“Above all things, I wish that thou may be prosperous and be in good health” 3 John 1:2
“Public health is the intersectionality of prevention, treatment, collaboration, and leadership; what other field allows you to combine these disciplines while addressing socially complex problems that will shape the health and well-being of this country?”
Darrin is the State Program Director of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids and the Associate Executive Director of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance. Darrin leads a statewide multidisciplinary team that advances changes to systems, environment, and public policy through strategic operations and planning, community and civic engagement, collaborations, financial development, communications, and program evaluation. He has fostered and continues to encourage youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility through his positions as co-chair of the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Task Force, member of the executive committee of the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network and Get Hype Philadelphia, advisory board of Active Living By Design and Governor’s Task Force on Comprehensive Cancer Control, former co-chair of the U.S. Region II Health Equity Council, and board member of the Advocates for Children of New Jersey.
Before joining the Y, Darrin was the Executive Director of the American Diabetes Association, State Health Alliance Director of the American Heart Association, and Clinical Exercise Physiologist at Christiana Care Health System’s Eugene DuPont Preventive Medicine & Rehabilitation Institute (Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation). He has served on the Governor’s Council on Lifestyle & Fitness (DE), Hope Commission (Special Task Force for Positive Youth Development & Violence Prevention (DE), and was Vice Chair of the Rotary Club of Wilmington, Delaware, Community Service Project.
A recipient of the University of Delaware Presidential Award for Minority Students, he received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in health and exercise science from University of Delaware and his doctorate from Temple University (Kinesiology) and is adjunct faculty at Springfield College and Richard Stockton University. Darrin’s research interest is in nonprofit leadership development, strategic initiatives, exercise science, and community-clinical linkages in chronic disease prevention with a focus on public policy, at-risk youth, and communities of low income.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
Walking/running, driveway basketball, playing baseball in the backyard, chasing after three boys!
“I chose a career in Public Health so I could be an advocate for children.”
Meredith manages youth programs, which includes coordinating and implementing the five-week soccer camp for 200 children in the City of New Brunswick. She also is responsible for School Based Youth Services. The program has steadily grown over the past seven years and currently includes seven schools, serving more than 1,000 New Brunswick students. She also is responsible for Parent Linking, Partnership for Healthy Kids and the Childcare Consortium.
Prior to joining New Brunswick Tomorrow, Meredith worked at the New Brunswick Housing Authority on the HOPE 6 Revitalization Grant; she created the Social Services Department within the agency. She also was an AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer with the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance in Boston. Meredith has a B.S in sociology and a B.A. in journalism from The College of New Jersey.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Jumping in the waves
“Everyone has the right to thrive — mentally, physically, emotionally and nutritionally. Let us provide people the opportunity to do so.”
Marissa convenes, connects and empowers Trenton stakeholders and residents to use policy, environment and system changes to create healthier places to live, work, eat and play. She serves as a regional coach to six NJ municipalities through the NJ Healthy Communities Network. Her work in Trenton has resulted in significant improvements throughout Trenton including two school playgrounds; salad bars in five schools; a Wellness Loop and a middle school workout room; the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market; policies for complete streets, district wellness, and faith-based wellness; walkability audits; the coordinated food pantry and healthy corner store initiatives; and the Trenton Healthy Food and Fitness Network, a collective impact initiative.
Prior to joining NJPHK, Marissa worked for Habitat for Humanity-Trenton, NJ, and the Red Clay Consolidated School District in Wilmington, DE.
Marissa has been certified as a Boundary Spanning Leader through the Center for Creative Leadership. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in women’s studies and Black American studies from the University of Delaware.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” - Proverbs 3:5-6
Mangos & figs
Playing with my kids
“I always loved the health field but knew that being a doctor or nurse wasn’t for me. I did, however, feel compelled to concentrate on improving the health of urban communities and communities of color because I grew up feeling like we lacked the basic health needs in my community like access to healthy foods, quality health care and safe, accessible places to play.”
Valeria provides leadership to the Get Healthy Camden initiative through the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and Camden Collaborative Initiative. Get Healthy Camden seeks to advance policy, systems and environmental changes that create equity and sustainability for a healthier Camden. Valeria’s work has resulted in the adoption of school wellness policies in the Camden City Public Schools and in several charter schools and childcare centers; a Breakfast-in-the-Classroom program for Camden City School District; and a joint-use agreement with the City of Camden for the use of physical activity in city parks. She has leveraged over $480,400 in grants to support Get Healthy Camden. Her work has been recognized with the “Best Collaborative Effort of the Year” Award from the NonProfit Development Center of Southern New Jersey.
In 2015, South Jersey Magazine named Valeria both Woman of the Year and an Exceptional Women Entrepreneur & Executive. The Camden County Board of Freeholders recognized her as a Sustainability Champion, and the South Jersey Young Professional Association awarded her the Angel of the Year Award. She also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Rutgers University and the Healthy Communities Partner Award from the Campbell Soup Company.
Valeria holds a B.S. in public health from Rutgers-New Brunswick Bloustein School of Public Planning and Public Policy and an M.S. in health education from St. Joseph’s University.
Peaches and grapefruit
Cabbage and tomatoes
Yoga, cross-country skiing
“When I was in college, I spent a summer volunteering at a clinic in Arequipa, Peru. Children who lived far up in the Andes were coming in with serious illnesses and permanent disabilities that could have been prevented by immunization. That is when I came to understand that prevention really is a basic human right.”
Janet provides technical assistance and coaching to local coalitions in eight north Jersey communities working to promote policy, systems and environmental changes to prevent chronic disease. She facilitates initiatives ranging from corner stores, farmers markets and buyers’ co-ops for local fruits and vegetables to changes in policy and practice in early care and education centers by providing policy-relevant research, connecting like-minded partners, troubleshooting challenges and nurturing innovation through candid feedback and brainstorming.
Previously, Janet was responsible for CDC-funded obesity prevention grants as an Obesity Prevention Specialist for the New Jersey Department of Health. She founded the community grants program that eventually became the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network. Earlier in her career, Janet was an independent consultant to philanthropy and public health clients and served as a Program Officer for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focusing on physical activity-friendly community environments, teen drinking prevention, and gun violence prevention.
Janet has a B.A. in history from Harvard University; an M.H.S. in international health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and an M.B.A. in management from The Wharton School of Business.
“Health is the greatest gift; contentment the greatest wealth; faithfulness the best relationship.”
“The YMCA has provided me with the opportunity to have a variety of positions over the past 20 plus years; some I loved and others not so much. But that flexibility to reinvent yourself to what is relevant for that YMCA’s community is very exciting to me. To know every day that you can have a positive impact on someone’s life or the community is deeply rewarding.”
Lisa works with leadership and staff to complete complex, high-level and confidential projects. She is a key liaison and representative to staff with internal and external stakeholders such as: schools, the community, professional organizations, associations, committees and workgroups. Lisa’s leadership has resulted in securing $2 million annually in federal, state and local grant awards from the Centers for Disease Control, the NJ Department of Health, the NJ Department of Education, the United Way, the YUSA, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Lisa is a recipient of the NJPHK recognition of service award.
Prior to assuming her current role, Lisa was Director of Operations/COO for the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA. In that capacity, she assisted in the design and implementation of the first Regional Family Fitness Center in Cumberland County.
Lisa has a B.S in business administration from Delaware Valley University and an M.S.in human service administration from Springfield College.