Meet the Family Resource Center Team @ MCC
Jasmine Palmer | Senior Director, Social Work Services and the Family Resource Center
Jasmine O. Palmer is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in the field of child and family development for more than 20 years. Jasmine’s past experience includes providing counseling for mothers of babies born in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility; designing a comprehensive family wrap-around support program for the Cambridge Public Health Department; implementing community arts education and wellness programming for the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum and the Kennedy Center; and most recently developing and directing the Early Childhood Education Social Work program at the Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center (MCC).
Currently, Jasmine serves as the Senior Director of Social Work Services at MCC. She designed and established the Family Resource Center (FRC) and currently leads the FRC. Jasmine holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Spelman College, a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.
Chiafen Lui | Associate Director, Family Resource Center
Chiafen Liu, a first-generation Asian immigrant from Taiwan, brings a rich tapestry of experience to the non-profit sector. With a strong commitment to making a difference, Chiafen has dedicated herself to various facets of community betterment, including addressing gender-based violence, supporting immigrant communities, and promoting community health. Her multifaceted roles encompass social advocacy, program development, community outreach, and case management, all aimed at fostering positive change and empowering those she serves.
Armed with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University and holding a license as a social worker, Chiafen is poised to integrate her extensive educational background and diverse work experiences into her current role as the Associate Director of the Family Resource Center. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
Marcia Blaize Callender | Associate Director of Family and Community Engagement
Marcia Blaize Callender is the Associate Director of Family and Community Engagement at the Family Resource Center where she joins a dedicated team to nurture the children, empower families, and strengthen communities. Marcia brings her advocacy skills to focus on developing and implementing a strategic plan to engage family and community members in meaningful and purposeful programming offered at the FRC that includes, care management, family enrichment, and educational opportunities for infants to seniors.
Before joining the FRC, for more than two decades Marcia served as an advocate for the unserved and underserved. After the birth of her first son, she began her work, focusing on children birth to five with special needs. She works at DOH, as a parent consultant in the development and implementation of the Early Intervention Program. Marcia went on as lead facilitator and keynoter for the Special Quest Program, out of Sonoma State University, traveling throughout the country, working with educators, policymakers, health professionals, and parents, to improve and enhance services for children with special needs in Early Head Start Programs. Marcia’s message on overcoming the challenges of raising a child with special needs bridged into a message of overcoming life challenges. As a Program Specialist at The Administration for Children Services, Head Start/Childcare Division, Marcia led her team to support Head Start Delegate Agencies facing difficulties. In addition, Marcia served as an Early Head Start Grant Reviewer, Head Start Director, and Early Learn Director. For the previous five years, Marcia served as the Associate Director of Children and Family Service at Early Childhood @ MCC.
Kenya A. Campbell | Program Manager, Family Resource Center
Kenya A. Campbell has worked at the Educational Alliance for many years in many different capacities. She began her career as an early childhood educator before following her interest in health and wellness by serving as the Health and Nutrition Coordinator. She is currently the Program Manager for the Family Resource Center where she oversees a suite of offerings that inform and inspire creativity through workshops and classes for all community members.
Jana Luttrell | Director of Social Work, Family Resource Center
Jana Luttrell is the Director of Social Work at the FRC, who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Jana is a highly skilled Clinical Social Worker with an impressive career spanning over two decades. For the past 15 years, she has been deeply committed to community mental health, making a significant impact in this field.
Her previous leadership role involved overseeing a community mental health treatment program known as ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) for an impressive five-year tenure. This program primarily catered to the dynamic and diverse community of New York City’s Lower East Side. Jana’s return to this community fills her with joy and a sense of homecoming. Her professional toolkit is enriched with a variety of therapeutic modalities, including but not limited to Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Jana’s approach to leadership is firmly grounded in a trauma-informed lens, allowing her to deeply understand the unique journeys that have led individuals to their current circumstances. Jana’s core belief centers on the importance of fostering connection, support, and inspiration in the lives of those she serves. She firmly holds the conviction that the Family Resource Center can serve as that essential place for everyone, where they can find the resources and encouragement needed to live their best lives.
Lottyizet Nunez | Home-Based & Family Resource Center Case/Care Manager
Lottyizet Nunez has been working with children and families for over 17 years in various roles. Her first role began within the Board of Education; she was a Substitute Teacher/Lunch Aide at Lillian M. Steen School when her younger sister began attending Kindergarten there in 2004 and began tutoring children within the school shortly after. She then entered the Educational Alliance as a Substitute Teacher. Obtaining her Child Development Associate at Bank Street College enabled her to become an Assistant Teacher.
She loves working with children and cares for their well-being as well as the well-being of their parents/caregivers — which led her to further assist the children and families she serviced as their Center-Based Family Advocate. A year later, she went on to service families directly from their homes, in their first home-school relationship, as a Home-Based Case Manager. Lottyizet has worked at the Educational Alliance for twelve years. She has been a Care Manager within the Family Resource Center since its launch in December of 2020.
Lottyizet holds an Associate’s degree in Psychology from the Borough of Manhattan Community College and is currently studying Social Work at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Lottyizet Nunez currently provides services through The Home-Based program and Family Resource Center, focusing on child welfare, as well as other social service resources including; housing, food, clothing, SNAP Benefits, medical Insurance, and more. Lottyizet grew up on the Lower East Side and currently lives in Lower Manhattan.
Sophia Xu | ESOL Program Manager, Family Resource Center
Sophia Xu is the ESOL Program Manager of the Family Resource Center at MCC. She manages and coordinates the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes and activities, which benefit the whole immigration community at the LES.
Yiselle Alejo | Program Coordinator, Family Resource Center
Yiselle Alejo is the Program Coordinator at the FRC and a loving mother of three beautiful girls. Originally hailing from the Dominican Republic, Yiselle embarked on her journey to New York City in 2008. Since then, she has called the Lower East Side (LES) her home, forging strong connections within this vibrant community.
Her journey into the world of Early Childhood Education (ECE) began at MCC when her twins were just two years old. Witnessing her children flourish in the ECE program, Yiselle’s talents with children caught the attention of the staff. Encouraged by their words, she applied for a substitute teaching position and was promptly hired. However, during the challenging days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yiselle’s role as a substitute teacher became temporarily unnecessary. It was during this period that a community navigator shared information about an FRC job fair with Yiselle. Eager to continue making a positive impact, she joined as a community navigator.
Yiselle’s exceptional organizational skills and ability to handle multiple tasks efficiently did not go unnoticed. She quickly ascended to the role of Program Coordinator. Today, Yiselle is the driving force behind the seamless operation of the FRC, ensuring that the MCC café runs smoothly every morning and providing unwavering support to the entire staff in terms of room assignments and budget management.
Chanel Johnson | Community Navigator, Family Resource Center
Chanel Johnson is one of the Community Navigators at the FRC. Chanel has lived in the LES for most of her life; her grandfather was a security guard at Educational Alliance before it was called Manny Cantor Center. Chanel is a mother of two outgoing girls. One is a graduate of EC @ MCC and the other currently attends school here. Chanel was a Compliance Coordinator from 2015 to 2020 at MCC. COVID was hard on Chanel as for many, but it also brought her second daughter.
In the summer of 2022, Chanel took a Parenting Journey workshop at FRC and it sparked her passion for working with families and supporting the community. She kept asking about opportunities for employment and her persistence and eagerness got her the community navigator position. Chanel encompasses FRC’s desire to help and empower others.