MISSSEY Team

Our Team

MISSSEY is comprised of individuals who are exceptionally positioned to serve our youth and raise awareness of CSE by bringing to the anti-trafficking table a wealth of experience, knowledge, and insight centered on supporting CSEC survivors and similarly disenfranchised populations. Each person on our team wholeheartedly believes that with the right opportunities and non-judgmental support, domestically trafficked youth can overcome the circumstances of their exploitation and lead fully enriched, empowered lives.

To reach a member of our team, contact her via email or call the main number, 510-251-2070.

 

Executive Director

Holly Joshi, holly@misssey.org

Holly Joshi is an Oakland native who has been committed to the issue of commercial sexual exploitation for over a decade. As the supervisor of the Oakland Police Department’s Child Exploitation Unit, she crafted victim centered department policy, formed the city’s first joint trafficking task force with the FBI, and worked in collaboration with the Alameda County District Attorney, advocates, and survivors for the successful passage of Prop 35- California’s Anti-trafficking legislation. She served on Attorney General Kamala Harris’s Human Trafficking Task Force and has taught trafficking prevention, intervention, and response to law enforcement and service providers across the country.

Holly sees education as an important leverage point in our fight for equity. She holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership for Social Justice from St. Mary’s College and is currently a doctoral student in Educational Leadership. She believes in the resiliency and brilliance of young people and the transformative power of an informed and engaged community.

 

Director of Programs

Jakki Bedsole, jakki@misssey.org

As the Director of Programs at MISSSEY Inc., Jakki Bedsole oversees the direct services division of the organization and supports staff directly working with commercially sexually exploited children and transitional age youth. Previously, she led the development of the organization’s Transitional Age Youth program and has held other roles (including the position of case manager) within different programs for the organization.

Throughout her career, Jakki has worked with children, families and adults in the field of social work. She has served in a variety of roles and contexts including working with individuals experiencing homelessness, children in foster care and residential treatment facilities, in school systems, with domestic violence and substance overuse services as well as working directly with CSEC. Her work also includes community organizing, service coordination, management of special projects and research focused on the perceptions of best practices for serving CSEC. Jakki holds a B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis on Social Services from California State University, East Bay and a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from San Jose State University.

 

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Program Manager

Kendall Roberts, kendall@misssey.org

Kendall Roberts has an educational background in Social Work, along with professional experience working in the mental health field and with former foster youth. Most recently, she held a position at Seneca’s Willow Rock as a Crisis Stabilization Counselor working with youth from an array of different backgrounds. While earning her bachelor’s degree, she interned at Volunteers of America (VOA) Transitional Housing for Former Foster Youth and facilitated women’s empowerment classes to young women and mothers.

 

Director of Operations

Liz Longfellow, liz@misssey.org

Liz oversees MISSSEY’s daily operations and supervises MISSSEY’s well-known Training Institute for professionals.

Liz has spent the last 20 years working in the social service field and is a certified sexual assault counselor and HIV test counselor. After her graduation from San Francisco State University, Liz worked with survivors of sexual assault, foster care youth, as well as vulnerable adults with multiple diagnostic disabilities. At Larkin Street Youth Services, Liz worked with homeless and runaway youth, many of whom were being exploited. Her skills as a trainer and a coordinator are based in a solid foundation of direct service work and strong clinical ability. Liz has facilitated trainings about marginalized youth and commercial sexual exploitation to CBO’s, educators, county child welfare workers, and community members throughout the Bay Area.

 

 Training and Prevention Manager

Jasmine Hawkins, jasmine@misssey.org

Jasmine Hawkins has been working in social services for the past seven years, with previous work experience including the Center for Young Women’s Development and Real Options for City Kids (ROCK).  Her roles have been diverse as program coordinator, community organizer, case manager, and direct services manager. These positions have prepared her for the difficult job of forming trusting relationships with exploited youth and empowering them to make their lives better. Jasmine’s wish is for all girls to have the tools to be self-sufficient.

 

Grants and Operations Associate

Learkana Chong, learkana@misssey.org

Learkana plays a key role in MISSSEY’s fundraising, grants management, and organizational development. She also helps MISSSEY’s workflow through data management, communications, administrative support, and event coordination. She received her B.A. in English with a minor in Psychology from Mills College, a liberal arts women’s college in Oakland that taught her the value of critical thinking and using an intersectional approach to examine the status quo. It was there that she also cultivated her passion for social justice and learned about the heartbreaking issue of commercial sexual exploitation. After graduating, she interned at other grassroots nonprofit organizations before landing an administrative position at MISSSEY and going on to become instrumental in supporting the organization. Learkana says she is dedicated to using her communication and organizational skills to amplify the voices of marginalized populations and effect sociopolitical change.

 

STAR Center

STAR (Sisters Transforming And Rising) Center serves as a transformative safe space and resource center for youth who have been impacted by commercial sexual exploitation. We offer a variety of opportunities and supports tailored to the needs of our youth: life skills workshops, political and cultural education, health and wellness, therapeutic arts and movement, restorative justice circles, field trips, and more. Our drop-in center staff are instrumental in helping youth who need support with basic needs, individual and collective healing, systems navigation, skill building, career exploration, and school enrollment; or who simply need a place where they can be themselves.

 

Drop-In Center Coordinator

Kirsten Johnson-Bell, kirsten@misssey.org

Kirsten gained a passion for working with youth who have similar backgrounds to her through the Sister Rising program at the Center for Young Women’s Development and as a facilitator at the Youth Development Center in Bayview. It is through her cumulative work experience with young people that she also learned about social justice, self love practices, policies affecting youth of color, and the underground street economy. For Kirsten, it is a privilege to be the go-to person in a young person’s life who can relate and give feedback, but most importantly listen to their needs and address them with love. Kirsten is working on obtaining her A.S. degree in Child Development or Social Work in hopes of one day opening a love-based home for at-risk young women.

 

 

 

Case Managers

MISSSEY’s Case Managers provide one-on-one direct services to children and transition age youth (ages 11-24 years old) who are on probation or within the foster care system, and are survivors or at risk of commercial sexual exploitation. Case Managers collaborate across a wide variety of systems and disciplines and are a critical part of Alameda County’s service delivery team. Through building a trusting relationship with the young people they serve, Case Managers are able to facilitate next steps for youth such as improved personal safety, school attendance, employment, housing, healthcare, and dreaming bigger. Focus is always on the recovery from the trauma of their lives and moving out of “the life.”

 

Karolina Benitez, karolina@misssey.org

Karolina Benitez has experience working with a variety of marginalized populations. Most recently, in her position as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate with Valley Crisis Center in Merced County she worked with women and families using trauma-informed care techniques to effectively empower victims of abuse. Karolina believes that all youth deserve the chance to grow and to succeed in society. She is personally committed to educate and empower young girls to live the life they want to live.

 

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Erica Casco, erica@misssey.org

Erica Casco is a CSE-TAY case manager at MISSSEY. She is a San Francisco native and is excited to be back in the Bay Area to be working with transitional aged youth. Ms. Casco received her B.A. in psychology and criminal justice from San Francisco State University. During her undergrad studies she volunteered and mentored at risk youth from San Francisco County in after school programs, juvenile hall, and group home settings. She earned her Masters in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage Family Therapy from National University. While living in Las Vegas, she gained many years of experience working towards licensure as a MFTI providing family, group, and individual therapy in psychiatric hospitals and nonprofit agencies. Her passion has been helping young girls discover their inner strength and confidence. Empowering young women in the face of adversity through the development and nurturing of self sufficiency has also been a major passion for Ms. Casco.

 

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Melisa Siltanen, melisa@misssey.org

Melisa (Mel) is a Bay Area-born, longtime East Oakland resident; a social justice activist; and an advocate for women and youth. As a single mother who has experienced systems involvement, she feels it is not only her passion but her duty to support and uplift young women who face similar challenges. Mel previously worked at the Young Women’s Freedom Center in San Francisco as a Case Manager as well as a Community Organizer. In her spare time, she is involved in legislative advocacy and bail reform efforts. Mel strongly believes in self-empowerment through the process of healing and self-love. Her hope is for all young women to determine for themselves what success is, and to recognize their own strength and brilliance.

 

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Taylor Washington, taylor@misssey.org

Taylor is a Juvenile Justice Case Manager at MISSSEY. She received her B.A in Women and Gender Studies and her minor in Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University. Prior to MISSSEY, she’s volunteered as a Sexual Assault Counselor for Rape Trauma Services in San Mateo County and has gained extensive experience as a behavior specialist working with youth with Autism, developmental delays, trauma and behavior challenges in school, home and community settings. Aside from supporting vulnerable populations, Taylor has also been involved in performing arts around the Bay Area. She believes that art is not only a form of expression but a way to tell one’s story and help heal trauma regardless of age.  Throughout Taylor’s versatile experience, she’s developed a passion for working with youth and helping them discover their own passions and self-worth through community, art, education and social justice.

 

eliza (90 of 424)_1 (1)Eliza Sherpa, eliza@misssey.org

Eliza is a Juvenile Justice Case Manager. She believes that spaces for individuals and communities to heal from harm and trauma are integral to an intersectional and inclusive social justice movement. She joins MISSSEY with a background in grassroots organizing and movement building and brings three years of experience in restorative justice practice. She is committed to work in which those most directly impacted assume leadership and has held a variety of group healing spaces with incarcerated individuals. Her personal mission emphasizes decarceration and decriminalization work so that we can build strong and resilient forms of community care.

 

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Briannah Shackelford, briannah@misssey.org 

Briannah Shackelford is the Foster Youth Case Manager at MISSSEY. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development with an emphasis in Youth Work and Out of School Time from San Francisco State University. While earning her bachelor’s degree, she interned at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, where she gained valuable experience in providing supportive resources and services to youth and their caregivers. With a passion for youth development, she’s acquired skills in intervention, youth outreach, and case management. As an Oakland native, Briannah is committed to empowering the lives of youth while raising awareness of diversity and social justice.

Youth Engagement Specialists

MISSSEY’s Youth Engagement Specialists provide critical prevention and intervention services on-site at the Alameda County Foster Care Assessment Center to youth in the foster care system who are highly vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation or who have already experienced exploitation. They also provide case support to child welfare workers, group home providers, foster parents, and individual agencies.

 

Jasmine Alexander-Brookings

Jasmine Alexander-Brookings, jasmineab@misssey.org

Jasmine Alexander-Brookings studied Urban Youth Development and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut. She has experience working with urban and foster youth as a mentor, teacher, tutor, and counselor. Most recently, Jasmine held a position as a Support Counselor with Westcoast Children’s Clinic. She enjoys connecting with young people and strives to empower them to be fearless in their pursuit of their dreams.

 

kpKavya Parthiban, kavya@misssey.org
Kavya is a Youth Engagement Specialist. She joined MISSSEY after recently holding a position as the youth case manager for Dreamcatcher Youth Services and co-facilitating a support group for survivors of intimate partner violence . While earning her Bachelors in Public Health she worked with transitional age youth at the Suitcase Clinic. She has a passion for working with youth and engaging them in youth informed solutions for social justice.