Karen Feldman, Executive Director
Karen founded Young Voices in 2006 to address the need for an authentic youth voice in policy-making in Rhode Island. Karen has extensive experience in successfully pushing for policy change at the local and state level through her work at Young Voices. She also brings over twenty years of experience in the youth leadership field, including program implementation, organizational management, and financial oversight. Karen founded Youth In Action in 1997, and served as its Executive Director for eight years. Under her leadership, Youth In Action grew from just an idea into a nationally recognized entity, reaching more than 10,000 young people from its four-story building. Karen has a Bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and a Master’s degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Peter Chung, Operations Manager
Peter was born and raised in the Fiji Islands. He studied at the University of the South Pacific majoring in Geography and Demography. In Fiji, Peter started out as a young volunteer with Save the Children Fiji. His passion and enthusiasm for youth development helped him establish Kids Link Fiji, Fiji’s first ever youth led initiative. Peter worked at national and international levels to advocate for children’s rights in Fiji and its pacific island neighbors. In 2008, Peter represented his organization at an awards ceremony in New York City in which Kids Link Fiji was awarded UNICEF’s International Child Led Organization of 2008.
Most recently, Peter worked at the Providence Youth Services YMCA as a Site Coordinator, managing academically-aligned Out of School Time programs for school-age youth. Since joining the Young Voices team, Peter has initiated our Leadership Training Academy at a new Providence high school, supported the students to create an extensive research report to drive youth voice in school redesign, and partnered with the school leadership in the actual redesign of the school.
Phyllis Trelli, Program Coordinator
Phyllis Trelli offers over 12 years of experience in implementing leadership and arts programs to youth in Rhode Island’s core cities. She began working in the field when she was a youth herself, starting off as program staff at Channel One in Central Falls. From there she has served as Youth Director at Woodlawn Community Center and the Tse Tse Gallery, as a Visual Arts Exploratory Teacher at Segue Institute for Learning, and as the facilitator of the Youth Council, a leadership development program for youth at the SKILLS Expanded Learning Initiative at Calcutt Middle School.
Phyllis built upon the work of the Youth Council when she became Site Coordinator at the SKILLS Initiative, empowering youth participants to run all aspects of the program in collaboration with it’s adult leaders. Before coming to Young Voices, Phyllis served a dual role as the Mobile Studio Director and After Hours Coordinator at Riverzedge Arts in Woonsocket. Phyllis has a strong passion and commitment to this field, often saying “Youth Development will save the world.” In addition to her experience, Phyllis holds a Bachelors degree from Bennington College where she studied visual art.
Gretta Schaaf, Civic Engagement, College Access & Persistence AmeriCorps* VISTA
Gretta is thrilled to join the Young Voices family as the Civic Engagement, College Access & Persistence AmeriCorps* VISTA. In her new role, she collaborates with community partners and stakeholders to develop/research programming to improve college access and persistence. Gretta works closely with juniors, seniors and Young Voices alumni to build meaningful supports and relationships. Gretta graduated in May 2015 from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts in Public & Community Service Studies. She also had minors in Political Science and Public Administration. Throughout her undergraduate career, Gretta was committed to civic engagement around issues of urban education and justice. Gretta worked and learned for four years alongside high school students in Providence and Pawtucket with the EXPLORE! program. The mission of EXPLORE! is to cultivate a college-going culture for ninth and tenth grade first generation local high school students. In her senior year, she had an internship with the Providence Student Union. In the spring of her senior year, she was also on the teaching team for the Community Organizing course in the Public Service major. Gretta is excited to build deeper roots in the City of Providence as a resident, partner and ally and is committed to expanding college access and success – with students, for students.