Elana Rosenberg, Executive Director
After growing up in Kentucky, Elana moved to Rhode Island in 2007 and began working at YPI as the GSA Network and Programming Coordinator. In that role, she organized center programming, provided professional development to Rhode Island school educators and administrators, and managed the statewide GSA Network for five years. After a three-year stint as a member of the Community Investment team at United Way of Rhode Island, Elana returned to YPI in November 2017, to become the organization’s 6 th Executive Director. She holds a BA in sociology from Smith College and a MS in College Student Personnel from Miami of Ohio University. When she’s not hard at work at YPI, you can find Elana practicing with her dog for agility competitions or hiking in the woods.
Elana can be reached at Elana@youthprideri.org
Originally from Rhode Island, Melissa attended undergraduate at Northeastern University where she majored in journalism and political science. After working in multiple systems in Massachusetts pertaining to youth she decided to get her Master’s degree in Social Work from Simmons College. She has a post masters fellowship in Psychosocial Rehabilitation from the Psychology department of the VA Hospital in Bedford, MA. She’s also pursuing getting certified as a personal trainer and enjoys biking long distance and working out (an amateur boxer with USA Boxing). Her dog Pete is a certified emotional support animal and is always by her side. She worked at the Los Angeles LGBT Center advocating and overseeing LGBTQ adult services, worked in Calcutta, India to help stop human trafficking and loves advocating and contributing to bringing positive systemic change to marginalized groups. Melissa came to YPI to continue advocacy and services for the marginalized LGBTQ youth population.
Melissa can be reached at Melissa@youthprideri.org
When not at YPI, Jesus works with the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island. There he serves as the Youth Leadership Director where he educates and mobilizes youth to fight toxic infrastructure in their communities. Jesus is also a part of several committees and has been invited to multiple conferences. Through DARE, Jesus is a part of the national alliance Right to the City which campaigns for fair housing. He is also a part of the national group called Beyond the November Movement, also known as Black Youth Project 100 which is a group dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people though transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy, and political education using a Black queer feminist lens.
Jesus can be reached at Jesus@youthprideri.org.
Dev is a fairly new Rhode Islander, having moved here from Westchester, New York where they grew up. They went to Kenyon College in Ohio where they earned a bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing. After college, they did a year of service with City Year Providence, where they served at Pleasant View Elementary School with an incredible class of fourth graders. Dev came to Youth Pride because they are proud of their intersecting queer identities, and after spending a year working with Providence youth, they were so excited to put their passions together. YPI seemed like the perfect place to do that. They are passionate about good stories, D&D, hiking, and dogs.
Dev can be reached at Dev@youthprideri.org
Tiffani grew up in Providence and received her double major in Psychology and Health Studies from the University of Rhode Island in 2017. Prior to YPI, Tiffani worked at the University of Rhode Island’s Gender and Sexuality Center as Building Manager where she gained great insight and understanding of the LGBTQ community and its unique needs. Outside of work, Tiffani can be found reading horror novels, painting, relaxing outside, or working on graphic design projects!
Tiffani can be reached at: Tiffani@youthprideri.org
Molly Heller, LICSW Clinician/Counselor
Molly Heller is a social worker with a special interest in working with underserved populations. She grew up in Connecticut, received her Masters degree from Simmons School of Social Work, and relocated to Rhode Island in 2005.
Her career has included working with foster children and adoptive families, serving as a supervisor of high risk teens in a residential setting, and establishing and staffing the position of school social worker at a charter school in Cambridge, MA and was the founder of the the school’s GSA.
She has been a clinician at a mental health center in Providence with children, youth and families, and currently works at Youth Pride, Inc. as a clinician serving GLBT youth. With her sister, nearly 30 years ago, she founded a national organization (COLAGE) serving children with GLBT parents.
Molly enjoys being a activist, loves yoga, yearns to travel more, enjoys eating yummy food (or simply talking about food,) and adores hanging with her two children and dog, Chloe! She appreciates art and music and loves working with young people!
Jessica Peters, PhD Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Jess has worked as a clinician at YPI since August of 2016, facilitating the Way Out and Thirteen and Under groups and providing individual counseling services on Thursday evenings. She is originally from the Boston area and obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky. She moved to Providence to complete her clinical residency and postdoc at Brown University Med School, where she continues to research adolescent emotional functioning. Her specialized clinical training includes helping people manage difficult emotions, decrease risky behavior (like self-harm, substance use), and deal with challenging relationships. She is also an experienced mindfulness teacher. Throughout her clinical career, she has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ issues and is thrilled to be part of the YPI team. When not working, Jess loves creating and experiencing art, reading, inventing new recipes, and hanging out with her cat.
To make an appointment with Jess, speak with staff or use the above email. Individual appointments may be available for walk-ins. Older youth coming in for appointments during the 13 and under time should notify staff that they are here to see Jess.
Michelle Saunders – Chair
Chris Botelho – Vice Chair
Mary Benvenuto – Treasurer
Jennifer Porcelli – Secretary
At Large Members:
Guillaume Bagal, Tom Canterino, Benjamin Chaplin*, Teneka Cooke*, Jeffrey LaValley, Erin Pavane, Tayla Reo
* = Youth Members