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Our Team

Decota Letman

Position: Director of Strategic Partnerships
Email: dletman@build.org

A graduate of Howard University with a background in Communications. Decota was born and raised in the Bronx by way of Jamaica. Hailing from a single parent home and growing up in one of the most disenfranchised communities in New York City, Decota has experienced the affects of living and surviving in an under served community. Working with students that look like her and live in the same area she grew up in brings joy to Decota’s heart knowing she can share her experience with others. It is for this very reason she BUILDS. Combining nine years of experience in communications in the entertainment, arts, and lifestyle space and five years in community engagement. Decota joined the BUILD NYC team as its Community Engagement Manager, and is now the Director of Strategic Partnerships, NYC .  In her spare time she enjoys listening to music, grounding, traveling and experiencing all the world has to offer. She would ultimately like to create safe spaces for students in under-resourced communities to fully exercise their potential and be given the same opportunities as their counterparts.

A graduate of Howard University with a background in Communications. Decota was born and raised in the Bronx by way...

Decota Letman

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Jazmin Moreno

Position: Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Jazmin Moreno

Entrepreneurship Program Manager

Jenelle Bazil-Charles

Position: Community Engagement Manager
Email: jbazilcharles@build.org

Jenelle joins the BUILD NYC team with years of experience in youth development and non-profit. As a former Community Engagement Coordinator, she facilitated overall volunteer training for mentors in the New York City area, conducted research about the recruitment of individuals in the Central Brooklyn area, this includes community canvassing and digital research, led overall volunteer recruitment events, and served as a liaison to maintain collaborative relations with community partners.

She is excited to join BUILD NYC and transition into volunteer mentor management to build a high-performing volunteer workforce to serve our students. Jenelle is also a career mentor coach to first-generation college students, as well as a community advocate with a strong interest in education and public safety. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and volunteering. Jenelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Virginia State University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Pace University.

Jenelle joins the BUILD NYC team with years of experience in youth development and non-profit. As a former Community Engagement...

Jenelle Bazil-Charles

Community Engagement Manager

Justin Lokossou

Position: STUDENT EXPERIENCE PROGRAM MANAGER (E2)

Residing in Harlem, New York by way of Benin, West Africa. Justin Lokossou has spent the majority of his life in the service to students. As a curriculum designer, educator, academic advisor, and fencing instructor, Justin has worked with students from grades K through 12, and has since focused his passion towards working with high school students. He enjoys long walks on the beach, riding his bicycle, judo, lying about enjoying walks on the beach (he and sand do not get along, the sand knows what it did), and writing amusing biographies about himself. This is amusing bio #8. Justin hopes to bring his love of writing, poetry, fantasy fiction, music and comic culture into designing an engaging curriculum for BUILD that will help students not only see themselves in their lesson, but fulfill and exceed their own expectations of how great they can become. 

Residing in Harlem, New York by way of Benin, West Africa. Justin Lokossou has spent the majority of his life...

Justin Lokossou

STUDENT EXPERIENCE PROGRAM MANAGER (E2)

Kenya George

Position: Program Director
Email: kgeorge@build.org
Top: 3

Kenya is a dynamic community organizer and youth developer committed to the transformation and upliftment of youth, young adults and their families.  She currently serves as Program Director with BUILD NYC. Prior to build, Kenya spent over a decade with University Settlement,  a nonprofit that provides services throughout University Settlement.

As Community School Director, Kenya led a team of professionals in planning and implementing enrichment programs for youth, young adults and families, building relationships with stakeholders in the community, and raising funding to sustain and propel youth development forward.

Kenya holds a B.A. in psychology from Barnard College, a Masters of Social Work from Hunter College.

Kenya is a dynamic community organizer and youth developer committed to the transformation and upliftment of youth, young adults and...

Kenya George

Program Director

Maria Raftelis

Position: Grant Writer, NYC/CA

Maria Raftelis has more than a decade of fundraising experience in education. Before joining BUILD, Maria served as Associate Director of Foundation Relations at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. In this role, she oversaw fundraising for the Center of Radiological Research (CRR) and worked with medical faculty across the College to raise funds for research. Prior to Columbia University, Maria served as Grant Writer at the City College Fund, the fundraising organization of the City College of New York (CCNY). During my nine year tenure at the City College Fund, Maria expanded the College’s portfolio of institutional donors to double institutional giving. 

Maria resides in the Bronx with her husband and son. A graduate of the New York City public school system, Maria believed every student should have access to an excellent education that inspires them to dream and achieve their full potential.

Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Individualized Studies from New York University and a Master’s degree in Social Science from the University of Chicago.

Maria Raftelis has more than a decade of fundraising experience in education. Before joining BUILD, Maria served as Associate Director...

Maria Raftelis

Grant Writer, NYC/CA

Pamela Minetti

Position: DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY
Email: pMinetti@build.org
Top: 2

Pam has spent the majority of her career in the financial services sector where she worked at a range of boutique and bulge bracket firms including Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Mogavero, Lee. Her diverse experience encompasses investment banking, institutional sales and marketing. She has always been passionate about educational equity and child and family welfare and has served as a mentor and nonprofit board member for over twenty years. In 2017, Pam joined the BUILD NYC team where she is responsible for all fundraising activities. Pam graduated from the University of Virginia with Highest Distinction and received her MBA from Columbia Business School.

Pam has spent the majority of her career in the financial services sector where she worked at a range of...

Pamela Minetti

DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY

Sarah Malonda

Position: Program Associate

Sarah Malonda was born and raised in Queens, New York, and was the daughter of Indonesian immigrants. She graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a degree in Political Science. She’s interested in local politics and community organizing  — and has been participating in outreach events like getting people registered to vote, informing folks about upcoming elections, and visiting local businesses to pass out PPE and other resources. She is committed to helping under-resourced communities such as her own and she is a strong advocate of student engagement in school, so she truly believes in the work BUILD NYC is doing.

Sarah Malonda was born and raised in Queens, New York, and was the daughter of Indonesian immigrants. She graduated from...

Sarah Malonda

Program Associate

Timothy Ruffin

Position: Senior Program Manager
Email: truffin@build.org

Timothy Ruffin joins the BUILD NYC team after years of classroom and curriculum writing experience at the high school, college and non-profit levels. As an entrepreneur and educator himself, Timothy believes that success in the 21st century will be achieved by those students who have learned the essential skills to develop their own businesses, while constantly pursuing academic achievement because they will be able to adapt to life’s challenges regardless of any societal issues. As a person who was able to overcome the many pitfalls of growing up in an underserved community, Timothy is committed to ensuring that every BUILD student has the opportunity to grow, prosper and make systemic changes in their communities. Timothy holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in African American history and two master’s degrees, one in the social sciences and the other in education.

Timothy Ruffin joins the BUILD NYC team after years of classroom and curriculum writing experience at the high school, college...

Timothy Ruffin

Senior Program Manager

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

WE DREAM BIG & GET THINGS DONE.

VIDEO PREPARATION GUIDELINES

HOW TO RECORD

1. iPhone, iPad, Zoom and Loom are all choices of recording tools for their video presentation 
2. Record with both students and their presentation in view
3. Record horizontally for the best view of the students and their presentation
4. Follow Presentation Diagram to the Right

PRESENTATION TIPS.

- Make eye contact with the camera
- Notecards may be used as cue cards
•Pro Tip: Notecards should avoid having a full script
- Even when you are not speaking, don’t forget the camera is still recording!
•Be aware of your body language while you and your business partners are speaking
- Everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Professional dress is encouraged
- Practice makes perfect
•Practice how you will transition from each speaker
•Project your voice when you speak​

Follow positioning format Above

Download a Sample of Our Curriculum

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