The diverse team of people who lead and advocate for the organization!
Jessica L. Gonzalez is a new board member for Rising Youth Theatre. They was first introduced to Rising Youth when they attended the Light Rail Plays and met the young artists, from there they were transformed. Outside of Rising Youth, they are an equitable economic development professional. Their hope for RYT in the future is that Rising Youth becomes the vehicle for community to continue to tell its stories through performance in a means that is authentic and real, well into future generations.
Michelle is a mother of three, sister, auntie. She is daughter and granddaughter to women who toiled in fields and understood how to feed their family by gleaning fields, catching rabbits, and canning vegetables and meats. She takes this nurturing spirit into all aspects of her life, looking for ways to empower and uplift those around her. She thrives via creative thinking and open collaborations aimed at building a healing community.
Violeta has been working with Rising Youth Theatre since 2018 and is currently serving as the Secretary of the board. She works as an educator full time and is always looking for ways to continue growing. She is passionate about making higher education accessible to all and has been a lifelong supporter of the arts. As a board member, she hopes that the organization can be recognized nationwide for the work that she believes is truly youth driven.
Julia is a new Board Member for Rising Youth Theatre, serving as the Treasurer. Julia has worked in the Financial Services Industry for over twenty years. She learned about Rising Youth Theatre through authentic relationships built since moving to Arizona from the East Coast in 2011. Julia is a multi-racial, cat Mom, that enjoys spending her free time with family and friends and trying new things. Her hope for the future of Rising Youth Theatre, is to continued growth in order to provide opportunities for artistic expression for tomorrow's Leaders.
Maya is a storyteller, community organizer, and activist who joined the board in 2018 after participating in a community storytelling and playback performance between Rising Youth's youth ensemble and South Phoenix community members. Together, Rising Youth and Maya told a story of her own family, a story of inclusion, disability, and humor. Now, as a current board member, she strives to advocate
Johnny is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Critical Dance Studies at UCR. He holds a M.A. in Creative Enterprise Cultural Leadership from ASU. He is a member of the Furious Styles Crew & co-founder of Worth The Weight event series. Johnny is a leader in the AZ dance community as a BBOY, practitioner, and event organizer/host. His research is rooted in the lived experiences of street dancers and examines the relationship between social media and feelings of belonging and disbelieving as experienced by street dancers.
Rising Youth Theatre is a growing organization in its 9th year of operation. As we seek to grow our board of directors through authentic relationship building, we are looking for leadership that reflects our mission and values and is truly representative of our community. Start the process here!