OUR STAFF TEAM
Loren comes to CAE with over 25 years of planning, leading and advocating for social justice initiatives in the US and internationally. She started her career in human rights, working for a grassroots women’s cooperative in Senegal and a United Nations/Organization of American States human rights mission in Haiti. As a cultural Anthropology graduate student, Loren partnered with a women’s cooperative in Ecuador to study the rise of women’s social power, uncovering a simultaneous rise in domestic violence.
Loren’s New York City based work includes running a family resource center demonstration project for immigrant moms in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which she developed with a team through a community planning process. More recently, Loren worked as Associate Vice President at United Way of New York City, focused on policy around poverty and social safety net issues, non-profit capacity building, and donor collaboratives for more integrated grantmaking. Loren has a BA in French from Brown University and has completed coursework at the University of Pittsburgh for her PhD .
Associate Director of Programs
Jewel joined CAE in 2015 as a Youth Coordinator. Jewel was born and raised in Brooklyn, East New York to Haitian Parents. She has her B.A from Bay Path University in Massachusetts where she was the President and Founder of The Black Student Association. She then went on to study Early Childhood Special Education at Adelphi University. Jewel brings passion & experience in engaging intersectional curriculum development and innovative youth group facilitation.
Jewel’s work experience has been with youth of all ages working as a Lead Preschool Teacher at Traditional Educational Center & a Teaching Artist for Hip Hop for Life in Brooklyn, and a Creative Writing Teacher for the Children’s Aid Society in the Bronx. Jewel is a passionate Social Justice Organizer for the rights of Women, Girls, Femmes and for the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community.
In 2017, she was given the HEART Award from the Metropolitan Community Church of New York for leading the way in making our city and world a safer, more just and inclusive place for LGBTQ people. She served as Black Youth Project 100’s NYC Chapter Co-Chair for two years and currently organizes with BlackOut Collective as well. She is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer and believes that Mental Wellness is key to combat systemic oppression and trauma. Jewel’s tireless advocacy for marginalized communities drives her work everyday.
Zola Z. Bruce MSSW
Associate Director of Communications and Impact
Zola is a social worker, activist and artist who focuses on helping people to create the life they want. Originally from Dallas, TX, they moved to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College to study psychology and sculpture, in addition they did a semester abroad with The School for International Training in Kingston, Jamaica where they studied Gender and Development. Zola received their Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2001. Afterwards they worked for 12 years in youth development with organizations including the Center for Family Life, McBurney YMCA, and the LGBTQ Center focusing on creating therapeutic art programs for youth and families. Internationally they started a nonprofit, Unified for Global Healing, where they developed grassroots community health initiatives in Haiti, Ghana, and India using the arts to communicate beyond language, class, and cultural barriers. Combining their experiences in art, activism, and social work, Zola is currently expanding their own creativity via writing and performance installations.
Rej Joo, Program Manager
With a degree in psychology and a M.P.H. from Columbia Mailman School, Rej has over 14 years of experience working with marginalized communities (LGBTQ homeless youth, HIV/AIDS-affected, TPOC, and those affected by mental illness) in the capacity of community education, case management, research, social service, and training curriculum development.
He is passionate about creating and providing culturally affirming training, grounded in cultural humility framework. He has been practicing martial arts for over 10 years, specifically in the discipline of Taekwondo and Hapkido, where he holds a black belt. He has two Redfoot tortoises and one day wishes to have a miniature pig or a rabbit.
Izzy Finkelstein, Program Coordinator – School & Community Violence Prevention
Izzy joined CAE as a social work intern in the fall of 2016. Izzy is passionate about building community and has worked in social justice youth development at schools, summer camps and community centers. Most recently, she worked to implement restorative justice programs and social justice projects at the Bushwick Educational Campus with Make the Road New York.
Before that, she was the Girls Leadership Instructor at the YWCA of the City of New York and a program leader at the Meadowood Neighborhood Center in Madison, WI. Izzy recently graduated with her MSW from Hunter College. A Park Slope, Brooklyn native, Izzy feels honored to join CAE’s long legacy of organizing to end violence, fight injustice and build community strength. When she is not at CAE, you can find her roaming Prospect Park with her chihuahua Bruse.
Serena joined CAE in January of 2018. Serena is experienced in the fields of development, communications and administration. She worked for the Rochester Public Library in Western New York for over three years, where she took over the duties and responsibilities of the former Office Manager who worked there for over 15 years .
Prior to joining CAE she worked at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A as an Administrative Assistant, where she provided client and staff support in the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic and helped plan and execute organization-wide events. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. John Fisher College in 2010.
In her spare time, she volunteers with BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100), and shares her spoken word poetry at open mics in Brooklyn.
Stevie Triano, Intermin Development Coordinator