United for Brownsville’s backbone staff support the local stakeholders at the heart of our work: the Family Advisory Board (FAB) and the Provider Action Team (PAT).
By reorienting the early childhood landscape around the strengths of families and service providers, we can create an environment in which infants and toddlers will thrive.
David is the proud father of two Brooklyn babies, which lends urgency and joy to his work as an early childhood nonprofit leader and problem-solver. He was one of two founding Co-Directors for United for Brownsville from 2018-2022, partnering with Kassa Belay on all aspects of the work until Kassa took the helm at UB’s sister organization, the Brownsville Partnership. David is influenced by the passionate advocates for racial equity and change whom he has partnered with in the community of Brownsville, as well as the data-driven, collaborative approach that Community Solutions brings to ending homelessness and other seemingly intractable issues.
Prior to UB, David was an Associate Director of Planning and Analytics for the NYC Department of Education, where he helped plan school rezonings and other projects that improved learning conditions for students in the Bronx and Queens. He has directed educational programs at a non-profit college preparatory organization for students from underserved populations, and he led fundraising and communications for a nonprofit bilingual school in Honduras. David hails from Hartford, CT, where he got his start working to make systems more accountable as a child plaintiff in the public schools racial desegregation lawsuit Sheff v. O’Neill. He has degrees from Grinnell College and Columbia University.
Early Intervention Ambassador
As the second EI Ambassador in UB, Danny is here to support the families and foster awareness of EI in the Brownsville Community, following the efficient foundation her colleague Aileen laid. Her goal is to advance equity in Early Intervention by bridging the gap between the amount of Brownsville EI referrals to citywide.
Previously, Danny has worked as a Crisis Paraprofessional supporting children with Individual Education Plans ( IEP) in EI and CPSE. This has given her invaluable experience with a wide array of student populations ranging from general education to special education, and 6:1:1 settings from preschool to high school. Danny has a Masters in Guidance and Counseling which opens the door for her to further collaborate with clinical teams to devise and implement FBA’s (Functional Behavior Assessments), BIP’s (Behavior Intervention Plans), BIP progress monitoring, and support a school-wide PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention System). Danny has co-chaired parent meetings in an effort to create a cohesive school/family community. She is also a mother whose son went through the EI referral process and currently receives services through CPSE. Danny witnessed firsthand how EI has helped her son’s development substantially and believes it’s a service that should be accessible to children with disabilities in every community.
Danny was born and raised in Brooklyn and was once a resident of Brownsville. It is purposeful for Danny to pour back into a community that once poured into her.
Her goal is to expand and nurture her skills as an advocate for children with disabilities and underserved communities so their voices are heard and they have the same access and participation to Early Intervention as their counterparts.
Provider Engagement & Access Manager
Ruth Horry is a community advocate, member of the Family Advisory Board (FAB), and former FAB Fellow for United for Brownsville. Her new role as Manager was formed to further the creation of community and efficiency in sharing resources and services amongst the FAB, Provider Action Team (PAT), and the communities we serve. Ruth is particularly interested in increasing families’ access to essential services for young children, such as daycare. Drawing on her experience leading work that increased sign ups for the 2021 Federal Child Tax Credit by 1200%, Ruth is designing new improvement projects to help families get the supports they need. She has dedicated the past 6 years to assisting the community and its members with changing the narrative of Brownsville by making their voices heard and creating a seat at the table. She is the proud mother of three beautiful girls, her oldest going on her third year in college, middle child in high school, and the youngest in kindergarten. Ruth is a small business owner and CEO of The Coco Pauline Company, a candle & body shop, where her passion is creating a space for women who look like her to thrive and have a platform to shine.
Deputy Director for Systems Change
Mica leads UB’s portfolio of systems to change projects, such as our efforts to help Black and Latinx children in Brownsville more equitably participate in Early Intervention. She focuses on moving the needle towards achieving racial and geographic equity in access to essential early childhood systems and services. Having attended K-12 schools in various Brooklyn neighborhoods contributes to some of the passion that she has for this work. Her background in education as well as research interests regarding economic mobility, specifically intergenerational mobility, and the way in which policies and educational institutions interact to impact mobility also serve as a motivating factor for Mica. Prior to UB, Mica served as an Assistant Dean at two universities in New York City and on Long Island where she focused on entrepreneurship as a catalyst for economic mobility as well as student academic success. She also serves as an adjunct professor where she teaches introductory and upper-level courses within the Psychology Department and helps students to understand various equity concerns within their fields. Mica has holds degrees from St. John’s University, Columbia University, and Fordham University where she completed her doctorate in Educational Policy.
Assistant Director of Applied Projects
Athenia leads and provides comprehensive support to Family Advisory Board members during the project ideation, planning, and implementation phases of innovative projects. Work under Athenia’s purview is designed to address early childhood service gaps and transform physical spaces in the community to better support child development. Athenia has been involved with UB since its inception, joining the FAB in 2018. She was elected by her peers to be the first FAB Fellow, a one-year part-time position that grew into a full-time role supporting FAB engagement. Athenia has a passion for providing platforms for other Black and Latinx residents in her community to speak their voice and advocate for themselves. When the covid-19 pandemic struck New York City in 2020 during her first days on the job, Athenia initiated information-gathering that turned into a year-long improvement project to help social service providers and families access essential services, benefits, and information during the most acute phases of the pandemic. Prior to UB, Athenia spent 20 years organizing community events that promote small businesses and help residents of Central Brooklyn access vital resources. The centerpiece of this work is her annual Juneteenth celebration, which has allowed her to build relationships with elected officials, city agencies, and community partners to bridge service gaps. Athenia is a proud mother to three children and an avid supporter of their schools. Her volunteer work on school boards and as the lead orchestrator across the Success Academy network gives her broad insight to the needs and concerns of parents and educators across the community. She graduated from Middlebury College.
Ashanti Walker is a member of the Family Advisory Board (FAB) and our new FAB fellow. She is very passionate about her community service work that she does mainly in the Brownsville and in the ENY community. She was born and raised in East New York (ENY), Brooklyn and is a proud Mother of 3 beautiful children. She wholeheartedly believes “Our culture is our cure and that our life is our curriculum”- Queen Taese. Ashanti graduated from Ashford University with a BA in Early Childhood Education. She is currently in a homeschooling certification course with Liberated Minds Hueniversity where she will be certified as a powerful, professional and proficient homeschooler under the tutelage of Queen Taese and Mama Major.