Meet some of the 2021 featured speakers and presenters…

Helen Butler serves as Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization comprised of representatives from the human rights, civil rights, environmental, labor, women, young professionals, youth, elected officials, peace and justice groups throughout the State of Georgia and other southeastern states, founded by the late Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, that advocates for voting rights and justice issues. She was recruited to join the Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda in 2003 as the State Director by Rev. James Orange (Leader) and was able to increase the membership of the organization to over sixty statewide and local organizations as well as, promote collaborative issue campaign organizing activities throughout Georgia, nationally and in the southeastern region. In keeping with the People’s Agenda commitment to quality education, criminal and juvenile justice reform, protecting the right to vote, economic justice and development, and other social justice issues, she has formed strategic alliances to improve quality of life for communities of color. As one of the first 50 African American students to attend the University of Georgia after the integration of the school by Charlene Hunter – Gault and Hamilton Holmes, she received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia with a major in Accounting. She also studied and served as a Recruiter for the Masters of Public Administration program at the University of Georgia.

LaMeka-LeShe Dolby, 2018 NAEHCY Scholar, is currently a Junior Marketing major at Grambling State University in Louisiana. Dolby is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She and her family relocated to Los Angeles, CA in 2015, where they experienced homelessness. Navigating high school was challenging for Dolby, considering that she was absent for several weeks due to her circumstances. Nonetheless, Dolby persevered by maintaining focus on her educational goals. She also became involved in various activities, clubs, and organizations to allow herself to stay determined. Organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of LA Harbor became a second home for Dolby. She is proud of her decision to pursue higher education and plans to pursue a career in Event Planning upon graduation.

Alena Evans is a fitness professional with over 12 years of experience. She is a certified group fitness instructor through AFAA and enjoys teaching Zumba and Freestyle Kickboxing. She is passionate about changing lives through group fitness and making every class feel like a party. In addition to her fitness experience, Alena has also been in the fraud industry for 15 years. She currently works for the United States Attorney’s Office as a Fraud Investigator handling healthcare fraud investigations. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and a Master’s in Forensic Psychology.  Alena is originally from Florida (and also a Florida State Seminole). She has been married for many years to NAEHCY President, Jimiyu Evans, and together they have a 7 year old daughter.

Jasmine Hayes joined ICF in 2020 as the Executive Director of the Capacity Building Center for States (Center), which is part of the Children’s Bureau’s Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative. The Center works to support state child welfare agencies in effectively initiating and sustaining change and innovation to improve child welfare practice and achieve better outcomes for children, youth, and families. Responsible for providing visionary and strategic direction for the Center, Jasmine oversees the design, delivery, and evaluation of capacity building activities. Prior to joining the Center, Jasmine served as Deputy Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Jasmine oversaw the policy team responsible for the development of Home, Together: the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, and was the primary author of the plan’s homeless prevention framework. While at the Interagency Council, Jasmine led federal efforts to prevent and end homelessness among youth and families with children, including development of community-level criteria and benchmarks for what it means to end family and youth homelessness as part of a comprehensive and coordinated response. Jasmine has also worked at the community level, including as a case carrying social worker and child welfare program administrator. A recipient of the True Colors United’s True Leader Award, Jasmine‘s commitment to her work is rooted in belief in the dignity and worth of every individual. Jasmine holds an MSW from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Matthew Morton (pronouns: he/him/his) is a Research Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and a leading expert in youth empowerment, homelessness, evaluation, and evidence-based practice. At Chapin Hall, Matt led Voices of Youth Count, the most comprehensive national research initiative to-date focused on youth homelessness in America. Matt served as Special Advisor in the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, during which time he was a key contributor to the development of the U.S. Government’s national strategy and framework to end youth homelessness and efforts on addressing child trauma. Prior to joining Chapin Hall, Matt led policy projects and research in multiple countries on youth, gender, and social protection policies as an Economist at the World Bank. He has served as a fellow in philanthropy and the U.S. Senate. Dr. Morton’s research is widely published and cited. He received his masters and doctorate in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation from the University of Oxford and a BA in Political Science from Stetson University.

Dr. Joe N. Savage, Jr. is a recognized leader with over 15 years of experience in the fields of homelessness, social policy, economic development, and human services administration. His prior work experience encompasses positions in which he was responsible for overseeing transitional and permanent supportive housing programs, Continuum of Care funding, strategic planning, and coalition building.  His passion for this work has cultivated years of skills and expertise that have helped bring over $150 million of funding to support housing and services for the homeless and community development projects. Joe’s commitment to this work is rooted in his belief in the dignity of human life. He received masters’ degrees in social work and urban planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware.