IMG_1175Salimi Akill, Resident Assistant, was born and raised in Accra, Ghana. Growing up in Ghana, Salimi observed the talent and brilliance amongst the less privileged youth who were deprived the opportunity to explore their potential to its fullest. They could not afford quality education, thus having very little to no set of outlets providing opportunities for growth and development. Most of these children and teenagers inevitably ended up on the streets as hawkers exposed and vulnerable to hunger, child exploitation and early marriage. Salimi was filled with empathy and concern. This motivation propelled her to complete her education and training needed to be better equipped to promote social change in deprived communities.

She has over five years experience working as a Creative Director in an eminent Advertising Agency in Ghana. In 2011, she received full scholarship from Savannah College of Arts and Design(SCAD) to pursue her B.F.A in Fashion Design. At SCAD, she took on various leadership positions as a Resident Assistant, Community Assistant and was later promoted to work as a Summer Programs Coordinator. These opportunities gave her a wealth of experience in working with children, teenagers and families from all walks of life as well as parents and teachers. She also served her community by volunteering with Atlanta Dream Center empowering broken communities through the word and love of God. After graduation from SCAD, she had the opportunity to pursue an internship with a high-end couture brand Marchesa which thereafter turned into a job. After working in the fashion industry for a while, she knew she wasn’t fulfilling her true calling from God, which is to use her talent and design abilities to empower women and the youth in deprived communities to succeed and become self-sufficient. This shift in thinking moved her to pursue her M.F.A in Design for Social Innovation(DSI) at the School of Visual Arts. At DSI, she had the opportunity to work for ZanaAfrica, a non-profit organization empowering less privileged women and young girls through Menstrual/Reproductive Health Education in Nairobi, Kenya. She also created a support group named after a young homeless youth, providing him with a reliable community and support system.

Viviana CamachoViviana Camacho, Parent Assistant, has abundant experience caring for children and elderly in various settings. She has been trained and certified as a NYC Foster Parent. She completed studies at Hostos Community College in 2016 and is a Certified Nursing Assistant, with clinical experience at Bronx Lebanon Rehabilitation and experience as a receptionist at South Bronx Dialysis Center. She additionally holds CPR certification from the American Health Association. This medical knowledge will be an asset as Viviana cares for our residents and their children. She lives out her faith daily in a tangible way and is very transparent with her love for the Lord. Viviana is responsible, caring, and attentive with the gift to interact with children in a way that draws them out and makes them feel loved. She is the strong mother to three children.  

Amber ChurnBorn and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Amber Churn, Guidance Counselor, has had extensive training and leadership experience in the mental health field.

Amber received her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a focus on family studies from Georgia State University. In 2015, she completed continuing education in ministry leadership, focusing on urban outreach, missions, theology, and Biblical counseling. She has since worked as a Children’s and Youth Director for a church in Decatur, GA.

Over the years, Amber has enjoyed volunteering with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Turning Point Homes, and the Dream Center of Atlanta. In addition, she has traveled to India, Australia, and Honduras for international missions.

God recently called Amber to New York City with a purpose to restore families. Amber has been serving as a counselor in crisis pregnancy centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. During this work, she has successfully aided hundreds of young women in employment, material provisions, and social and spiritual growth. As an advocate for life, Amber believes in encouraging young mothers to become independent and successful. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with the vision to see all families healthy and thriving. In the coming years, she is excited to use her calling to advance the mission of Expect Hope.

1401760_758326784183730_235687974_oKeyla Marte, Resident Assistant, has worked with refugees and girls with special needs, implementing and conducting group therapy sessions to address severe social, emotional, and behavioral problems. She is also an experienced Resident Assistant, having held this position in a dormitory setting at Daemen College in Amherst, NY.

Keyla was the former President of her campus’ Sister to Sister women’s empowerment in which she was responsible for organizing events to raise awareness, fundraise, and promote women’s empowerment. She understands every woman’s need to have a safe, Christ-centered community that will help to meet her material, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Keyla believes the best way Expect Hope can meet the needs and serve women is by putting biblical principles into practice. The gospel reminds women that they are loved, safe and supported. She wants to build trust with each woman through various activities and daily interaction. This trust is foundational to ensure that every woman feels safe and comfortable. Keyla seeks to daily remind the residents that Expect Hope is a place where they will not meet condemnation, but receive the love of Christ.

Keyla has a strong willingness to grow and be challenged in her faith and personal development. Through serving the residents of Expect Hope she knows that she will learn from these experiences and allow the Holy Spirit to move.