Introducing Kateshia!

Like any good musical collective, we continue to grow. Join us in welcome Kateshia McAfee, the newest member of the SuRa FoMa Collective! She is serving as our event planner for this digital convene and we already can’t imagine our sound without her. Here are just a few of Kateshia’s favorite things.

Personal National Holiday aka Birthday: December 19th

Organization Affiliation: SuRa FoMa

Favorite Snacks: Golden Oreos and Goldfish

Favorite Beverages: Cold pressed juice, Ginger Ale

Introvert, Extrovert or Somewhere in the Middle? Introvert

Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl

What forms of creative expression speak to you most? Spoken word and musical theatre 

Favorite color: Olive green

Favorite song or album: The Thrill of it All – Sam Smith 

Favorite artist of any kind: Kevin Garrett 

Favorite form of relaxation and/or self-care: Dance breaks with friends and massages

Resources from 4/28

Resources for Yourself

Here’s a great resource for managers looking to perfect the skill of giving great feedback!

Resources for Your Team

Great example of educators staying connected to their students! 

Resources for Your Teens & Tweens

Check out this video from Benton and Franklin Counties in Washington State for a peek at their “virtual club.”

Meet Patrice (Keyboardist)

A person standing in front of a brick building

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Hi! I’m Patrice. I’m a keyboardist in this incredible band. The role of the keyboardist is responsible for chord progression and keeping the music on key. My job is to accompany the band and ensure that the audience (our liaisons) learns the songs themselves. When the melodies and beats (the work) become more complex, I assist the audience (liaisons) until they feel comfortable through technical assistance. I provide an even tone, familiar sound (speaking the language of the professional that I am serving), and strategies for the liaison to develop their strengths. Soon the liaisons are singing along and then eventually leading the song themselves.  

My life outside of the band includes loving my family, friends, and finding ways to create more laugh lines. I love Sundays, sweet peaches, and serving my community. 

Personal National Holiday aka Birthday: January 3rd

Organization Affiliation: SuRa FoMa

Favorite Snacks: Dill pickles

Favorite Beverages: Sweet Tea (It’s the table wine of the south.) 

Favorite Candy: Reese’s Cups 

Introvert, Extrovert or Somewhere in the Middle? Somewhere in the middle

Early Bird or Night Owl? Night Owl

What forms of creative expression speak to you most? Dancing!!! 

Favorite color: Purple, all shades from lilac to the deepest violet

Favorite song or album: “As” the Anthony Hamilton and Marsha Ambrosius version 

Favorite artist of any kind: Jill Scott 

Favorite movie: Harlem Nights

Favorite form of relaxation and/or self-care: foot massages and long baths  

See you in Boston!

Yesterday, you received your official invite from Bahia to kick off the next leg of our YAI journey! Here are the things to keep top of mind as you develop you packing list to see and be seen in Boston:

Our next Learning Community convening — May 18-21 in Boston —celebrates and supports each of your journeys with our largest gathering to date. 

Our time together will include:

  • Four tracks of skills-development and content that advances YAI leadership, programming, operations and communications; 
  • Club time for action planning and alignment; 
  • Continued community building and wisdom sharing from within our cohort as well as updates and insights from YAI’s Wave I Clubs;  
  • And, of course, plenty of meaningful fun in and around Boston. 

To prepare for this leg of the journey, please: 

  1. Prepare your travel plans. Please plan to arrive in Boston by 5 pm Monday May 18 for an evening welcome reception, and leave Thursday May 21 to enable full participation in all morning and evening LC events. If you cannot be there for the entire two days, please ensure that your time in Boston includes the celebratory dinner on Wednesday May 20. 
  2. Make your hotel reservation no later than April 1st by visiting:  – Our room block at the Intercontinental Hotel is available Monday afternoon-Thursday morning. 
  3. Embrace the journey! Soon you’ll receive more information right here so continue to check back in!

Meet Trequita (Pianist)

Greetings, I’m Trequita better known as “Tweet” and support the SuRa FoMa Band as pianist! As the pianist, my goal is to help improvise our singer’s melody while imitating and harmonizing with the bassist and guitarist! All while keeping the rhythm the drummer holds.  From a “guest liaison” and event manager lens, my job is to make sure you have a funky good time in the city in which SuRa FoMa was established!

Here are a few things to learn more about me:

Personal National Holiday aka Birthday:  September 14

Organization Affiliation:  SuRa FoMa

Favorite Snacks:  Potato Chips, Frozen Grapes, Brownies

Favorite Candy:  M & M’s (Peanut)

Favorite Beverages: Water, Lemonade

Introvert, Extrovert or Somewhere in the Middle? In the middle depending on the occasion

Early Bird or Night Owl? Early Bird

What forms of creative expression speak to you most? Spoken Word, Dance, Music

Favorite color: Red & Yellow

Favorite song or album: Song-It’s Love”, Jill Scott

Favorite artist of any kind: Whitney Houston

Favorite movie: Coming to America

Favorite form of relaxation and/or self-care: Sleep, mani/pedi, spa

Get Ready for ATL!

Teen staff members featured with Sonia Murray, renowned Atlanta journalist, and Maurice Garland, VOX Publishing Director, after a recent music review workshop at VOX ATL.

We are so looking forward to hosting you in SuRa FoMa’s hometown of Atlanta! You’ll learn a lot more about this city through our eyes and of course while you’re here on the ground.

To prepare for this LC, please:

  1. Make your hotel reservation no later than Thursday October 17 by visiting We’ll stay and do some of our work together at The Loews Hotel in Midtown Atlanta. Our room block is available Sunday-Wednesday. 
  2. Prepare your travel plans. For out-of-state travelers, we encourage arrival on Sunday, Nov. 17,  for 10 a.m. start Monday. We strongly encourage our Atlanta-based colleagues to stay at the hotel Monday and Tuesday nights to enable full participation in all morning and evening LC events.

To get your ears perked, we put together this playlist of music from Atlanta and all around Georgia. Atlanta music really does influence everything so it feels right to get you excited for your time here through these stellar tunes (author bias noted). PLEASE NOTE: this is uncensored!

See You Soon: Final Details

We are so excited that the YAI Learning Community III is just a few days away! At this point, you’re probably wondering what to expect. Let’s see if we can answer a few questions for you.

: We will be staying at the Omni Chicago (676 North Michigan Ave). Check-in is at 4 p.m. Here are Directions to the Omni from the airports.

We hope you’ll take this opportunity to explore Chicago. We’ve compiled a few suggestions of things to do around the city.

Green Room
: Please stop by our “green room” on Tuesday evening between 5-9 p.m. to pick up your name badge and LC materials. Feel free to stay as long (or as little) as you’d like. We will be providing Chicago-inspired hors d’oeuvres and a make-your-own-cocktail experience. 676 Restaurant, Omni 4th Floor

Set List
: Curious what we’ll be doing next week? Check out the LC agenda!

If You’re Arriving Later in the Week
: The hotel will give you your name badge (which is your ticket to breakfast) when you check in. Please consult the agenda to see where we’ll be.

What to Pack
: The Learning Community will be casual. Feel free to wear whatever you’re most comfortable in. You may want to “dress to express” for the reception at the Stony Island Arts Bank on Thursday evening. You may also want to pack comfy shoes to walk to dinner on Wednesday night and workout clothes to enjoy the morning yoga and the hotel gym.

: The YAI Liaison for your city will be sending you a memo from Research for Action (RFA). Please review the memo before the LC. In fact, you may want to download it and read it on your flight to Chicago.

When in Doubt
: If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to call, text or email Amanda Plumb, our meeting planner: 404-414-9185,

2 Weeks to Go

We can’t wait to see you in just over two weeks. In the meantime, check out this overview of what to expect. This is a shortened version of the presentation we provided on last week’s cohort call. Don’t forget, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at See you soon!