About Our Team

Fedora Galasso, MPAff, MSSW, Chief Executive Officer (She/Her)

Fedora Galasso is the Chief Executive Officer 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.

Michael Grisham, Chief Operating Officer (He/Him)

Michael Grisham joined TNOYS in April 2022 to oversee operations and help ensure TNOYS is optimally positioned to achieve and exceed its policy, practice, and partnership goals. Michael is a public service leader with over 12 years of experience working in the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). During his time at HHSC, Michael led agency-wide initiatives and provided consultancy aimed at achieving efficiencies and improving organizational operations. He also led departments, programs, and projects focused on connecting Texans in need to social services, including the HHSC Community Partner Program (CPP), the 2-1-1 Texas Information and Referral Network (TIRN), the SNAP Education program, and the Presumptive Eligibility program. Throughout his work, Michael endeavors to channel his experience, skills, and passion for public service towards effectively serving populations in need. Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Administration from Texas State University.

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.

Lauren Rose, MPAff, Director of Public Policy (She/Her)

Lauren Rose 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. 

Pablo Pratt, Policy Coordinator (He/Him)

Pablo Pratt serves as the Policy Coordinator at Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) and is an active member of the Texas Emerging Leaders Board (TELB). With over four years of experience advocating for underserved communities, Pablo is dedicated to empowering young adults in Texas by recognizing their strengths, amplifying their voices, and ensuring access to essential resources, support, and opportunities. Pablo is currently pursuing his M.S. in Information Security & Privacy from the University of Texas at Austin. He aspires to combine his passion for technology, public policy, and advocacy to make a meaningful and lasting impact in the lives of young Texans.

Ann-Charlotte Proffitt, MPAff, Director of Practice (She/ Her)

Ann-Charlotte joined TNOYS in January 2019 to contribute to, and eventually lead, TNOYS’ practice strategy. In this role, Ann-Charlotte develops and oversees strategies to provide training, technical assistance, and capacity-building support to youth-serving organizations across the state. Major practice initiatives include conferences, emergency preparedness and response, and building Texas’ capacity to prevent and address commercial sexual exploitation of youth. 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-funded initiatives. She has also worked with foundations to manage grants and develop investment strategies, as well as nonprofit organizations to conduct financial research, write grant applications, and support fundraising. 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. 

Sedoo Ijir, MPH, Program Manager (She/ Her)

Sedoo Ijir (pronounced “Se-Doe”, rhymes with “Meadow”) is passionate about creating effective programs and resources to meet the health and well-being needs of youth and marginalized communities. Before joining TNOYS, Sedoo was an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the University of Houston-Downtown’s (UHD) Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. As part of UHD’s hub for community engagement, she recruited and collaborated with staff, students, faculty, and community organizations to support high-impact learning practices while also conducting effective community engagement projects. Sedoo provided technical assistance to over 20 projects and, through her community relationships, connected them to the people and resources they needed to thrive. Sedoo also has experience working with immigrant and refugee youth at Football United, as well as identifying the needs of formerly incarcerated individuals and developing trainings for service providers with the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago. Sedoo earned her master’s in public health at Northwestern University and her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Global Health also from Northwestern.

Alexander Polk, Program Coordinator (He/They)

Alex Polk is driven by using his skills and lived experience to help young people overcome challenges and adversity. At TNOYS, Alex develops and presents training content on youth issues, supports program development for member organizations and external stakeholders, and supports the coordination of conferences and other training events. Alex started with TNOYS as a member of TNOYS’ Young Adult Leadership Council in 2017 and has presented numerous times at various conferences and on training webinars, particularly on youth homelessness, CSEY, and LGBTQ issues. As a transgender rights advocate, Alex prides himself on his ongoing efforts towards equity, inclusion, education, self-care, and empowerment.

Jermaine Neblett, Director of Partnerships (He/Him)

Jermaine Neblett is a nonprofit leadership professional with experience in the arts, social services and youth services sectors. He received degrees from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa, TX; as well as The New School in New York City. Previously, he served the Houston community by leading his team to provide the best possible disaster response and volunteer experience to over 84,000 volunteers and pushed 100,000,000 pounds of food to the Greater Houston Area providing vital nourishment to those in need. In addition, Jermaine managed the Salvation Army Greater Houston’s Young Adult Resource Center, where he became a Trauma-Informed Care advocate by providing a plethora of direct services to young adults ages 16-25 experiencing homelessness and other barriers.

Neblett moved to Houston in 2015 after managing a nationwide arts and writing program in NYC. In his free time, he is a multidisciplinary artist working in poetry, photography, and conceptual art; he has work published in literary publications including Obsidian: Literature & Art in the African Diaspora. He is working on projects that uncover the subtleties of masculinity, perceived welcomeness, and the push and pull of intra-community discrimination. He lives in North Houston with his husband, Cory; and their fur babies, Barack and Andrew.

 Mary Bergeron, Director of Communications (She/Her)

Mary Bergeron has worked with TNOYS since November 2019 and came on as TNOYS’ Director of Communications 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 is excited to work with TNOYS to further important projects that impact youth and young adults.

 Tessa Ammons, Outreach Manager (She/Her) 

Tessa Ammons Ammons joined TNOYS in July 2021 as the Outreach Manager. She is passionate about using her lived experiences to guide her work in managing the TNOYS membership program, events, and data. Before joining TNOYS, Tessa received degrees in Biology and Social Science with a focus on Leadership in Criminal Justice. Her professional experience includes work in the juvenile justice system and as a Career Technical Education curriculum developer and educator in the state of Oregon. Tessa loves spending time with her husband and daughter and is excited to continue work to positively impact youth in the community.

Alexander Pryor, Graphic Designer (He/Him)

Alexander Pryor joined TNOYS in August 2020 to support the communications and marketing needs of the organization. His bread & butter is in graphic design. However, through his mosaic of experiences, Alex is well-versed in other areas such as social media content and video editing. His full-time experience has primarily been through digital communications roles in the non-profit industry but has a history of supporting start-ups and small businesses as well. Alex was born in Washington, D.C. and received his bachelor’s degree in American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Meet The Young Adult Leadership Council (YALC)

Adrianna Moore, YALC Member (She/Her)

Adrianna is a YALC member youth advocate for TNOYS  and also works as a debt collector for FMA Alliance. She is from Houston, TX, and is 24 years old. Adrianna is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. She has a caring personality and values support from others. She enjoys using her skills to contribute to the community and help with everyday changes and challenges.  In her free time, she likes to read and take trips with her friends and family.

Chasity Williams, YALC Member (She/Her)

Chasity Williams goes by she/her pronouns. Chasity was born and raised in New Mexico, is a first-of-the-month baby, a Cancer, and a Junior undergrad at PVAMU majoring in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Biology. She loves painting and various sports. She has future goals of trying out real estate selling and doing some sort of trade work. As a native, she wants to touch on major problems that minority youth face in the system that are commonly swept under the rug. In the future, she hopes to find a way to incorporate the Navajo nation into more cooperative organizations. Chasity describes herself as very adaptable,  “I can adapt to any situation. I’m very understanding and good at reading the room.” Chasity is currently learning  Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Navajo.

Chaz Davis, YALC Member (He/Him)

Chaz Davis goes by he/him/his pronouns and is 22 years old. He is currently a full-time college student, with dreams of becoming an anesthesiologist. Chaz is driven and ambitious to obtain life goals, and wants to “create a name for [himself] and share the knowledge gained from years past”. Chaz grew up in the foster care system from 15- to 18- years old. When he aged out of the system, he received benefits and has been “trying to change [his] life for the better” since. Having transitioned out of care, he knows he can relate to those who “feel as if they are lost” and he can hear them. For leisure, Chaz likes to paint, sketch, mold, skateboard, play basketball, go to the spa, do yoga, and play video games.

Corina Dechi, YALC Member (She/Her)

Corina Dechi is 23 years old and happily married. Along with being a TNOYS YALC member, she is also currently working at the Pride Center as a PAL (Preparation for Adult Living) Alumni Trainer. As a PAL Alumni Trainer, Corina teaches and helps youth and young adults prepare for transitioning out of foster care. She has attended several conferences as a special guest speaker about her experience growing up in foster care. Corina has plans to go back to El Paso Community College to finish her Associate’s degree in Child Development. Corina entered care due to sexual and emotional abuse and went through several foster homes and four residential treatment centers during her time in care. She describes herself as a, “very loving, positive person,” She loves getting to meet new people and learning new things.

Daisia Wheeler, YALC Member (She/Her)

Daisia Wheeler’s pronouns are she/her.  Daisia has future plans of becoming a baker or pastry chef. She hopes to one day open up her own bakery shop. Daisia is driven to open up and connect with others through her stories, and she hopes to inspire others to do the same.  She has experience within the foster care system and aged out at 18. In her own words, she has “done a lot of growing” and is “proud of [herself]”, “God has been here through my journey, and I live and learn.” 

Marlayna Gallegos, YALC Member (She/Her)

Marlayna Gallegos is a sociology major and a member of TNOYS’ YALC. She believes that she is here on this Earth to make a difference for those who experience hardships in life. As someone who has experience with the foster care system, homelessness, and seeing a loved one struggle with drug addiction, she knows firsthand how strong an impact empathy can have on others. Her goals consist of serving, traveling, and entrepreneurship. For her, working with TNOYS’ YALC is a step toward her passion. Marlayna describes herself as “assertive and passionate for change” and “enjoys teamwork.”

Mary Duke, YALC Member (She/Her)

Mary Duke lives in Houston, TX, where she is currently working on her Bachelor’s in Music at Lone Star College. Her personal goals are to build habitual consistency and be efficient in her daily life. Mary’s professional goals include becoming a music therapist and music composer with the completion of her Bachelor’s and Doctorate degree in music. She also hopes to start her own music label one day. Her hobbies include listening to music, watching entertainment, and volunteering. 

Ronald Smith, YALC Member (He/Him)

Ronald Smith was born and raised in Houston, TX. For Ronald, growing up not having a voice made him realize his purpose in life is to help others find their own voice and realize the power that comes with it. Ronald also loves sports and math. He prays to make the same impact on youth as other supportive individuals have had on him growing up!

Sarah Duke, YALC Member (She/Her)

Sarah Duke was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s in Social Work. Sarah has been in and out of foster care for most of her life so she understands how youth in similar situations require fervent support. Sarah believes the youth of our future need the helping hand that she was afforded in order to continue this mission of peace and equity. In fact, one of her goals is to create better solutions for former foster youth who age out of care and experience homelessness. She joined TNOYS’ Young Adult Leadership Council program with the hopes of becoming an advocate for change and she is grateful to be included.

Thalia Aguilera, YALC Member (She/Her)

Thalia Aguilera was born and raised in Dallas, TX but is from El Salvador. A place where according to her “you eat a lot of pupusas.” Thalia works part-time at The Home Depot as a sales associate. The two long-term goals she looks forward to accomplishing in 2023 would be to purchase her dream car by 18 and to choose a career path to enhance her education even further.