Emily joins BUILD with experience as Manager of Career Development Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania and a former Career Coach serving high school students placed in corporate internships in the greater Pittsburgh area. With expertise in personalized learning, program development, and youth and volunteer recruitment, Emily’s tools workforce development includes Project Based Learning and Human Centered Design. Emily is an AmeriCorps Public Ally Pittsburgh Alum and a yoga instructor. She received her RYT-200 Certification from YogaRoots on Location’s Anti-Racist Yoga Teacher Training in 2018. Emily’s yoga and career-mentorship practices utilize trauma-informed care and restorative practices.
Emily believes that engaging, real-world workforce development training for young people is the key to social, economic, and educational equity. For fun she enjoys travel, food, music, reading, playing with dogs, laughing with friends, and encouraging self-compassion and accountability. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Theatre Dance from the College of Wooster.
As a former Political candidate, Criminal Justice Reform Program Director & CEO, Educational Administrator, and also an established transformational leader in both the private and public sector, Lamar Blackwell joins BUILD as the Founding Director with a plethora of relevant relationships and invaluable experience. Lamar has had an amazing track record of reforming broken communities through administrative duties. He attended the 9th-ranked dual-degree graduate and law school program in the United States, Georgia State University. Lamar also received his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in 2016. Lamar has mastered the ability to maximize equity through creating, influencing, and operating policy that justly allocates resources to under-served residents, students, and communities. He is an accomplished professional with extensive experience advocating and campaigning to mitigate injustice for individuals by leading social justice organizations, schools, and social service agencies. The unmatched ability to connect community partners, potential funders, and regular people to a product has helped Lamar Blackwell establish himself as a “widely-recognized” dynamic leader throughout the region.
Mr. Blackwell was born and raised in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the Northeast; at one point he attended one of the lowest-performing schools in Pennsylvania, Peabody High School. He states “of all the friends I grew up around, I’m the only one who is currently walking the streets free. Half are dead, half are incarcerated, but it started from the time we were students.” Lamar realized that being born into an unsatisfactory environment, with little resources would lead many to a life of self-destruction. He noticed that many of the friends he grew up with were struggling due to the fact that they were not connected to the work they were doing and didn’t have a chance to create opportunities for themselves. At that point, Lamar dedicated himself to fighting for equity and opportunity for those who are unable to fight for themselves.
Lamar has served numerous low-income communities and transformed the minds of many speaking professionally to over 900,000 people and raising millions of dollars for low-income residents and nonprofit organizations. Lamar has created strong networks, working alongside diverse groups of people, ranging from troubled minority students to formerly incarcerated individuals. Lamar looks forward to serving BUILD and helping change the trajectory of the lives of students through informal education.
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