Nina Bryce graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in American Studies, Women’s Studies, and Sustainability Studies. Her interest in connecting young people with food developed during high school, when she was involved with youth programming at an inner city community garden in her hometown. Throughout college, she pursued food studies through her coursework and became involved in food-related organizations on campus and in the community, most extensively focusing on sustainable sourcing in campus dining halls, local children’s hunger relief, and farmer’s market food outreach initiatives. Nina has experience teaching and mentoring in a variety of settings, and she thinks food is a particularly powerful tool for empowerment and growth. Nina is so excited to join the Brainfood team and thankful to be part of an organization that combines her interests in food and youth development in such a wonderful way.
Paul Dahm, Brainfood's executive director, has more than ten years of nonprofit fund-raising and management experience. Prior to joining Brainfood in 2003, Dahm spent two years as a director at Orr Associates, a consulting firm serving the nonprofit community, where he advised a range of organizations such as The National Mentoring Partnership, Gallaudet University, The U.S. Navy Memorial, Youth I.N.C. and the American Bar Association. Previous to Orr Associates, Dahm worked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as the Community Relations Director for the Washington Metro Area and the Associate Director with overall responsibility for fundraising, community relations, and program services in the Baltimore Metro Area.
Carina Gervacio, Program Director, graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Comparative Literature and Environmental Thought and Practice. Prior to joining Brainfood in 2005, Carina worked with several environmental non-profit organizations, including the Southern Environmental Law Center and, most recently, the League of Conservation Voters. Carina first gained experience with youth development as a volunteer for Migrant Aid, an English tutoring program for migrant youth and adults in central Virginia. Brainfood brings together two of her favorite things: food and working with high school youth.
Erica attended Bucknell university. She studied environmental studies, African American studies and photography. Her interest in youth development came after time spent in the organization Operation Understanding DC where students came together with the goal of eradicating all forms of discrimination.She was a very active member of her campus as a scholarship recipient for a program called Posse, an intern in the Admissions Office and a board member at Hillel. During her junior year, Erica studied energy and sustainability in Copenhagen. When she's not working to better her community, she's reading fiction, discovering new music and taking lots of photographs. Her lifelong dream is to own a sustainable and organic farm based on a sustainable community
As Garden Manager, Lyssa is excited to grow the Brainfood Youth Garden as an extension of Brainfood’s food-based youth development programming.
Lyssa’s background in food education includes experience developing and implementing intergenerational gardening programming as the Garden and Cooking Educator for the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. She also has experience leading garden education efforts through her work as the Director of Education for Wangari Gardens, where she teaches public workshops, supervises the planning and maintenance of the public gardens, and leads solar-cooked community lunches. She has also worked with Common Good City Farm, Old City Farm and Guild, Solar Household Energy, Inc, and Love & Carrots.
Lyssa’s work in DC urban agriculture is motivated by her belief that cultural connections occur easily over food and that gardens provide the physical landscape for building a healthier, more interconnected city. Brainfood is a natural fit with her passion for food education as a tool for community empowerment.
Amanda Kirsch graduated from Northwestern College in Iowa, where she earned degrees in psychology and cultural studies and discovered her passion for youth development.
Her interest in accessibility of quality education and enrichment experiences for youth began after serving with a non-profit organization focused on community development through educational support. She continues to welcome opportunities to work with and grow alongside youth in interactive settings outside the traditional classroom.
Amanda’s diverse teaching experiences with youth of all ages have convinced her that learning and growth happen in a variety of environments—including the kitchen! Integrating both her joys for cooking and youth development, Brainfood is an exciting place to be.
As our Community MVPs Program Coordinator, Aimee teaches returning Brainfood students how to develop and facilitate hands-on workshops on healthy cooking. In this role, Aimee also acts as the Brainfood liaison for DC community service organizations, coordinating opportunities for knowledge exchange and teaching by MVP participants.
Aimee came to Brainfood in the summer of 2014 as our Youth Garden Manager, and has a keen interest in local agriculture, food justice, nutrition and healthy living. She has volunteered for local high school and elementary school garden programs, taugt ESL to adults in Columbia Heights, and worked in online communications and digital media. In her free time, Aimee experiments with vegetarian cooking, goes hiking, and spends time with her favorite canine friend, Gypsy.
Francisco graduated from Dunbar Senior High School in 2007. He participated in various Brainfood programs throughout his high school career including Brainfood After School, Summer Institute and a Brainfood Internship. He received a degree in professional cooking from Baltimore International College. Francisco started his culinary career at a few local restaurants here in DC and has spent most of his time at Boundary Stone. He is happy to be connected with Brainfood again, this time, as a part of the staff because he truly wants to give back to the program that helped him find his passion for cooking. Francisco believes, “Brainfood provides an outlet for creativity and a safe environment for youth to build character, friendships, and memories through cooking.”
Ibti Vincent studied English Literature and Secondary Education in graduate school, but after teaching for a few years in the public schools in New York City and Washington, DC and seeing the effects of poor diets on her students, she became convinced that her true calling was teaching about food. In the spring of 2009, she set out on her bicycle to learn more about how food is grown and what different programs around the country were doing to teach people about growing, eating, preserving, and sharing food. After 14 ½ months on the road, Ibti returned to her hometown of Washington, DC and began teaching groups of students ranging from elementary schoolers to senior citizens. (Her favorites have always been high school students, though.) Following 2 years as an enthusiastic Brainfood weekly kitchen volunteer, Ibti was elated to join the Brainfood team as a kitchen instructor.