Raymond Ejiofor, MPH
Teaching Artist-Professional Dancer
Raymond holds a Masters of Public Health Policy from the University of Southern California, and he is a recipient of the prestigious Gates Millennium Fellowship. Raymond graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Decision Science and a double minor in Engineering Studies and Technology and Policy.
Raymond began his training under Judith Rhodes Calgary in Arlington, VA. While balancing academics and artistry, Raymond has danced with various choreographers including Dance Ezralow, Aszure Barton, Lula Washington, and Robert Battle. Also, Ejiofor has danced for artist: Pharrell Williams, Taylor Swift, Little Boots, Gerard Way, Fitz and the Tantrums and Daft Punk.
Paola Escobar, MFA
Paola Escobar is a Colombian artist who creates transcultural work that combines her Latin-American background with her personal interest in the flamenco tradition, African and Latin-American culture, and contemporary art. Escobar's work reflects on memory and cultural identity and deals with current issues of immigration, hierarchies of power, and cultural perception. Her work organically crosses formal boundaries that traditionally separate disciplines and styles, presenting a holistic perspective of the body that is able to move, speak, and produce sound. Escobar often uses eclectic movements in her choreography, juxtaposing flamenco and postmodern dance vocabularies. Escobar’s work happens in black boxes, site-specific locations, and galleries.
Escobar has toured and performed in Festivals in France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Brazil and Colombia as a company member of L’explose Danza Contemporanea and 34% Visibles Afro Contemporary Project. In 2005, Escobar received the Colombian National Award for her piece Flamenco 24 Horas. Since relocating to Florida in 2005 Escobar has worked as an independent artist for the local companies Bailes Ferrer, Siempre Flamenco, Ballet Flamenco La Rosa and the mixed-ability theater group Antiheroes. In 2015 Escobar’s film La Intrusa was selected for Miami Screen Dance 2015.
Escobar’s more recent choreographic works include Vio.graphy, The Cabuya Project, Red Dots-Black Holes, Port Capa, Point Fuga (2017), A House in the Air, Patillal, Portrait of Mother and Child, Shadow of my Shadow (2016), Abandoned Tracks, One, and La Princesa Aoi (2015).
Escobar obtained an MFA in Dance Choreography at CalArts in 2017, and her BFA in Dance (Summa cum Laude) at the University of Florida, 2012.
Awki Devine, BSN RN
Akwi was raised in Vancouver Canada and is a seasoned healthcare professional with over 14 years experience as an RN. She specializes in labor, delivery, postpartum, and lactation education. Akwi is also currently pursuing a Master's to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Her goals are to optimize health goals, awareness, and to improve well-being in the lives of the individuals and patients she readily engages. Akwi enjoys working with community-based initiatives that demonstrate high social impact and productive outcomes for those plagued by social-economic disparity.
Cambreisha Montgomery, MBA
Cambreisha leads CEF's marginalized youth community group at Eastlake Juvenile Hall, where many of our participants are victims of sex trafficking. Youth also experience frequent placement movement and support instability. Cambreisha brings advocacy and trauma informed mentorship through both individualized and group work with our mentee candidates. She is admired for her trustworthiness and demonstration of consistent weekly visits. Many youth have sought her advice on college entrance protocol, financial and career planning. Cambreisha is a graduate of Alabama State University, and she is pursuing her MBA degree with a concentration in Community Economic Development.
Dwayne Foster, BA
Dwayne Foster, a Detroit native, attended Oakland University obtaining his degree in theatre production and management. For almost nine years, Foster has been a lead facilitator and teacher for Center For The Empowerment of Families.(CEF) and now the newest addition to The Dance for Healing Project. He was recruited, trained and continues to be inspired and enlightened by the memory of CEF founder, Dr. Sharon Jacques–Rabb. Under CEF, Dwayne leads two of its programs dealing primarily with incarcerated male teens; Fatherhood-Songs of Our Fathers and Healthy Relationships.
Foster’s roots are in theatre television, marketing and promotions, beginning with the Press Relations Department of MTV Networks, followed by stops at Warner Brothers, Paramount Studios and the production company of celebrated film and television actor LeVar Burton.
Years on the road as a performer, stage manager (Raphael’s South American Tour), light designer (Club Med Resorts) and producer (David Whitfield’s Forgotten Treasures with Dorian Wilson and Marian Aalda) have resulted in Foster having extensive contacts in the entertainment industry both in front of and behind the camera. An effective communicator, his particular expertise includes sales, advertising, and promotions.
Christina Cooper was born and raised in the city of angels, otherwise known as Los Angeles, California. Christina grew up in very tough circumstances that have shaped her into the young woman she is today. From sleeping on floors, to living out a backpack, Christina has now grown to become an Actress, Award winning Movie Director, CEO of a hairline, Author, and Philanthropist at only 25 years old. She now uses the hustle she has developed through those difficult times to create her business and companies. She first started off with acting and has booked lead roles, including her role 'Crystal' in the "Never Heard" movie alongside Karrueche Tran & Lil Romeo (hitting theaters November 2018), and she also plays the role of 'Miko' on the new Emmy nominated "Dear White People" Netflix tv series. Acting has also lead Christina to get into Directing and Producing television to help generate more opportunities for women of color in the film & television industry. Christina has self produced her first series entitled “Blue Laces” and is being considered for a Daytime Emmy award nomination , making her the youngest mixed Jamaican and Asian producer to be considered in her category, in history. She is now directing her first feature film movie entitled "South Central Love" that will include many well known Los Angels rappers, singers and actors. She has also directed the movie “South Central Love” which had a successful theater run, and is now in the running for an Academy Award nomination. She has also created a magazine called Who'sNext magazine which is on shelves in select stores & newsstands right now, in addition to 2 self published books on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. Christina has a technique of business where she uses the profits from her books, hair care line & magazine sales to invest into her production company so that she can produce these film series and movies for people around the world. With this business technique, Forbes has nominated her as an entrepreneur for the “Forbes 30 Under 30” in 2019. Christina continues with her career to uplift young women of color and help young girls focus on a more positive path and let their creativity lead them to beautiful opportunities of success & independence! She is currently in the process of creating her own foundation to help & inspire the youth in urban communities worldwide!
Izell Watkins is a native of Michigan who resides currently in Glendale, CA. Mr. Watkins is pursuing his career in film, and he continues to participate in advocacy for youth facing challenges with trauma. Mr. Watkins works as a mentor for boys and girls through his work with Center for the Empowerment of Families and the Dance for Healing Project. He enjoys facilitating group exercises with the minor groups, and he does some document accountability management to meet grantor deadlines.
Still making much progress as a resilient role model for challenged youth, Izell recently wrote and filmed a short movie project with a led production company, he and he continues to provide mentorship services for marginalized children including foster youth, special needs children, and youth detained in LA County Juvenile Halls. Izell plans to pursue a BFA in Filmmaking.
Greta is a Los Angeles native, currently completing her final year at Bard College (in upstate New York) where she studies Human Rights and Dance. She is heavily involved on campus, heading two different clubs (and being a member of three more), working two jobs, and constantly rehearsing for some show or another. Despite her many interests and passions, she feels that some of the most important and inspiring moments she's had have taken place during the expressive arts workshops she facilitates at a boys juvenile detention in one of the neighboring towns. Over the past two years of volunteering there, she has formed close bonds with her students and has learned an incredible amount about the boys, the systems they function in, and how to help them create change in the future. Taking what she has learned from this experience, Greta plans to work with the Bard Prison Initiative now that she is of age.
Greta has been working with kids since she was a young one herself. Along with coaching children's gymnastics at The Klub whenever she is in LA, she has worked extensively with ENCOMPASS/The Western Justice Center training teachers to create bias free, inclusive classrooms and helping to teach children how to be good peer mediators. She has also worked as a co-choreographer for the Silverlake Children's Theater Group and has taught both dance and English to children in India and Mexico.
Growing up in such a diverse city, Greta absorbed any type of dance and movement she could get her hands on. She began with gymnastics, soccer, ballet and then later added jazz, hip-hop, various styles of modern, West African/Haitian dance, different types of Latin dance, and step at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and later at Bard College. Greta is extremely excited to be a part of the Dance for Healing team and can't wait to continue to teach, learn, and grow. She loves her experience working with the children/teens thus far!
Sanai excels as a 16 year old high school honor roll student attending Rancho Cucamonga High School. Over several years Sanai has performed competitively and gained recognition for many first place winnings. Managed by the Bloc Talent Agency, Sanai's goals are to pursue entrepreneurship studies and a business that involves dance performance and choreography.
Jennifer has uplifted herself from an oppressed childhood by taking AP and honors courses, working, and participating in sports at her high school – all while caring for her siblings at home. She believes in herself and plans for a career as a neurosurgeon. She wants to give back to the community where she lives by providing grants and resources for other youth who are growing up in challenging environments.
Jennifer’s motto is: “Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from accomplishing what you want in life. The only limit you have is the limit you place on yourself. Just keep moving forward.”