The Freechild Project Advisory Board


About The Freechild Project> Advisory Board


The Freechild Project is committed to keeping our work as meaningful and deeply relevant to these times as we possibly can.  One way that we do this through our Advisory Board. The Board is made of young people and adult allies from around the world who guide us in the areas of information management, fundraising, and promotion, as well as providing advice on different topics.


Dana Bennis

Since learning about democratic, freedom-based educational approaches as an undergrad, Dana has dedicated his time to researching, practicing, and advocating for education that respects young people to significantly direct their own learning and to be meaningfully involved in educational decision-making.  Living just outside New York City, Dana works with a number of schools and education non-profits, and collaborates with others locally, nationally, and internationally to advance democratic education.


Mishaela Durán

Mishaela has extensive experience working with youth in non-mainstream environments. Through her past work with the Arizona Governor's office, the Points of Light Foundation, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the National Network for Youth, Mishaela has created programs, guided federal and state policy-making, advocated for, and worked with young people across the country. Today is the public policy and government relations director for the National PTA.


Andrea Felix

Since becoming involved in community activities as a teen, Andrea has maintained a high level of commitment to community change in her personal and professional life. After serving two terms as an AmeriCorps Member with America's Promise, Andrea became the Youth Voice Initiative manager at Youth Service America in Washington, DC. In that position she worked with youth across the US to promote youth involvement in a variety of community and youth development activities. Today Andrea is a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Eastern Caribbean with the National Youth Council of Dominica through fall 2007.


Henry Giroux

Through his critical scholarly examination of the roles of youth in schools, the media, and popular culture, Henry has elevated the understanding of thousands of young people, educators, youth workers, and others around the world over the last 30 years. Today he has more than 300 scholarly articles, 20 books, and countless other works to his name, and is the Global Television Network Chair in Communications at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. To learn more about him, click here>.


Alex Koroknay-Palicz

Alex Koroknay-Palicz, originally from Michigan, moved to the DC area after attending American University. During his senior year in high school, Alex successfully changed the policy of several age-discriminatory stores in his hometown of Holland, MI. Since then Alex has become actively involved in all levels of the Youth Rights Movement. In his capacity as NYRA's Executive Director, Alex has appeared on CNN and Fox News several times and has spoken at numerous conferences about youth rights and NYRA. 


Wendy Lesko

The author of Youth: The 26% Solution, Wendy is a nationally renowned expert in engaging young people in social change. Her extensive history includes organizing with Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers and founding the Youth Activism Project.


Heather Manchester

Heather is a long-time youth advocate who has worked in local, state and national organizations committed to youth voice. As a school counselor in the Oakland, California public school district, Heather's experience helped guide the develop a new school and lead the district to greater student success.


Joe Vavrus

After participating in a variety of local youth voice activities as a young person in Olympia, Washington, Joe graduated with a BA in International Studies from Portland State University in 2006, studying Spanish and Portuguese to examine the intellectual history of and social and political consequences of economic development. In summer 2006 he completed an internship with CommonAction, providing vital insight and leadership for The Freechild Project. Today he is working towards his Masters in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.


Adrienne Wiley-Thomas

Working with youth media programs across the United States, Adrienne's youth advocacy has helped dozens of young people learn, grow and take power over the popular culture images projected about them everyday. Adrienne is currently a social worker for the State of Washington.


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