"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away".
Toni Morrison once said “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” That is what we intend to do here at I was 16 Yesterday Wellness Center. Write a book on how young adults are to be served! As we have yet to read a book quite like this. We invite you to come along with us, on this amazing journey for youth and young adults to experience how this book will come into fruition.
Growing-up I was part of the NYC Foster Care system. I often questioned my self-worth. I attempted suicide at the age of 16. After this unsuccessful attempt I met a mentor who would forever change my life. My mentor took me under his wing and taught me that I had value, and how to advocate for myself. Homeless, and broken he immediately referred me to a Shelter in Manhattan that had wrap around services for homeless youth. This was the decision that changed the trajectory of my life. While living at this Shelter I became the front desk intake/receptionist. At the age of 16 I witnessed first-hand youth, and young adults who shared my same story. The same story of feeling worthless, and unstable. It was in that moment that I decided I wanted to be a part of changing their lives. My goal in the beginning was to give out daily affirmations to each young person that came into the Shelter. What I didn’t realize is how my life would be shifted. The more I gave of myself to the service of others, was the more it was instilling courage inside of me to step out on faith and trust. This is when I knew I found my gift. This is when I knew I could become a role model which could lead young adults to positive self-efficacy. I have been volunteering and working in direct care with young adults for the past 35 years. I encourage each young adult that comes across my path to find their gift and once found they must give it away. One of my favorite quotes that I share with the young adults comes from Oprah Winfrey: You are worthy simply because you were born.
Build loving, caring relationships within our Young Adults, and the community we serve
Commit to programs and resources for Young Adults
Provide an atmosphere conducive to learning and creativity for our Young Adults
Encourage a spirit of collaboration among churches, Schools, parents and Young Adults
Value the uniqueness of each Young Adults while meeting their individual needs
Meet Young Adults where they are
Our vision is that all young adults, from a variety of backgrounds including, but not limited to ability, class, gender-identity, sexual orientation, race, religion will have access to quality services that are tailored to the individual and creates new opportunities to promote personal growth, incorporating homeopathic therapy and traditional therapy practices, promoting academic success, career development/employment, potential housing placements, linkage to Medicaid/healthcare providers, while linking young adults to resources, connected learning opportunities through coaching and mentoring.
Board of Directors
Rhonda Hendrickson Assistant Principal at Park Slope Collegiate in Brooklyn New York. NYC Public Educator for over 20 years. Facilitator of Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education. Advocate for social justice with emphasis on the LGBTQ+ Community. Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology from The City College of New York. Master’s Degree in Education from Brooklyn College. Professional Certification in Leadership from Bank Street College. Born in Trinidad, raised in Brooklyn.
Rev. Susan "Sue" A. Webley
Rev. Susan “Sue” A. Webley (She/Her/Hers) is an advocate for the traumatized, ostracized, villainized, and stigmatized. She is the editor of the anthology At the Table: Words of Faith, Affirmation, and Inspiration for LGBT Believers of Color (ISBN 9780615820774), created to bring messages of hope, love, acceptance, reconciliation, and restoration to those rejected for walking in their authenticity.
Rev. Sue’s mission in life is to help young people - particularly those who exist on the margins - realize their purpose, tap into their Divine-given potential, and embrace their power. Ordained to the Gospel ministry in 2016, she is an Associate Pastor and the Pastor of Youth and Young Adults at Rivers of Living Water Ministries, UCC. There, she serves youth and young adults primarily and the congregation overall, under the leadership of Senior Pastor,
Bishop-Elect Vanessa M. Brown. Rev. Sue is also the National Minister ofYouth and Young Adult Ministries for The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM), led by Presiding Prelate Bishop Yvette A. Flunder. Radical inclusivity and the intentional creation of open and affirming spaces are at the core of Rev. Sue’s belief system and work. As such, she sits on the boards of two faith-based organizations: LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, an advocacy and educational organization designed to “oppose discrimination, exclusion, or intimidation of LGBT persons in church communities,” and Parity, formed to assist congregations and faith organizations in becoming more LGBTQIA sensitive and celebratory.”
Rev. Sue’s passion for service also informs her entrepreneurial spirit. As the founder of Kara Solutions, LLC, she provides key administrative, production, and tech services for individuals, faith-based and community-based organizations, helping them navigate a new virtual reality heralded by the Covid-19 shutdown in 2020. Through her heart-led initiative, Encourage. Empower. Educate.TM Rev. Sue strives - by using motivational quotes, videos, workshops, and more - to assist individuals in releasing the issues that serve as an anchor to mediocrity.
Recently, Rev. Sue received the 2021 Pride in the Pulpit Award for her work in ministry and community, bestowed by the Mid-Manhattan Branch LGBTQ Committee of the NAACP. She is currently a student at Chicago Theological Seminary, finishing a Master of Divinity degree, and is in the process of compiling additional installments of the At the Table series along with penning a more personal work, Pushing Past You: From Limitation to Liberation, scheduled for release in Winter 2021.
She resides in East Orange, NJ.
Julio Reyes is a Vice President and Senior Branch Manager at HSBCBank in New York City. He leads teams to drive business performancethrough acquisition, coaching, business development, and retention ofcustomer relationships. Julio has grown his career in over a decade as abanking professional. He earned his AA in Business Administrationfrom Borough ofManhattan Community College and his BBA inBusinessAdministrationwithaConcentrationinFinancefromthe CityUniversity of New York – Herbert H. Lehman College. He is FINRAlicensed SIE, 6, 7 & 63, as well as a life insurance licensed agent in thestate of NY. Born in Spanish Harlem and raised in The Bronx, Julio isthe proud father offour and spends his downtime enjoying nature,festivalsandexercise.
Steffi Jean-Jacques is a Staff Attorney at Youth Represent, a nonprofit legal services organization that provides zealous advocacy and representation to youth ages 16-24 in NYC. She currently leads the Record Review Center (RRC) project, which focuses on providing support to immigration attorneys and advocates with clients impacted by both the immigration and criminal justice systems. Prior to working at Youth Represent, Steffi was a NAACP Law Fellow where she worked with civil rights attorneys on relevant issues concerning economic justice, education, housing, voting rights, and criminal justice. Steffi received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School where she spearheaded numerous student-led programs that focused on bringing awareness to the systematic plights suffered by minority communities entangled within various legal systems. She has consistently demonstrated her interest in racial justice and public interest law through her experiences working with non-profit organizations and government officials that are dedicated to the pursuit of true social equity. Steffi also graduated from the University at Albany Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Criminal Justice and Sociology. She is a proud native of Brooklyn, NY and a descendant of Haitian parents.