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.
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.
Dana Hill, Mental Health Policy Fellow (She/Her)
Dana joined TNOYS in 2021 as the Mental Health Policy Fellow and is focused on building capacity to support Texas’s highest needs youth through policy change. Dana is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington. She earned her master’s degree in macro-level social work and is passionate about creating less hostile systems for youth and emerging adults in Texas. Prior to TNOYS, Dana worked as a research assistant collecting and analyzing data to serve youth who are experiencing homelessness. She too experienced homelessness as a runaway youth. Dana is also a member of a local Tarrant County task force to address commercial child sexual exploitation, and much of her work revolves around raising youth voices.
Ann-Charlotte Proffitt, MPAff, Director of Practice (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)
Since entering the nonprofit world at 18 years old, Lyric Wardlow has used her personal journey with homelessness to ensure that voices like hers are included in systemic change. In December of 2018 Lyric joined the TNOYS team and has worked tirelessly on behalf of youth and young adults with lived experiences. As program coordinator Lyric supports TNOYS in a variety of ways, but specifically training and offering technical assistance on projects, including youth engagement efforts to strengthen youth serving systems in Texas. She combines her own lived expertise with her ever growing professional knowledge to put youth voice into TNOYS policies, programs and practices. She is a powerful leader who uses her impactful communication and storytelling skills to advocate for authentic and inclusive change.
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.
Natalie Ferguson, Operations Manager (She/Her)
Natalie Ferguson is the Operations Manager at TNOYS joining in early 2021. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelors in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. Since moving to San Marcos, TX, Natalie has been very involved in her community. In the city, she volunteers with scholarship organizations as well as mentoring new students at Texas State University. Natalie worked with Young Invincibles TX to further their youth programming and facilitate discussions around healthcare and higher education advocacy. She is extremely passionate about uplifting the voices of young people in the political process. Natalie is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Administration.
Meet The Young Adult Leadership Council (YALC)
Brenda Woolley, YALC Member (She/Her)
Brenda Woolley is originally from Haiti, but currently resides in Denton, Texas. She is currently in pursuit of her Master’s in Public Administration, with a focus in Nonprofit Management. Being from a third world country, Brenda has witnessed the struggle of living in a world of limited resources and has experienced the impact of social and economic injustice. Brenda joined the Young Adult Leadership Council in hopes of learning and advocating for those in need of assistance-mentally or physically. Brenda joined with the intent to make a difference and learn more about how and why things are done a certain way.
Britney Dollison, YALC Member (She/Her)
Britney was born and raised in Odessa Texas, She lived in Abilene Texas for months, but now she is back in Odessa, Texas. Britney is currently classified as a senior in High School at ISchool Virtual Academy.
A fun fact about Britney is that she wants to be a nurse practitioner when she is older because she loves to help others in need. Britney is looking forward to learning more about others and she is looking forward to learning more about our legislators.
Desirae Perales, YALC Member (She/Her)
Desirae Perales was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She is a senior attending Texas A&M Corpus Christi University pursuing a criminal justice degree. She’s excited about bringing advocacy for policy change and the opportunity to share her experiences to inspire and help navigate those youth who need a voice. She’s also passionate about bringing change in the system and in the lives who have been affected.
Jorge Leyva, YALC Member (He/Him)
Jorge Leyva is a young adult advocate. As a young adult who has past and current involvement with the homelessness system, Jorge has extensive knowledge on the ways our Texas system works. When it comes to involvement with the Texas Network of Youth Services, Jorge serves as a YALC member, offering his own experience(s) to the network in regards to what needs reform.
Kedrick Spivey, YALC Member (He/Him)
Kedrick is from Huntsville , TX and I’m currently going to Houston Community College (Central Campus). He is currently taking classes to become a CNA. A fun fact about Kedrick is that he loves to cook. Kedrick is looking forward to being a part of this amazing organization to help better the system!
Sabrina DeBreau, YALC Member (She/Her)
Sabrina is 19 years old and currently working as a member of the YALC through TNOYS. She is originally from San Antonio Texas; however, she attends Texas Tech University where she is pursuing a B.A. in Philosophy and B.S. in Astrophysics. She is an avid bookworm and plans to lead her career in the more academic intensive route with research. She is very ecstatic to be a part of YALC and to promote advocacy (amongst youths and peers with life experiences similar to hers) through policy work and skill building!
Sally Amara Uzomba, YALC Member (She/Her)
Sally Amara Uzomba (she/her) was born in the western part of Nigeria and raised in San Antonio. She is currently classified as a senior at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, with majors in Biomedical Science and Biochemistry and minors in Mathematics and Physics. Sally is really passionate about bringing about change in the lives of fellow foster care youth, and using her story to impact the youths currently in care. She is also passionate about being an advocate and the voice for every youth whose lives have been affected by the stigma of being in care.
Shaylynn Wylie, YALC Member (She/Her)
Shaylynn is from Abilene, Texas. She currently goes to college at Angelo State University and is majoring in psychology with a minor in social work. A fun fact about Shaylynn is that she is looking forward to being able to advocate for change in a system that desperately needs it. Shaylynn hopes that her love of change will inspire others. After hearing about her story, Shaylynn hopes to inspire more foster youth to go to college.
Zane Ocon, YALC Member (He/They)
Exzaniel Ocon is a former member of the foster care system and has grown into a strong advocate for other foster care youth. Through their writing and vocalization of their lived experience, Exzaniel Ocon hopes to help the foster system improve and be an advocate for those who otherwise may not have a voice. His passions surround social issues such LGBT and racial injustices and is a persistent advocate for these issues.