Lawanda Ravoira, D.P.A., is a national expert, author, researcher, and trainer on issues specific to justice-involved girls and young women. She is founding director of NCCD's Center for Girls and Young Women in Jacksonville, FL, which launched the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's National Girls Institute (NGI). NGI provides a range of training, technical assistance, and resources to state, tribal, community, and private organizations that serve at risk and delinquent girls. Lawanda is leading the development and implementation of this national resource.
She authored the Girl Matters®: Training of Trainers Curriculum that is used as the cornerstone for teaching professionals about the core building blocks for a gender-responsive continuum of services. She also co-authored the SAVVY Sister curriculum, which is a resource for professionals to use in providing individual counseling, care management, and psycho-educational groups for girls and young women in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems.
For over 13 years, Lawanda served as the president and CEO of PACE Center for Girls, Inc., a statewide not-for-profit organization that provides gender-responsive, comprehensive educational, therapeutic, and transitional support services to 4,500 at risk girls annually. Under her leadership, 96% of the girls who exhibited risk factors for criminal activity remained crime-free.
She has served as an advisory board member, Jacksonville Community Fund, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, Community Building Initiative since 1999 and serves on the executive committee of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association. She was the founding chair of the National Girls Caucus, State of Florida Girls Advisory Council, and the First Coast Girls' Initiative.
Lawanda holds a doctorate in public administration, a master's degree in allied health, and a bachelor's degree in sociology.
Barbara Guthrie, R.N, Ph.D., F.A.A.N. is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Tenured Professor at the Yale School of Nursing (YSN). Her nursing education began at Howard University's Freedmen Hospital School of Nursing where she received a diploma in nursing, and continued to earn a bachelor's in nursing from Boston University, a master's of science in nursing (Family Health) from Duquesne University, and a Ph.D. from New York University School of Nursing. In the past, Dr. Guthrie held a dual appointment at the University of Michigan as Associate Professor in the Division of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction and in Women Studies. There, Dr. Guthrie also was Director for Undergraduate Traditional and Non-Traditional Nursing Programs, Associate Director of the NIH-funded Women's Health Disparities Interdisciplinary Training Grant, Associate Faculty Researcher in James Jackson's Program for Research on Black Americans and . a member of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender's and the Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center's Executive committees. During her tenure at the University of Michigan, Dr. Guthrie conducted one of the first cross-sectional ethnic and gender responsive theory-driven substance use research studies that examined the dynamic nexus of how race, gender, class, relations, and environmental contexts influence adolescent female's parallel or co-initiation of substance use /abuse and sexually-related behaviors.
Her current research examines the intergenerational influences, behaviors, and patterns of contact with criminal justice systems between women and their children and especially their daughters. Her publications enhance understanding of the intersectional influences of ethnicity, social position, educational level, daily hassles, and perception of racism and discrimination on African American girls' health and wellbeing. She also has published several articles on girls' health as a socially embedded process influenced by contact with the juvenile justice system including Girls in the Juvenile Justice System: Leave No Girl's Health Un-addressed in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing; and Toward a Gender and Ethnic Responsive Restorative Correctional Healthcare Model in Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing.
Dr. Guthrie lives out the mission of Yale by working to increase diversity and promote health equity for all irrespective of race, gender, age, educational attainment, social position, and/or history of incarceration.
Dr. Guthrie has served as a member of many local, state, and national health advisory boards on adolescent females and is currently a member of the NIH's National Institute of Nursing Research Advisor Council and of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the "Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States."
Malika Saada Saar is the Executive Director of Human Rights Project for Girls, a new effort focused on the human rights of vulnerable girls in the U.S. She also co-founded and was the executive director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, a policy and advocacy organization for women and families. At Rebecca Project, Malika led the effort to shut down Craigslist sex ads that served as the leading site for the trafficking of children for sex, ended the federal practice of shackling pregnant mothers behind bars in U.S. prisons, and successfully advocated for millions in federal funding for treatment services for at-risk families. Newsweek and the Daily Beast have named Malika as one of "150 Women Who Shake the World."
Ms Terri Yellowhammer is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Lakota Tribal Nation. She has an extensive background in human services, having practiced as an assistant attorney general for the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General and as a legal aid attorney for the Indian Child Welfare Law Center, where she represented parents involved in child protection. She also held a state level position in administrative law for the Minnesota Department of Human Services' Division of Licensing. In this capacity she reviewed administrative actions affecting persons working in state licensed programs serving individuals receiving residential treatment, foster care and nonresidential treatment and habilitation.
Ms. Yellowhammer's most recent position was with the Minnesota Department of Human Services where she was the state's policy consultant on the Indian Child Welfare Act, a position which involved working collaboratively with representatives from Minnesota's eleven American Indian tribal governments as well county social workers and attorneys. She has been a guardian ad litem specializing in ICWA cases, and was an associate Judge with the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.
Ms. Yellowhammer holds an undergraduate degree from St. Catherine University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.
The Obama White House selected Ms. Saada Saar to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights.
Ms. Saada Saar holds a B.A. from Brown University, M.A. in Education from Stanford University, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children.
Professor Sherman is a Visiting Clinical Professor at Boston College Law School where she has been teaching Juvenile Justice for the past twenty years and where she founded and directs the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project. She speaks and writes widely about the juvenile justice system and, in particular, about girls in the justice system. She has testified before Congress, served on the U.S. Department of Justice National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women focusing on children and teens victimized by domestic violence and sexual assault, and was recently appointed to the Advisory Board of OJJDP's National Girls Institute. She is the author of Detention Reform and Girls, a volume of the Pathways to Detention Reform series published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (2005) and Making Detention Reform Work for Girls: Practice Guide #5 (forthcoming Annie E. Casey, 2012). Her most recent book, entitled Juvenile Justice: Advancing Research, Policy and Practice (Wiley & Sons), was published in September 2011 and her most recent article, Justice for Girls: Are we Making Progress? was published in August, 2012 in the UCLA Law Review. She is an ongoing consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative on strategies to reduce the detention of girls nationally, and regularly consults with national and local foundations and systems on issues related to girls in the justice system. Professor Sherman was the Principal Investigator of the Massachusetts Health Passport Project (MHPP) and is Co-Founder and President of the Board of Artistic Noise, Inc., with branches in New York and Boston; both are programs working with youth in the justice system.
A firm believer in the power and potential of all girls and young women, Jeannette Pai-Espinosa assumed leadership of The National Crittenton Foundation (TNCF) in January of 2007. Jeannette brings to this 129-year-old institution more than thirty years of experience in advocacy, education, intercultural communication, public policy, strategic communication, program development, and direct service delivery.
Jeannette began her career as a vocal advocate and activist for issues of importance to girls and women in the early seventies, working to open doors and address gender bias. Today, she leads TNCF, which is the national umbrella for the 27 members of the Crittenton family of agencies, which provides services in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Crittenton agencies provide a comprehensive mix of gender and culturally responsive, trauma informed and specific, age appropriate, strength-based services to girls and young women who live on the margin of the American dream. Services are provided in a range of settings from residential to in-home and community based.
Prior to coming to The Foundation, Jeannette was a partner for nearly ten years at Metropolitan Group, an award-winning social change agency specializing in serving social-purpose organizations and businesses. Much of her work focused on creating collaborative approaches to compelling social issues such as poverty, racial and gender disparities in educational outcomes, the disproportional representation of children and youth of color in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and bias crimes.
Additionally, Jeannette has experience as senior policy staff for Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts, the director of human rights commission for Portland, Oregon; the founder and executive director of a nonprofit middle and high school-level alternative school; as a university administrator; and as a board member of numerous organizations. She is currently vice chair of the National Foster Care Coalition. Jeannette holds a master's degree in student development and education administration.
Danielle 'Dani' De Land: My mother was my angel and my life began to unravel when she got sick and passed away. My father's abuse began when I was very young. However, after my mother died, my father became more and more severely physically abusive.
I went to live with my aunt at the age of 12, and my two younger sisters went to live with other relatives. At age 13, my life became more complicated. I was diagnosed with major depression and was placed in a facility for 45 days. After that I went to live with other relatives, but the situation didn't work out. I was, against my objections, placed back with my father, my abuser. By this time I was an angry 14-year-old. My dad was dating a woman who didn't like me and didn't want to deal with me. There was drinking, drugs and I was not coming home at night, sleeping instead on friends' porches or behind bakeries to stay warm.
One night, about 6 months after being forced to return to my father's home, while out running wild, I crossed paths with some guys who had no good intentions for me. I was drugged and raped. I finally told my father what happened a few days later. He was...less than supportive and later that week, in a completely different situation aside from being sexually assaulted, my father ended up beating me so severely that I went to school and told a school counselor what had happened, and that I wanted to kill myself. At that point in time, life for me was a prison and I truly did not want to be here anymore. So, for the sake of brevity, I was once again taken from the home and placed in a psychiatric unit. While in the hospital, I flourished. I started taking the techniques they were teaching me and using them. By this time, my dad had given up all rights to me except for medical authorization for treatment.
Since I was better but it was obvious I shouldn't-or couldn't-return home, I was given the option of going to a group home. I moved into The Crittenton Home in Jackson, MI, where I went from a failing student to the top of my senior class. I was there from ages of 14 to 17. I learned to be a whole and healthy person with their SUPPORT and SERVICES.
I got my life together. I went to school for broadcasting and was a morning show news anchor on a local radio station, started teaching fitness classes and started competing in amateur bodybuilding contests. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that without the structure, without the support, without the life skills that were taught to me by all of the staff at The Crit, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Crittenton Services truly saved my life.
Withelma "T" Ortiz Walker Pettigrew is a survivor leader and advocate. From the ages of 10-17, T survived being subjected to commercial sexual exploitation here in the United States, through Domestic Human Trafficking. T now uses her lived experiences to teach, lead, and educate on needed reforms to systems and existing services that often interface with youth who have been sexually victimized including the child welfare, juvenile justice and mental health systems. T has spoken at many venues including Georgetown Law School, The TriBeca Film Festival, and the U.S. Senate. She has testified before members of Congress, and shared her story on a national level as one of GLAMOUR Magazine's 2011 Women of the Year. T currently serves on The National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council and is a Young Woman Leader and Member of the Board of Directors for the Human Rights Project for Girls Based in Washington, D.C. Her efforts are ongoing and continual, as she recently kicked off her College Campaign (TGoesToCollege2013) in an article by Nick Kristof in the New York Times Online and most recently was recognized by the Los Angeles County Probation Department for her local and national work. T also serves daily as a motivational mentor to other girls who have been similarly forced into modern day slavery.
Pamela F. Rodriguez is president of TASC, Inc. of Illinois, a statewide, nonprofit agency that provides independent case management for people with substance use and mental health conditions. TASC serves approximately 20,000 adults and youth each year who are referred by Illinois courts, corrections, and child welfare systems. Ms. Rodriguez has co-authored several journal articles on health care and addiction recovery in criminal justice and juvenile justice systems.
In national policy leadership, Ms. Rodriguez was appointed in 2007 to serve as a practitioner member of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an independent organization in the U.S. executive branch that coordinates all federal juvenile delinquency prevention and detention programs. She serves as Texas Christian University's criminal justice partner on the national Criminal Justice-Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS) Steering Committee.
In Illinois, Ms. Rodriguez is active on numerous boards and task forces focused on increasing alternatives to incarceration, improving juvenile justice, and decreasing the disproportionate incarceration of people of color. Among these are Redeploy Illinois, which supports local efforts to offer community-based alternatives to incarceration for juvenile offenders; the Illinois Risk, Assets and Needs Assessment (RANA) Task Force, of which she is chair of the advisory group; and the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, of which she is co-chair of the Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee.
Ms. Rodriguez earned her master's degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.