS in January 2019. She has worked both inside and outside of the Texas Capitol. The 86th Texas Legislative Session was her 7th legislative session – with the bulk of those years focused on policy change to improve the lives of Texas children and support at-risk and system-involved youth. Lauren worked at Texans Care for Children for 8 years and has been volunteering as a mentor through the Seedling Foundation for 6 years. Lauren received her master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Government all from the University of Texas at Austin.
Terranisha Hiley, MSSW, Mental Health Policy Fellow (She/They)
Terranisha is a fierce social justice advocate with over 5 years of experience in various settings including nonprofits, schools, and law firms. She joined TNOYS in July of 2020 as the Mental Health Policy Fellow to support Texas’s highest needs youth across all youth-serving systems through statewide policy changes, development, and advocacy. Before TNOYS, Terranisha provided clinical services to children, teenagers, and adults with complex trauma histories living below the poverty line. She is dedicated to racial, economic, and LGBTQIA+ equity with a passion for systemic liberation. She earned her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin’s Steve Hicks School of Social Work and her bachelor’s from Columbia University.
Justin “Prince” Hayward, Policy Specialist (He/Him)
Justin “Prince” Hayward, Is a young adult advocate whose friends call him Prince. His positive and negative experiences in CPS and being homeless have made him into the man he is today. Currently, Mr. Hayward is an active leader in the Houston area and not only a member of two other formal young adult advocacy boards, including Youth Collaboratory and National Youth Forum on Homelessness, He is also an appointed member of DFPS Public Private Partnership Council (PPP). For TNOYS, Prince has led a number of trainings such as preventing runways and has also been very effective at using his story to advocate for policy changes & budget increases at the state capitol. He has been blessed to overcome the statistics of being an African American male in and out of various systems as a youth and is a champion for change on all levels for the next generation.
Sarah Prager, MPH, Program Director (She/Her)
Sarah joined the TNOYS team in February 2020 to lead projects supporting youth service providers and stakeholders. Prior to joining TNOYS, Sarah led evaluation and dissemination efforts for the National Center for Farmworker Health and managed projects for the Sustainable Food Center. Sarah has also consulted on various public health planning and evaluation projects and facilitated strategic planning sessions. Sarah received her master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina and her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin.
Ann-Charlotte Proffitt, MPAff, Innovation Manager (She/ Her)
Ann-Charlotte joined TNOYS in January 2019 to lead planning and coordination for major TNOYS programs, including conferences, projects, and initiatives. Ann-Charlotte’s current initiatives include managing a statewide project to keep children and youth safe from abuse, neglect, and exploitation during and after natural disasters; leading coordination of TNOYS’ Annual Conference on Services to Youth and Families; and leading TNOYS’ work to support providers in responding to COVID-19. Prior to this role, Ann-Charlotte worked for the Child and Family Research Partnership at the University of Texas at Austin on evaluations of state- and federally-funded initiatives. She has also worked with foundations managing grants, developing investment strategy, and coordinating events and with a youth and family nonprofit organization providing services, conducting financial research, writing grant applications, and supporting coordination for an annual fundraising event. Ann-Charlotte received her master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and her bachelor’s degree in Plan II Honors and French, all from the University of Texas at Austin.
Josue Rodriguez, Engagement Manager (He/Him)
Josue has extensive experience in advocacy and elevating the voices of youth leaders. Previously, he served as Texas Organizing Coordinator at Young Invincibles (YI). In this role, he assisted with the management of the Young Advocates Program (consisting of close to 30 interns in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio), and the Southern Youth Advisory Board. Josue also served as a member and co-chair of YI’s National Youth Advisory Board.
Josue has been involved with different immigration rights organizations such as United We Dream and FIEL. He is a recurring immigration consultant with the Neighborhood Centers for Greater Houston immigration center, and has worked in law firms as a certified paralegal, arbitrator, and mediator. In 2017, Josue received the Houston Mayor’s Hispanic Heritage Youth Activist Award. This award recognizes a young Latinx person between the ages of 15—25 for outstanding work through volunteer projects that inspire our youth to become the future leaders in the Latinx community.
Josue was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, but moved to Houston when he was eight years old. Josue earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies from the University of St.Thomas—Houston.
Lyric Wardlow, Program Coordinator (She/Her)
Lyric is a young entrepreneur and advocate working to create new opportunities for young adults and youth. She joined TNOYS in December 2018 as the Youth Specialist to lead the Young Adult Leadership Council and ongoing youth engagement efforts. She experienced homelessness at a young age and, since becoming an adult, strives to make a significant difference for those who have faced similar challenges. She currently serves as a member of the Ending Community Homelessness Council and the Austin Young Chamber.
Mary Bergeron, Director of Communications (She/Her)
Mary has worked with TNOYS since November 2019 and came on as TNOYS’ Communications Director in April 2020. She has over a decade of experience in marketing, communications, and product management, having worked in both nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Prior to joining TNOYS, Mary led marketing and product management at an education technology startup, where she helped to drive year-over-year growth, increase social impact, and position the company for a successful acquisition. Mary has worked with a range of mission-driven organizations, and she hopes to use her experience to help TNOYS further important projects that impact youth and young adults.
Alexander Polk, Communications Specialist (He/They)
Alex Polk is driven by using his skills and his lived experience to help other young people overcome challenges. Alex’s role within TNOYS consists of communications, website management, supporting our membership program and social media. He previously served as a member of TNOYS’ Young Adult Leadership Council and has presented multiple times at TNOYS’ Annual Conference and on training webinars, particularly on youth homelessness and LGBTQ issues. Alex has also partnered with Lifeworks presenting in panels, sharing their story, and educating participants on LGBTQ topics. As a transgender rights advocate himself, Alex prides himself on his ongoing efforts towards inclusion, education, self care and empowerment.