Our Team

 
 
 
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Afelia Yahefu

Data and Systems Manager

925-692-0090 x723 afelia@rainbowcc.org

Afelia immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. During her high school years, she volunteered at La Clinica de La Raza and Planned Parenthood. She later earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology where she found her interest in quantitative research and data analysis. As one of her senior projects, she focused her quantitative research to the effects of historical residential segregation on socio-economic and racial inequality. Afelia is excited to serve the LGBTQ+ community by providing her research and data analysis skills. She believes data is an important tool to provide insight and drive action towards the endless battle of the LGBTQ+ community.

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B/Bianca Gutiérrez

Youth Outreach Coordinator

925-692-0090 x709

bianca@rainbowcc.org

B/Bianca Gutierrez  (elle/they ella/she). They’re HELLA proud to be first gen chicanx, nonbinary, queer. They are 20 yrs old majoring in Sociology at DVC to then transfer to a University to continue studying and absorbing all the knowledge in sociology, social work and social justice (which is a huge privilege they’re extremely grateful for). Their career and life end goals are just to absorb as much knowledge as possible, escuchar todas las historias de nuestra gente, absorb knowledge spread knowledge a whole cycle of never ending learning and teaching in whatever way that ends up looking for them. When they aren't working at the Center or studying they tend to have another job whether that be boba shops or finding a new interest and holding a job in that new interest.

 

Quick Little Background: They were interested in helping their communities since they were young…from starting the first GSA at their middle school at the age of 11 to being a part of Latinos Unidos all 4 years of high school, serving as president the last 2 years with intention to make it even more inclusive in case others hadn't felt it to be that way for other queer peers, to having the dream at 13 to work at the Rainbow Community Center. They were a part of youth group from ages 13-18 and got hired at 18 years old. Their goal at Rainbow is to bring in mas gente de sus comunidades for all to feel seen, heard and loved as ALL queer youth should!!

 

Some things B loves to do for fun is write, take photos, care for their plants, play with their cat Boba and their dog Lorelei, go to crystal shops and  book stores, and make tea & coffee for loved ones.

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Carol Osmer Newhouse, LCSW

Clinical Supervisor

925-692-0090 x724 

carol@rainbowcc.org

Carol (she/her Pronouns) identifies as Lesbian and Queer, and. comes to Rainbow with over 30 years of clinical experience. She has worked as a Therapist in Private Practice and in agency settings as Program Director, Training Director, and Clinical Director of a community based Mental Health Agencies. Currently Carol provides Clinical Supervision of Psychology students, and therapists in training for Licensure: Clinical Social workers, Licensed Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists. She has worked in this capacity at John F. Kennedy University, Pacific Center for Human Growth, and Rainbow Community Center. Carol assists therapists in finding their clinical confidence, expertise, and particular skill in working with the LGBT+ community, and other marginalized populations. She works from a place of authenticity, presence and mutual empowerment.

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Christian Aguirre

Interim Adult and Family Programs Director

925-692-0090 x714

christian@rainbowcc.org

Christian was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. He immigrated to the United States when he was 12 and eventually attended Alhambra High School. After graduating, he earned Makeup Artist and Hair certifications from NY Makeup Academy in San Jose, CA. 
 
As a teenager Christian discovered the Rainbow Community Center (RCC) Youth Program, where he gained the strength and confidence to be himself. Christian always valued giving back to his community, so he became a volunteer at the RCC for over a year. While participating and volunteering at the RCC, Christian became passionate about LGBTQ+ sex education and HIV prevention. 

While at the RCC, Christian went on to work as an HIV Prevention Specialist, Youth Outreach Counselor, and HIV Program Manager where he focused on group facilitation, HIV/STI testing, outreach, community events, and fundraising. Now he is growing and overseeing the Older Adults, HIV, and Volunteer Programs.
 
Christian believes that the “personal is political” and has been involved in several non-profit organizations around the Bay Area that focus on helping LGBTQ+ and undocumented folks such as Si a la Vida in San Francisco and The Sanctuary in Berkeley.
 
You might even find yourself at an event such as Drag Queen Story Hour at a local library or a Pride Stage in the Bay Area, where Christian’s drag queen persona, Bella Aldama performs. As always, remember to take a picture with Bella if you see her, she loves interacting with the community and being in front of the cameras! 

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Christopher Holden

Older Adults Program Manager

925-692-0090 x713

christopher@rainbowcc.org

Christopher received his Bachelor of Science at Boston’s Northeastern University and an addition graphic arts degree at Epping Forest College, London, England. His most recent work experience was as a Program Coordinator for 140+ disabled/formerly homeless seniors in a supportive housing setting. Prior to that, Christopher lived in Zurich, Switzerland for 7 years and traveled extensively through Europe and Asia and taught English in Dharamsala, India. 

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Cristina Zaldana

Volunteer & Food Pantry Coordinator

925-692-0090 x708

cristina@rainbowcc.org

Cristina is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Rainbow Community Center. Her past endeavors range from being a bike messenger to earning an FCC License and broadcasting in Top Forty Radio. Raised in San Francisco, Cristina was also very much inspired by and always gravitated towards the Cultural Arts. The Mission Cultural Center housed a space of Arts, Dance and Music. There, Cristina was a student of Capoeira, silkscreening and Dance. "La Danza Azteka allowed me to give back to the community in a very spiritual way." The well being of Mind Body and Soul are very important to Cristina and has always felt a need to help others balance and navigate through tough times. Having moved from City to City in the last five years, Cristina has found herself in the East Bay helping the most marginalized such as the Rainbow Spectrum and would very much like to use her past experiences and skills for the greater good! "At this point in my life and the times that we are going through, it is Paramount that we invest in each other's wellbeing."

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Crystal Knight

Director of Operations, Wellness and Culture

& Trainer

925-692-0090 x717

crystal@rainbowcc.org

Crystal Knight (they/them) is a non-binary and queer educator, activist, and advocate for intersectional queer and trans liberation. During their educational journey, Crystal has earned a B.A. in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz and a M.A. in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego. As the Director of Operations, Wellness, and Culture, Crystal supports Rainbow through co-creating operational procedures and fostering a wellness-centered organizational culture. They grew up in Contra Costa County and are incredibly passionate about serving our local LGBTQIA+ community by supporting the staff, clinicians, and leaders that provide all of Rainbow’s services and programs! Crystal also finds joy in teaching empowerment-centered dance classes and hiking through our California coastal redwoods.

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Dana "TherActivist" Johnson, MSW

Director of Youth Housing Technical Assistance

& Trainer

925-692-0090 x704

dana@rainbowcc.org

Dana TherActivist Johnson, MSW (They/Them/Theirs) is a gender non-binary masculine of centered community activist that brings experience as an Author, documentary filmmaker, DEI&B practitioner, and Professional Development trainer. Dana also has 18 years’ experience counseling and servicing justice involved youth. Dana received a master’s degree in Social Work from Cal State University East Bay, BA in Criminal Justice from San Francisco State University, and a variety of professional certifications.

Dana’s an Author and Filmmaker of the memoir, TherActivist: They/ Them/ Theirs, a narrative embracing Identity, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The TherActivist embodies a "therapeutic activism" approach, while servicing and empowering BIPOC communities, LGBTQI+ communities, and most vulnerable populations.

Dana serves as a LGBTQ+ Commissioner and PRIDE Initiative co-chair for the County of San Mateo; and a board member of CoastPride Center. Dana embraces the role as a LGBTQ+ Ambassador servicing the entire LGBTQIA+ community of the County San Mateo. Dana’s a Fellow, of Equality of California Institute Leadership Academy; and Inaugural Class of 2022- member of Leadership Council San Mateo County.

Dana is motivated in assisting in the implementation of inclusive policies and protocols; and passionate about providing LGBTQI+ equity services, social justice services, and activism to marginalized communities. Dana is working with other community leaders to help bring visibility, resources, social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion to LGBTQI+ communities. When they are not working, Dana enjoys taking a self-care walk/hike, catching a movie, watching sports, and spending time with their partner, family and friends.

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Dorann “Dodi” Zotigh, CST, MS

Trainer & Former Board President

Dodi began volunteering with Rainbow when she first moved to the Bay Area in 2009. She joined the Board in July 2015, took over as Board President in April 2019, and finished her 6-year term in June of 2021. She has a BA from Cornell University in Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies, a Masters in Educational Leadership and a Masters in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction. While attending Cornell, she was President of ZAP!, a sex, gender and sexuality discussion panel; Fundraising Chair for Cornell’s Gay-Straight Alliance; an active member in Haven, Cornell’s umbrella LGBT organization; and the Undergraduate Representative for the Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies Steering Committee. Dodi spent 11 years in the Army Reserves while the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy regulated gay and lesbian soldiers.  Dodi works for Mt. Diablo Unified School District at the Adult Education School as the Surgical Technologist Program Director and Healthcare Career Pathway Program Manager. She is passionate about continually improving education and helping individuals learn in a challenging, safe, and empowering environment where all identities are acknowledged and supported. Dodi is also the mother to two little ones, one who is neurodivergent and non-binary and one who is a heart warrior. Both kiddos motivate and challenge her to make this world a safer, expansive, and more welcoming place for them to grow up.

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Gretchen Bringas

Trainer

Please contact our                            Director of Education

Gretchen (her/she as she's brown and sweet) was born in the South Bay to immigrant parents and raised in the East Bay by a single one. Growing up as a third culture individual she has navigated between her Ancestral culture and the North American culture like a swirled soft-serve ice cream cone. Beautiful in theory, but messy in reality. Luckily, the flavor of life inspires her to continue to craft and sample, whoever she becomes in this world.
 
Fueled by years of retail experience within a spectrum of communities, Gretchen was compelled to get her MA in Communication Studies with a focus on Intercultural Communication. She hopes to bring her experience and knowledge to RCC, but more importantly learn from those she will meet while with the organization. 

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Ginger Jule-Frost, LMFT

Clinical Supervisor

925-692-0090 x710

ginger@rainbowcc.org

Ginger (she/her pronouns) is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who provided clinical services at Rainbow from 2014-2018, first as an MFT intern, then moving on to become Lead Clinician and School-Based Services Coordinator before taking a full time position with Contra Costa County Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health. Out of commitment to this community and to the work of this agency, she has returned to Rainbow offering support for the counseling team as a clinical supervisor.  She hopes to empower newer clinicians to find their groove, increase their skills and confidence, and to empower the clients they serve. Identifying as queer herself, Ginger has focused her clinical experience within the LGBTQIA+ community, with particular concentration on transgender and gender expansive people. She recognizes the privilege in which she is situated in many respects as a Cis-White woman, and is a fierce advocate for social justice and human rights. Issues of diversity, intersectionality and social equity have always been of concern to Ginger, who strives to approach her role(s) with a culturally humble and trauma-informed lens. She has spent many years working with and advocating for youth, beginning in her previous career in Special Education, and places special emphasis on helping survivors of trauma and abuse. Ginger approaches her work with a collaborative spirit, from a perspective of resilience, strength and growth, and with respect for the powerful role of human connection. She views her own journey as one in progress and remains open to growth and learning. Ginger’s free time is spent with her beloved partner of almost 30 years and friends, appreciating nature, music and the arts. She is an animal lover, creative spirit, and activist.

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Jessie Melina Garcia Gutiérrez

Trainer

Please contact our                            Director of Education

Jessie (she/they) is a proud transgender Chicanx woman from Salinas, CA and is a third year student in the Master of Public Health/Master of Social Welfare concurrent degree program at UC Berkeley. After graduating from UCLA in 2018, she worked as the Trans* Empower Workforce Development Program Manager at a community clinic in South Central Los Angeles. In that role she assisted transgender patients with job readiness skills, job placement, legal gender and name change paperwork, and trained employers in Los Angeles on transgender competency to best support transgender workers. Her research interests include how social and structural transphobia becomes internalized/embodied and affects mental health of transgender people of color. She also has experience providing therapy with transgender/non-binary youth of color. She hopes to one day receive a PhD in Public Health and be able to inform policy to combat transphobia and allow transgender people to live healthful, thriving lives.

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Kadeth DarkStar Pozzesi, MA, LMFT

Clinician

925-692-0090 x706

kadeth@rainbowcc.org

Kadeth (pronouns he/him and Sir) is a queer trans masculine artist and composer who fuses mythology, magic, shamanic arts and feminist theory with traditional psychotherapy to inform and guide his work. He is a Reiki Master Teacher and shamanic practitioner.  

 

Kadeth received his Master in psychology from JFK University where he focused on neuropsychology, feminist perspective and mental health care for the transgender, non binary and BDSM community. His prior work includes school based domestic violence education and intervention, grassroots reproductive rights support and many years in the veterinary community focusing on emergency and critical care anesthesia. 

 

Kadeth be found found in his glass studio liquefying and spinning colored glass into artwork with very large amounts of fire. He reads research papers on medicine, biology, psychology and astrophysics for fun. 

 

“The good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one...and starts with the action of the one.”

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Kelly Ferguson

Director of Development

925-692-0090 x5

kelly@rainbowcc.org

Kelly (she/her) is a queer femme passionate about using her fundraising and communications skills to elevate the important work of Rainbow Community Center. She has identified with feminism since high school and studied Women's and Gender Studies at Simmons, a women-centered college. She leverages this experience professionally in terms of incorporating an intersectional feminist lens that explores the intersections of race, class, gender, and myriad other identities and experiences. 

 

After volunteering in college with a feminist nonprofit Girls Rock Campaign Boston, she fell in love with youth work and spent several years designing and running youth programming around Greater Boston for organizations such as Quincy Asian Resources. She then switched over to the development side of the sector, where she has been ever since, with youth-serving nonprofits including Playworks, Silver Lining Mentoring and The Collective Identity Mentoring. Kelly is biracial (white/Asian), the child of an immigrant, and originally from Massachusetts. She loves singing, hiking and camping, and spending time with her adorable and very spoiled pup, Ripley.

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Kiku Johnson

Executive Director & Trainer

925-692-0090 x702

kikujohnson@rainbowcc.org

Kiku (he/him) is an intersectional, queer, Chinese, trans man originally hailing from Michigan and has been living and thriving with his partner in Oakland, CA since 2004. Kiku is an educator, trainer, and consultant engaging his human centered design thinking, with a visual arts background focused on diversity, equity, and expansion. Kiku has 30+ years of experience with youth development and responsive community program design, outreach, implementation, impact, evaluation, and advocacy through a social justice lens. He is independently and collaboratively adept at creating culturally, trauma-informed/healing-centered, accessible, affirming approaches and content for a wide variety of intersectional communities including LGBTQI+, People of Color, youth, and adults working across sectors including juvenile justice, education, mental health, community-based, and faith-based organizations.

Kiku has traveled the country educating on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Affirming Approach and Expansive Practices connected with the CDC funded handbook he authored that is open source. He is a Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy/Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Supporting LGBTQ Youth Program Fellow. He loves being in community with all folx with a special affection for the cat community. Kiku loves teaching mediums for expression like stained glass construction and is fascinated with how things work and embodying MacGyver at every opportunity! He's writing a book about his life journey through trauma and as a man of trans experience. Most importantly, Kiku knows liberation is found every time he gets on the dance floor!

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Laura Cartwright

Director of Education & Trainer

925-692-0090 x6

laura@rainbowcc.org

Laura is a queer femme educator who brings 25 years of working with youth and their families through a healing centered, regionally informed, intersectional lens. She has trained cross-sector nationally, and developed curriculum to support educators, administrators, facilitators, and youth workers in providing restorative practices in their setting with a particular focus on serving LGBTQ+ youth. She most recently taught for 10 years where she was the Athletic Director, 8th grade advisor, and Social Emotional Learning curriculum writer and teacher. She also was the adult advisor to the GSA. Before teaching, Laura worked in the non-profit sector serving youth in Detroit, and later working to empower athletes of all abilities as the Vice President of Regional Sports at Special Olympics Northern California. In her free time she loves to swim, cook up new recipes in the kitchen, and explore the Bay Area with her amazing partner!

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Letitia Bush

Mental Health Billing Specialist

925-692-0090 x0

letitia@rainbowcc.org

Letitia Bush is a proud mother who was born and raised in the East Bay. She brings with her more than 5 years’ experience in medical office management and mental health billing. In 2015 after graduating from Heald Business College, she started her career with Positive Results as a Billing Specialist and was quickly promoted to Senior Billing Specialist. Her background includes medical billing, mental health billing, and Office Administration. After 2 years of working at Mount Diablo Solano Oncology Group, she then went to work as a Mental Health Billing Specialist for REACH Project, and she’s currently working for Rainbow Community Center, where she truly enjoys working with the environment and community. Ms. Bush values understanding and supporting the community at Rainbow Community Center, and she is very passionate about helping others and bringing change to marginalized communities.

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Lukan Weissburg

Associate Clinician

925-692-0090 x718

lukan@rainbowcc.org

Lukan (He/Him/They pronouns) is a conscientious pansexual Trans* masculine identified individual. He was born and raised in Contra Costa County until he transferred from community college to San José State University for a B.A. in Psychology, and later returned to San José State for a M.S. in Clinical Psychology. Lukan is passionate about affordable, accessible, and expansive mental health care of LGBTQIA+ youth, adults, families, and couples, with special interest in providing mental health access to transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals. When not working, Lukan enjoys multiple artistic outlets (drawing, sculpting, sewing), hiking, astrophotography, and sleeping!

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Mariana Alvarado

Clinical Case Manager

925-692-0090 x711

mariana@rainbowcc.org

Mariana (Mariana/they) is a bilingual queer femme Mexican designer and community builder based on Chochenyo Ohlone Land. Actively connected with the food justice and art community in the Bay Area, Mariana dreams of a therapy framework encompassing ecopsychology and art therapy to aid people of color toward healing and thriving. Mariana’s work has supported small and large organizations in mental health, re-entry justice, emergency housing, and gallery spaces. Mariana deeply cares about people, their stories, dreams, resilience, and joy. For fun, Mariana is in the ceramic studio, eating, tending the garden, and generally finding hope in non-capitalist work.

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Niq Muldrow

Trainer

Please contact our                            Director of Education

Niq (they/them) is a queer and trans community organizer, Bay Area native, healer, wannabe cowboi, and deeply committed to our collective healing and liberation, by any means necessary. Niq loves almost anything music related, taking care of their people, the beach and all things nature. 

 

They began organizing in high school within their school and school district to help implement the FAIR Education Act, create queer and trans competent sex education curriculum and get gender neutral bathrooms built on thier campus. In high school, Niq worked with GSA Network and Transgender Student Educational Resources (TSER) working regionally and nationally with other queer and trans young people.

 

Niq is a 2017 receipient of the eQuality scholarship for their high school activism and work with GSA Network and recieved a Youth Activist Award in October 2017 from Queer LifeSpace for their work uplifting other trans and queer people of color. They recently started a mutual aid fundraising collective for Black Trans folks in the Bay Area and they are a recent Alumni of GSA Network and Transgender Law Center’s Transgender Youth (TRUTH) Council, organizing with other trans young folks nationally.

 

Prior to joining Rainbow staff in 2017, Niq spent three years as a Rainbow Youth Program participant and is overjoyed to be a part of the program that helped give them their voice and to be able to use the wisdom of their past experiences, community and ancestors to empower, support and uplift young queer and trans people. 

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Parisa Zamanian

Associate Clinician/Youth Program Manager & Trainer

925-692-0090 x707

parisa@rainbowcc.org

Parisa is a non-binary, mixed race queer from the Bay Area. They grew up attending LGBTQ+ youth groups in the South Bay, which inspired a continued commitment to social justice and healing work in the LGBTQ+ community. Parisa has experience working with college access nonprofits for low-income, first-generation students, as well as experience in school social work and mental health care for LGBTQ+ youth and adults. They graduated with a Masters' in Social Work from UC Berkeley and have a Master of Arts in Women’s History form Sarah Lawrence College, where they focused primarily on gender and sexuality studies. Parisa believes in the power of baking and cooking as healing tools for individuals and communities and is working on integrating these into their activist and mental health practices. 

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Philip Baker, MA, LMFT

Clinician

925-692-0090 x719

philip@rainbowcc.org

Philip is a proud biracial gay man who grew up in Contra Costa and used to attend the Rainbow Center's youth group as a teenager. He attended UC Santa Cruz for his undergraduate degree before getting his master's degree in counseling at John F. Kennedy University. He loves the chance to support the mental health of LGBTQ+ teens, adults, and families in area, especially around working through trauma that many in the community experience. When he's not working, you can find him singing, cooking, dancing, or spending time with his dog, Iris.

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Rae Messer, ASW

Associate Clinician & Trainer

925-692-0090 x712

rae@rainbowcc.org

Rae is excited to serve the LGBTQIA+ community in Contra Costa County, where she grew up. Rae got her Masters of Social Work at Hunter University in New York, and is committed to supporting the mental health of LGBTQIA+ youth, adults, and families, including gender-expansive folx. Rae offers individual, couples and family counseling, as well as supports the Parents of Trans and Gender Nonconforming Children's Group. When Rae is not working, she enjoys sunshine, dancing, and dad jokes.

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Rasheedah Blake

Director of Youth Housing Operations

925-692-0090 x721

rblake@rainbowcc.org

Rasheedah has been an ally for the LGBTQ community for over 20 years and has worked in social services and social justice for over 25 years. Her work has focused on homeless adults, domestic violence and community mental health.  Rasheedah has been a fierce advocate for housing homeless youth and adults, she spent over 10 years working in San Francisco shelters and Community Mental Health Services. Her advocacy in community mental health has been fighting for more mental health services like therapy and supportive employment. She holds a Masters Degree from New College of San Francisco in Women's Studies: Emphasis on Sexual Violence in Prostitution. Rasheedah has lived in the Bay Area for 35 years and moved from Santa Cruz to pursue work at Highland Hospital in County Mental Health. In her leisure time, she likes to ride bikes, walks on the beach and baking sweet potato pies and spinach lasagna. She has been an avid Bay to Breakers runner with three races under her belt and also has enjoyed bodybuilding in the past, and now enjoys kickboxing, pilates and walks in nature. She joined the Rainbow Community Center in February 2019 as Director of Youth Emergency Housing.  

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Rebecca Coffey, MA, AMFT, APCC

Clinical Director

Rebecca (she/her pronouns) graduated from Mills college with a BA in Psychology, and a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies, and from John F. Kennedy University with a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology.  She identifies as pansexual, has a long history of working with non-profit organizations and LGBTQ+ activism, and specializes in alternative relationships and sexualities, such as polyamory and BDSM.  She guides people through exploring gender, sexuality, and relationships, so they can feel safe and empowered to create the life they want.  Rebecca is committed to serving our community through supportive clinical work, activism, and living a fully authentic life.

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Tamisha Williams, M.Ed. 

Trainer

Please contact our                            Director of Education

Tamisha Williams, M.Ed. (she|her) is a dynamic facilitator, transformational leader, coach, and equity practitioner. Through the use of visuals and storytelling, Tamisha inspires educators to deepen their equity and racial-literacy skills. Tamisha has experience working with students, faculty and staff members, administrators, parents, and trustees to name and confront structural and systemic inequalities in the school communities. In addition to her work with multiple stakeholders, Tamisha also focuses on wellness, equity awareness, and healing spaces for POC and LGBTQ+ community members.
 
Tamisha earned her B.A. in Studio Art and Comprehensive Education from the University of Richmond and her M.Ed. in Family and Marriage Counseling from The College of William and Mary. Her artistic and counseling background informs her recognition of the power of storytelling and her belief that movement and art are integral to healing.