YDI's team consists of well-respected professionals in the youth development field. Our staff is knowledgeable, committed and experienced in building the capacity of staff and agencies to provide quality services to youth. They come to this work with extensive experience in direct service and technical assistance, as well as diverse backgrounds in education, social work, evaluation and organizational development. Staff areas of expertise include youth development, program assessment and implementation, group work, behavior management, coaching, facilitation, curriculum development, organizational development and leadership development.
Sabrina Evans-Ellis, Executive Director
Sabrina Evans-Ellis is a youth development and organizational development specialist who has provided technical assistance to nonprofit agencies for the past 18 years. Her experience in the field includes direct service, program administration, leadership and management training, strategic planning and fund development. Sabrina rejoined YDI in 2012, 10 years after serving as YDI's Director of Beacons Technical Assistance. Sabrina's previous positions also include: Senior Consultant at the Community Resource Exchange; Director of Out-of-School-Time Professional Development at Ramapo for Children; Deputy Director of Youth and Education Services for the St. Nick's Alliance; and faculty member at The Institute for Non Profit Management at the Columbia University School of Business. Sabrina holds a Master's Degree in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lawrence Aaron, Communications Specialist
Lawrence Aaron has spent his professional life working as a reporter, writer, and editor. In his early career he was a radio and television news reporter as well as a newsroom manager and assignment editor. As an editor at Gannett newspapers he managed people and projects for many years. His work producing business and real estate publications for the Gannett Westchester/Rockland division earned him a prestigious Gannet Chairman's Award. And later after starting out as an assignment editor at The Record, he began writing a column three times a week on social issues related to public policy. Since leaving daily journalism, Lawrence has used his writing skills to teach as an adjunct professor, to work as the deputy director of communications for a New York city council member, and to serve under AmeriCorps as a college mentor. With the objective of helping youth in under-served environments move through the maze of college application requirements, Lawrence gained an appreciation for the other hurdles they have to overcome. His experiences working with kids lend themselves well to the mission of YDI. Lawrence has taught communications and journalism as an adjunct. He also volunteered for many years as an ESL teacher. Lawrence holds an undergraduate degree in history from Columbia College and a master's in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Dennis Carter, Director, Community Youth Development
Dennis Carter began his career in youth development as a counselor with Phipps Neighborhoods (formerly Phipps Community Development Corporation) where he managed an open gym program for neighborhood boys in the South Bronx. After eight years with two branches of service, he was Honorably Discharged and returned to Phipps as a Leadership Specialist for a newly formed Youth Council. Since then, Dennis has held a variety of management roles in youth development, including rising to Executive Director at Directions For Our Youth, and has worked with juvenile justice associated organizations such as the NYC Departments of Probation and Corrections and The Osborne Association. Dennis' consulting work over the last 15 years includes training, coaching and providing technical assistance to community-based organizations across New York City. In his current role as Director of Community Youth Development, Dennis provides support to the participants of the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council and the 10 regional councils they represent. He also works with organizations such as the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation on program design and The Osborne Association's I-CAN program. Dennis grew up in the Bronx and is dedicated to supporting the development of young people and the communities they live in. He continues to support Bronx student-athletes as a basketball coach for the Frederick Douglas Academy III Lions and the NY Metro Flyers amateur athletics program. Dennis holds a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Social Sciences from the College of New Rochelle.
Karen Mahler, Psy.D., Director, Strategy and Innovation
Karen Mahler has worked with youth-serving and youth-focused organizations for more than 25 years. A psychologist by training, she began her career in direct service, working with young people in hospital, community and school settings. In post-doctoral training at Columbia University's HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies Karen was part of the team that established the efficacy of Street Smart as an evidence-based HIV prevention intervention for youth. She went on to serve as Director of Communications at Planned Parenthood of New York City and as the Director of Policy and Planning at CASES. For the last 15 years Karen has run her own consulting firm, Decode Consulting, helping organizations plan and fund innovative programming, monitor the impact of their work and communicate effectively with stakeholders. Karen joined YDI in March 2016 to help the organization plan new initiatives, document the impact of its work and develop and sustain strategies to move the organization forward. Karen holds a Psy.D. in School-Clinical Child Psychology from Pace University and a Bachelor's Degree in the Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.
Theodore Phillips, Lead Trainer and Consultant
Theodore began his career in community organizing and youth work as a college undergraduate. Due to Theodore’s personal passion and interest in politics and government, he encouraged young people to be civically engaged. As a Program Manager in the Department of Adolescent services, at the Police Athletic League, his work was focused on preparing young people for their futures through college preparation and exploration, work readiness and life skills. He served as the center director of the Edward Byrne PAL Center in South Jamaica, Queens. Theodore then became a Field Director supervising multiple sites across NYC and served as co-chair of PAL’s Training and Development Committee. In his role as the Lead Trainer and Consultant at the Youth Development Institute, Theodore provides training and consultation for non-profit and government contracts. He holds a BA in Political Science from Iona College.
Pardeice Powell McGoy, Director, Young Adult Initiatives
Pardeice Powell McGoy has 25 years of experience working with youth and adults across multiple settings as a youth development trainer. Pardeice has worked as a consultant for the Youth Development Institute, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, and Ramapo for Children. Pardeice has provided capacity building to major initiatives including New Visions for Public Schools, New Century High Schools, the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development Beacon Programs, the NYC Department of Education, and the US Department of Labor. In her current role, Pardeice provides capacity building support to community organizations and city agencies across New York City, including programs supported by the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Department of Probation, and the Center for Economic Opportunity. Pardeice provides capacity building support in the areas of youth development, supervision and leadership, case management, social group work, work readiness, building school-CBO partnerships and post-secondary readiness. Pardeice holds a Master's Degree in Education from Brooklyn College and a Bachelor's Degree from SUNY New Paltz.
Paola Rodriguez, Office Manager
Paola Rodriguez first joined YDI as the Events Coordinator in 2012 before becoming the Office Manager. She was a math and science educator for nearly a decade in her home country of Colombia and more recently worked in restaurant management and sales in New York City. Paola is responsible for organizing and supporting the logistics of all YDI trainings, events and conferences. In addition to this, she oversees all of YDI's monthly invoicing and operational tasks. Paola holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry from the Universidad Santiago de Cali in Colombia and an Associate's Degree in Administrative Assistant from LaGuardia Community College.